Our European year - An Erasmus+ KA1 experience: "Searching for New Methodological Horizons in Europe”
Our experience as first-timers Erasmus+ students
On the summer of 2017 we discovered with joy that our Erasmus+ KA1 project, for which we had applied several months earlier, had been accepted. We took our time to get everything ready while talking to Partner institutions and looking for training courses, and it wasn’t until summer of 2018 that we started an experience that forever changed our views on education and European citizenship.
None of us, a group of eight teachers from San Vicente de Paúl School of Zaragoza, Spain, had any previous experience on Erasmus.
Here it comes our training adventure.
TRAINING COURSES, UNITED KINGDOM, From July to October 2018
Six of our teachers took part in three different two-week training courses, all related to New Methodologies for English and Bilingual subjets, since our project, “Searching for New Methodological Horizons in Europe” has this issue as a main aim. Being a Bilingual school for five years, we face problems that involve teaching methods and effective acquisition of a second language. We were eager to learn more, and so we did.
CLIL, International House, London, in which we learnt how to implement methodologies that were created specifically for Social Science in a bilingual context. These methods were entirely practical, involving students’ participation during their whole learning process, and using a functional language. Seeking and adapting materials were also some of the most highlighted points, specially when related to teamwork methodologies.
Current Trends Theory & Practice in English Language Teaching, International House, London, where teachers discovered a huge range of didactic materials and ideas to use in their classes, based on lexical approach methods, which implies work through different tasks in a natural and autonomous way. Motivation theories, flipped classroom, m-learning, drama and dogme are a good example of how to transform our classes into more interactive spaces.
Using technology in the classroom, Communicate School, Manchester. Using new technologies in the classroom encourages motivation and autonomy while promoting teamwork; we now think that web-based learning could be the key to supplement traditional teaching and guiding it towards an integrative approach. Platforms such as Scribble or Edmodo and Google apps, as well as podcast and webquest activities, were showed as main examples of how to implement them in collaborative projects.
English in the Primary Classroom, English Language Centre Ltd, Brighton, where other European Education Systems were explained, having the opportunity to actually witness the work in a local school. During this training course, we were asked to design EFL activities to improve students’ motivation and enhance interpersonal skills and teamwork while detecting potential problems in terms of learning difficulties and students’ behaviour.
We were very lucky to count on two exceptional partners that took great care of us and from whom we learnt a lot: Judith Kerr Grundschule of Berlin, Germany, and Daugavpils 12.vidusskola of Daugavpils, Latvia. We visited them in 2018 and 2019 and we couldn’t be more grateful.
JUDITH KERR GRUNDSCHULE, BERLIN, 19th-23th November 2018
This unique German-French bilingual school works in a very specific way and gets extraordinary results from its students. After an entrance exam that students take at the age of five and that measure their level on both languages, and once they have been accepted, teachers decide which one stands as their mother tongue. This will help them making small groups classroom, since they split for every language (German and French) class, and each student is sent to the group closer to their real level.
DAUGAVPILS 12.VIDUSSKOLA, DAUGAVPILS, 22nd-26th April 2019
We took advantage of the resignation from the project of our partnern from Lithuania as an opportunity to create closer ties with a latvian partner from our parallel KA2 project. We were impressed by the English level the students had when we met them and wanted to know what they did to achieve it. We were surprised discovering that they are actually bilingual in Russian and Latvian language, since older generations speak the first one as former members of the Soviet Union, and the government struggle to make people use their national language.
As part of the project itself, we presented this experience to the rest of our colleagues in many occasions, being the last one just a few days ago to summarize the whole lot and point out the “best discoveries”. We are planning different workshops to actually show them how to implement all this methodological innovations within their classes.
We hope our school keep up the hard work through teacher training and Erasmus+ projects to make education better for everyone, specially for this new generations of students.