The project’s main topics focused on the areas of inclusion – equity; ICT – new technologies – digital competences; and, quality improvement institutions and/or methods (including school development). The project’s objectives for the school were to develop and improve its internationalisation strategy (the European Development Plan); improve teaching practices through the creation of a more modern and dynamic environment that is open not only to new educational methodologies, but also to collaboration with other schools and institutions; improve the school’s educational profile; improve the qualifications of its teaching staff; map out the school’s objectives; improve the quality of the school’s preparation, execution, supervision, and monitoring of international projects; improve and update the school’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) project; and, improve the school’s measures at ensuring inclusivity. Objectives that were established for teachers focused on improving their professional skills and capacities towards facilitating the centre’s modernisation and international exposure; improving teaching and learning activities; enhancing teacher understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic, and cultural diversity; addressing the needs of disadvantaged people and responding to classroom diversity; improving opportunities for professional development; improving linguistic competence in a foreign language; and, increasing teacher motivation and satisfaction in their implementation of everyday responsibilities. Lastly, a number of objectives were also set for students to encourage their interaction with students from other countries through the eTwinning platform; improve their learning of foreign languages; develop greater awareness among students of European diversity by favouring respect and interest in other cultures; improve their learning outcomes; increase student motivation by updating teaching methods used among teaching staff; and, encourage them to value diversity as a positive and enriching phenomenon.
Target groups consisted of teachers and students. The former comprised of 15 primary school teachers (including members from the school’s management board), with 7 of them having obtained B2 level English accreditation, and 4 with experiences in KA1 projects. Students consisted of pupils between the ages of 3-12 from differing backgrounds, and a significant number either had special needs, or required some form of learning support. Of the 389 students, 9 were identified as having special needs and/or disabilities. Students from immigrant backgrounds constituted 8% of the student body and came from 8 different nationalities (mostly from Romania or Morocco), which meant that the management of cultural differences was an everyday part of school life. The school also had a large percentage of students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. A number of foreign organisations were involved in this project, namely from Bulgaria, Malta, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.
The project’s methodology ensured that a number of areas were addressed in the project’s activities, such as the innovative use of tools and multidisciplinary approaches, inclusion, participation, and cooperation, with areas that had been earmarked for improvement and for which coherent activities were designed having included linguistic support, CLIL, inclusion, and virtual educational tools. The project’s activities were divided into three primary profiles; the first was linguistic support, where teachers who attended the project’s courses acquired new competencies, standards, and values with regard to inclusivity, while learning new ideas, techniques, and strategies on how to best-manage inclusive classrooms. In this regard, teachers had access to best practices that had been implemented in other European schools. Second was job-shadowing, where school staff acquired knowledge on new methodologies, project-based learning, and ICT tools, all of which they implemented within the classroom environment towards increasing student motivation. In particular, learners’ active role in the learning process, and inclusion, participation, and cooperation were topics that were extensively addressed during this activity, with broad use of ICT, PBL, and tablets during lessons. Lastly were courses on Methodology, ICT, and Inclusion, where teachers could exchange resources and materials regarding the innovative use of tools with teachers from other countries, thus allowing them to reflect on improvements in their teaching quality as they develop other European and eTwinning projects. Overall, learners benefitted from these activities as a result of their acquisition of new ICT competences, as well as a renewed sense of European citizenry.
The entire school was either directly or indirectly involved in the project’s activities, with the project’s results having impacted all levels of schooling for both teachers and students. Dissemination of results was carried out through the use of virtual and physical media, educational newsletters, regional TV and radio stations, local newspapers, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and via the eTwinning database. Cross-sectoral cooperation was an integral part of the project, and included the involvement of primary school teachers of various subjects from a number of partner schools; for example, the Bulgarian partner school forwarded an approach to innovative methodologies that was related to ICT and inclusion. Moreover, topics such as “Intercultural Classroom Management” and “Designing an Inclusive Educational Environment” were some of the topics discussed within the project, which contributed to the development of a coherent project narrative. The parallel implementation of an eTwinning project promoted the acquisition of ICT competences, with the eTwinning platform itself having proved to be useful in the selection of host schools, and in the implementation and evaluation of job shadowing activities. The School Education Gateway was also used in the search for training courses.
The project’s activities enabled participants to acquire relevant competences and foreign language skills, with improvements observed in a number of areas including ICT, inclusion, and teaching in an intercultural environment. Moreover, given that many of the teaching staff were involved in the project’s activities, the school managed to meet virtually all of the project’s aims and objectives, with activities planned so as to ensure that both knowledge exchange and dissemination, and the sharing of best practices, formed the project’s core considerations. It should also be noted that the project’s success is inseparable from both its collaborative methodology, and its peer-review process. It was clear during the project’s implementation that dissemination was to be one of its core strengths, which was facilitated by varied and coherent activities, and the use of local media, networks, physical activities, and close collaboration with regional education authorities – all of which ensured the thorough dissemination of results and acquired competences among teaching staff. There were three primary profiles that were involved in the project, comprising teachers in IT courses, new methodologies, and inclusivity. Teachers benefitted from these courses through improvements to both their communicative competences in English as well as their centre management skills; with the principal and teachers having largely been involved in community services, and a number of teaching staff also having followed job-shadowing activities.
The project has impacted teachers, the school, students, and external organisations in several ways; teachers have experienced a marked improvement in their linguistic competence, teaching quality, and motivation levels, with the school having increased the material resources it makes available to both students and teachers (including improvements to the effectiveness and quality of its overall approach to education within the European dimension). Moreover, improved motivation levels were seen among students with regard to the use of ICTs, new approaches, and the learning of a new language. The project saw the involvement of families and the entire education community in the eTwinning project, and in their motivation towards the learning of other languages, with participants having collaborated with the school and its teachers in the development of a wide variety of quality activities. Being a member of the eTwinning network, the school has also made the project’s results available on the eTwinning platform, which enabled project participants to engage with the results in a meaningful manner through their participation in webinars, and their dissemination of results across different platforms.
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Szkola Podstawowa nr 7 z Oddzialami Itegracyjnymi w Elku school
"Zname na mira" school