Some years ago my class took part in a project called “European Studies”. The program is supposed to link schools across Europe furthermore to encourage students/pupils to develop tolerance between different kinds of cultures. The students in our group were between 16-19 years old and we cooperated with five different schools, in Belfast, in Dublin, in Cork, in Berlin and our school in Kristianstad. The project was to last for one year from September till March.
The project started with teachers taking part in a conference in Dublin, where we planned what topics to focus on. The first one was “getting to know one another”, the second one was “Christmas Traditions” and the last one was “Pastime activities”.
The first project began with every student getting an e-mail pal. By sending e-mails the students got to know one another quite well; some even used Skype in their spare time.
Every project was group work (4 students/group), which lasted about two weeks. The students in the group decided what to focus on. When working, with for example “Christmas Traditions”, the following areas were searched, “food and recipes”, “the Lucia tradition”, “how a typical Christmas looked like”, “Advent”, "traditions in other cultures" etc.
During the lessons the students searched for information on the Internet, made interviews, brochures and PowerPoint presentations. The brochures were sent to the other schools and the PowerPoint presentation was presented in class. The students’ evaluations were good. In general they found the teaching stimulating and challenging; above all they had to take responsibility.
During this period every student kept a log book, in which they evaluated the work every lesson. In the log book the students were supposed to write down the goals of that specific lesson, evaluate it and the plan what to do the next lesson. They were also supposed to evaluate the group work as well. It was a challenging for me as a teacher, because I had the students working in all places, the library, the computer room and our classroom. I had to be in the computer room myself, since we, at my school, any way are not allowed to leave the students alone. I felt that I could not “control” my students and the questions, “what are they doing now?”, “where are they?” were constantly in my mind, even if we always started and ended our lessons in class. For me it was really a challenge.
Here is the link if you are interested in knowing more about European Studies: