THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
German was difficult to learn, particularly speaking it. There was a need to devise an activity to encourage students to learn languages and improve their communications skills. Additionally, an attempt was made to develop multicultural learning through contact with pupils in foreign schools where German was also taught as a second or third language. A survey was carried out to gather all of the information required and this was later sorted by subject. Texts were produced on the basis of this information and these were then translated into English and German. It was hoped that comparing the actual situations of different countries would allow friendships to be established and Portuguese and Finnish to be learned. A list of cultural differences was drawn up for publication on the Internet, where any school in any country could add to it, and a double CD-ROM was produced, containing information about the two towns (Castelo de Paiva and Halikko) in four languages: Portuguese, English, German and Finnish. Additionally, the languages of the two countries involved - minority languages within the European Community were taught in each country. There was a need for students in the two schools to communicate and develop a joint educational project. This spirit of discovery and research gave rise to the overall theme: Dois pequenos países... distantes o próximos países... distantes o próximos? (Two small countries... close or distant countries... close or distant?) During the second year the real work of sorting the information into different categories began. Students worked on texts in Portuguese, English and German and made great progress in the vehicular language, namely German.
The best result obtained was the mutual teaching of two of the European Union's minority languages - Portuguese and Finnish - through the medium of German.
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