THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the case study was collected during an interview with Ms Liliana Ignat, the coordinating teacher.
This project intended to make a comparison between healthy lifestyle in Romania and Germany, by taking into account topics such as eating habits, healthy diets, sport practicing, etc. The partners saw what real life meant in each partner school and knew a new culture and civilization. The pupils involved in the project became more motivated to learn foreign languages and the exchange visits gave them the opportunity to use them in real life situations. In order to reach the aims of the project a lot of activities were organized: making and analysing questionnaires and interviews about eating habits, measurements of biological parameters of the human body, visits connected to the chosen topic, results presentations in diagrams, tables and reports, etc. In the end the participants improved their living habits and developed a new conscience towards a healthy lifestyle.
This Comenius project gave "Vintila Baratianu" secondary school the chance to get a better reputation at local and regional level and to improve the teaching strategies for a better quality education within the European dimension. The participants became aware that they are capable of meeting the demands of a European school, and they became more confident in themselves and improved their English and French knowledge. On the other hand, the teachers got used to the latest teaching methods in accordance to European requirements. As a result of this project their school was no longer considered “just a school in the countryside” and consequently more pupils have attended it every year. At the same time the topic of the project was very interesting, leading to a new conscience towards a healthy lifestyle and a greater care towards the consumer protection, a field always in Europe’s attention.
The target languages were German (for Romania) and Romanian (for Germany).
The main aim of the project consisted in the comparison, through different methods and means, of the lifestyle in each partner school, taking into account topics such as eating habits, healthy diets and sport.
The specific objectives were:
- to increase pupils’ motivation to learn and use foreign languages: the target languages(German and Romanian) and the communication languages(English and French);
- to make the pupils and their parents conscious of the importance of having a healthy lifestyle;
- to learn more about German and Romanian culture and civilization;
- to improve the teaching methods in order to assure a better quality education;
- to promote teamwork and team spirit, to break down prejudices and build up solidarity, tolerance and friendship in a European spirit.
"Vintila Baratianu" secondary school wanted to take part in this project for the following reasons:
•Learning and using a new foreign language - German and improving communication skills in English and French;
•Developing a new conscience towards healthy lifestyle of pupils, parents, teachers and local community;
•Getting to know another country’s civilization and what real life means there;
•Discovery by our students of their own identities and their desire to be known and to meet students from another country;
•Cooperation with a foreign school in order to improve our educative methods and to have a greater access to European educative resources;
•Spreading of the new technology (the internet) to facilitate fast communication among partners;
•Promotion of team work and team spirit trying to break down prejudices and build up solidarity and friendship;
•Education for European spirit;
•A better reputation of the school at local and regional level.
The strategies used for evaluation were:
a)The pupils’ knowledge of communication languages (English and French) were evaluated by foreign languages teachers once a week by taking tests and by discussing in mini-workshops to see if their writing and speaking skills improved.
b)The pupils' knowledge of the target languages (German and Romanian) were evaluated during the language courses and directly during the exchange visits.
c)Questionnaires to see if the pupils' motivation to learn foreign languages increased after the first exchange visit.
d)The research work was evaluated by:
-results communication by Internet and fax, between the partner-schools once a month
-weekly meetings of the students and teachers of each school to discuss the results and to plan the next step
-reports made by teachers at the end of each month about what the pupils had done during that month and about the reached results
-a SWOT analysis made by the teachers and pupils involved in the project after four months of project work. The following issues were considered: a) Are the means of communication used efficiently? b) Does the project have an impact on the curriculum? c) How did the pupils complete the tasks set to them? d) Are parents/local community/other educational organisations involved? e) Are the teachers working together ? f) Is there a greater awareness of the European dimension in education and of different cultures?
-a five minute presentation of the results at each staff meeting in each partner school
-presentation of the results made by teachers at every regional teaching meeting
-poster with the project progress placed at the entrance of each school so that it can be seen by a wider public and raise interest about it.
The final products of the project were:
a) A bilingual brochure (in German and Romanian) with:
- questionnaires, surveys and interviews about healthy lifestyle in the target languages;
- tables and diagrams made by the pupils with the results of their research work;
- proverbs regarding health in Romanian, German, French and English;
- photos taken by pupils during different phases of the project development.
b) The project website (www.healthylifestyle.go.ro)
The project had the following impact:
● on the pupils:
-they became aware of the importance of knowing foreign languages;
-they and their families got a new conscience about a healthy lifestyle and will improve their eating and living habits;
-they learned to cooperate with people from a different culture;
● on the teachers:
-they considered new educative methods in the school activities;
-they improved their communication skills in foreign languages;
-they improved their lifestyle giving more attention to healthy diets and sport
● on the institutions:
-they considered new educational srategies and new optional subjects in the school programmes;
-they developed new possibilities of cooperation with other institutions;
-they got a better reputation at the local and regional educational level;
-a school campaign for a healthy lifestyle with a suitable slogan.
●on the local community:
-a better collaboration between schools and the local community;
-a health campaign in the local community, with more attention to consumer protection;
● on the wider educational community
-this project encouraged other schools at regional level to take part in such progammes;
-campaign for health in schools at regional level.
The European Language Label was an opportunity to get known the fact that pupils can be motivated to learn foreign languages in a pleasant and attractive way without being obliged. The students themselves realized the importance of knowing them and got really satisfied when they were able to communicate with their partners from Germany. Even their parents tried to speak in English and French during the visit of the German pupils in Romania and learned some words in German. At an intercultural level the pupils learned to cooperate with people from another culture and civilization promoting teamwork and team spirit breaking down prejudices and building up solidarity. All the participants said that this project changed their lives in a better way and it was worth making this known at a European level.
The European Language Label award won by "Vintila Baratianu" secondary school was presented:
-in the school newspaper
-on the project website
-at teachers’ meetings at local and regional level
-at parents’ meetings
-at students’ meetings
-by displaying the award in a visible place at school so that everybody can see it
-by displaying a copy of the award at the regional Inspectorate
-by presenting it whenever our school is involved
-at formal and informal meetings with former pupils, university students and professors
The school got a better reputation at local and regional level. This award is presented in order to promote it on each available occasion as a proof that "Vintila Baratianu" secondary school can be considered a European one.
The coordinating teacher suggests that pupils and teachers should work together during the entire project development. They should treat everything seriously and fill in the application form with patience trying to show what they managed to do to learn and teach foreign languages in a different way than at school.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the Healthy Lifestyle project because of its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the Healthy Lifestyle project has been chosen because it contributes to the enhancement of quality of language learning in informal and non-formal environments through different types of language learning activities based on teamwork and intercultural understanding.
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