tisdag 28 mars 2017

In Primary School, Zaragoza

I work at Fäladsgården in Norra Fäladen in Lund, and we are, in Lund, quite well known for having a lot of contacts with the abroad. My assignment right now is to broaden the contacts to the younger pupils in the area. Therefore I visited Primary School when I was in Zaragoza last week. Aragón, the part of Spain where Zaragoza is located, has for some years worked hard wit the bilingualism of there young pupils. They hire native speakers of English to interact with the young pupils and have decides that a minimum of 20% of all classes have to be held in English. I visited Luisa, responsible of the development of bilingualism in primary, in class and had a brief discussion with her on the possibilities to collaborate. Her pupils where very enthusiastic about creating bonds to Swedish pupils. Some of them knew older pupils that had visited Lund in the past 16 years of the exchange. They had lovely, creative ideas of how to collaborate though machines and handicrafts and I very much hope to create a bond between the younger classes of Norra Fäladen and Zaragoza soon. 

In Zaragoza, Spain

These last week I have been on our annual visit to Zaragoza, Spain with a group of 21 seventh graders. We have had a great time and also a great weather (this is not the rule when we go there) and that has made many of the activities easier to manage. I am responsible for the Swedish part of the exchange with my colleague Cecilia, and we have the privilege of going to Spain every year. In Zaragoza the teacher just have a one year responsibility for the exchange. This has benefits and drawbacks, but the greatest benefit is that is makes it possible to make very different activities when the teachers in charge change. This year Carlos and Gonzalo took care of us. 

As always the visit brought our pupils many insights on the Roman history and the history of Zaragoza with the help of some of the excellent guides of the city. We have decided that our main theme in the exchange is always history, and in Spain the Swedish pupils get to know Roman times and in Sweden the Spanish pupills get to know our medieval history. When they come to Sweden we are going to have workshops on castles and visit Glimmingehus, guided by our ninth graders that study Spanish. 

History, is however not all that is learnt during the week. What Carlos and Gonzalo did best this year was to create a sense of community among the pupils. They started the first day with different tasks to get to know each other and learn the names of all the participants of the exchange. They also, throughout  the week, arrange all sorts of tasks that made the pupils collaborate and laugh together. We danced a lot, mainly "silly" dances. The pupils also built pyramids stacking themselves on top of each other, and other similar tasks. They had a great time och apparently felt more at ease with each other. This year we have not heard any complaints at all about it being hard to get to know the Spanish pupils. Normally some of them always have a bit of trouble getting to know each other, which is very normal when you see each other for the first time and have som language difficulties, but these years tasks creating a very nice group dynamic.  

torsdag 23 mars 2017

Inclusive Internalization - for teachers!

For a couple of years now our school, and perhaps most of all me, has been collaborating with a school in Denmark, Nordagerskolen. We were there with students for the first time in January and you can read at least a bit about that in a former post. Since the first time I came to Ringe, the village where the school is located, I have felt very much at home. The school is a very calm place and in inhabited by very hard working and inspired teachers and pupils. One of the profiles the pupils can choose is the international one, and that profile is the reason that we first came in contact. There are many reasons to collaborate with this school, and I would have liked to wherever it was located. However, there are also great benefits in the fairly nearby location.

Denmark and Sweden are neighbours, sister states, and have a lot in common. It is possible to understand at least some of the content in a conversation with the help of the other language. In the south of Sweden nature is very similar to the Danish nature. However, everything is not the same in the two countries. Our curriculas are quite different and so is the recent history of the countries. The similarities and differences makes a comparing collaboration very interesting.

Ringe is a village outside Odense, a city in Fyn that is possible to reach by train in an hour and a half from Copenhagen. Lund is quite near the bridge to Denmark, and the whole trip takes about three hours, Compared to the other exchanges we have this is a short and cheap travel, and that made it possible to go there in January without the pupils paying for it.

In August this same distance will make it possible for all the staff to go to Odense and have a conference there. The first afternoon we will all visit Nordagerskolen. This makes me very happy and extremely proud. The big drawback with the International projects we start can be that some of the staff and the pupils feel excluded and that the trips are considered exclusive. Therefore it is with great joy I will invite all of my colleagues to collaborate with a colleague abroad, a person that they will actually meet in first person in August. We will be in Ringe for three hours just to talk to someone with the same subjects about similarities and differences in how we work, be inspired and perhaps start to collaborate. Nordagerskolen is a school that work with Google in a similar way that we do. I am very much looking forward to this!