Final teachers´ meeting in Brussels
Thursday, June 24th
All teachers of the project met in Brussels to see the parliament and to get to know work there.
We were again invited by Mr Reul who showed us parliament and who took his personal time to answer our questions.
Saturday, June 26th
Travelling back to Wipperfuerth on Friday, we met in the rooms of the hvr on saturday to work on the final report. We did a good job and worked very hard. We summarized our work as follows:
We all have the same motivation: promoting a recreational and cooperative education which is useful to help find our identity in a European frame. The topics we have dealt with have been real and close to the students, their families, their communities. The final results were used to focus on cultural differences and similarities throughout time and our students' different visions of how we treat our planet currently and its ecological future. All of this has deeply enriched our knowledge of different lifestyles, visions of Europe, the environment, our different cultures and education in general. The partnership has concentrated on some of the environmental issues that confront our world, focusing upon those themes that have the most relevance to young people. Our project was made up of four parts: environment, economics, ways of life and one world. For the first topic, we dealt with the protection of our environment and with avoiding the destruction of the environment, i.e., through pollution or waste. The pupils became familiar with various environmentally friendly products used in many countries. We all learned how to give up non-essential non-recyclable products, and most importantly, we discovered that protecting the environment is an every-day process. Each school created a survey dealing with an environmental topic. The English topic was waste and recycling, the German theme was power consumption, and the Czech topic was transportation. Each questionnaire included 10-12 items which the pupils developed on their own. The pupils answered each other’s surveys as well as family members and other pupils not involved in the Comenius project. The results were published using two forms of data charts (i.e. pie charts and bar graphs) and during the pupils’ meeting they interacted with one another analyzing the results. For the second topic, we developed ideas and conceptions for environmentally friendly economics and politics. Our pupils learned by example how to become better adults who assume responsibility for the actions they take. We learned different aspects of recycling and bio-products and their economic consequences.
The main aspect of the second project dealt with the economic organization “Fair Trade”. We all learned a great amount about the organization “Fair Trade”. During our travels, we visited stores, shops, factories, and museums that promote and produce “Fair Trade”. Each school was assigned a product that is manufactured according to “Fair Trade” norms, and each school prepared an educational presentation with a video for their product. The pupils learned about the ecological and economical production process of their respective products. The English chose the product cotton, the Germans had chocolate, and the Czechs selected coffee and tea. We presented our presentations to each other during the second pupils’ meeting in England. Everyone gained valuable experience in giving presentations in English to other European Comenius members.
The third topic, “Ways of Life”, dealt with ways in which we could all live healthier lives. We studied and found different ways of living together in our world. In a way, we healed our personal worlds in a religious and ethical way that helped us find our personal, individual style within the multicultural European arena. Each school came up with a theme for their third project pertaining to the topic “Way of life”. The English school chose the topic “Agenda 21- Sustainable Living, Sustainable City”. The German school selected the topic “Mutual Understanding”, and the Czechs decided to work on the topic “All About Water - The Basis of Life”. Of course, the students gained an understanding about the topic before they put together their presentation. For example, the Czechs took the Germans and the English visitors to the hydroelectric power station Dlouhé Stráne, which the Germans had studied and presented, and the Czechs also had the guests test the famous Charles Fountain Spa spring water.
The fourth topic, “One World”, was all about developing personality and self-confidence in the one world, one Europe. Throughout the entire project, the students interacted with one another incorporating English as the base language. For the Czechs, the development of their fluency was astounding. In addition, both students and teachers greatly improved their skills in self-motivation, self-involvement during tasks, social skills, group work, oral and written skills in foreign languages, ICT, and skills in promoting values such as tolerance, respect, teamwork and fraternity through our tasks and trips. We all gained a feeling of being fellow European citizens. As the project proceeded, the level of interest and excitement increased as we built long-lasting friendships with one another. The pupils gained a sense of camaraderie that will surely carry on into their future. Last we have learnt that we all are Europe: "United in diversity”.
Later we went to a local jazz festival in Bielstein and were then invited to Mr Rooney’s house for coffee and homemade cake. Finally we ended up in a pizzeria.
Time to say good-bye to each other and … to the project which officially ended in July. We promised to keep in touch and to keep on working on a United Europe. It was a good, enriching time full of deep experiences to both teachers and students.
Pictures of the final teachers´ meeting