Comenius Lifelong Learning Program
Comenius - Project: Heal the World
2009 - 2011
Since October 2006, the Hermann-Voss-Realschule Wipperfuerth (HVR) has been part of the Comenius program sponsored by the European Union. This extracurricular program aims to equally benefit students and teaching staff by giving both the opportunity to work with other EU member citizens, learn about different cultures and improve language and interpersonal communication skills. Our Comenius partner schools are currently Reepham/England and Opava/Czech Republic.
The Comenius program fosters the European idea, namely to promote better relations between European member countries. This is accomplished by working together with our partner schools on various projects on an ongoing basis, swapping ideas and experiences with them and learning about their countries and cultures through personal exchange. To date, all three participating partners have been to the other countries at least once. Students are provided accommodations by families from the partner schools. This allows them an intimate glimpse into family life and opens the door for them to actively participate in the foreign culture. During their stay in the partner country, they also take part in school life. English is the common language. Thus, language learning is promoted and it is often the first time students have used English in authentic situations, i.e. outside the classroom. The personal exchange is certainly a highlight for most Comenius students.
As with the students, the staff who are involved in the Comenius program also benefit from the personal exchange, not only on a personal level, but on a professional level as well. While visiting our partner schools, we are able to analyze and implement new teaching techniques which we can later incorporate into our own gamut of teaching methods. It goes without saying that language skills are strengthened through the close project cooperation and personal exchange.
As an English bilingual school, we have chosen English as our Comenius working language and have actively sought out two like-minded partner schools. This means that all correspondence with our European partners takes place in English. Our German students, who meet once a week after regular lessons, are also encouraged to speak English with one another while working on Comenius activities. This allows students who are fit in English to refine their speaking skills, expand their lexicon and support students who may need help with the language. At the same time, the youth-oriented topics and informal, small-group setting Comenius provides serves as a motivation for weaker students to work with the language and gives them a sense of achievement that they may not experience in a traditional classroom setting.
The projects that we have worked on with our Comenius partners abroad can be seen on our Comenius homepage. Our homepage, which has provided our students with a platform to work hands-on with modern media, features the results of our project work with our European partner schools as well as a bevy of photos documenting our exchange visits. Our homepage is regularly updated.
You can get additional information about Comenius projects, if you click “Former Projects” (Website of the last Comenius project of the HVR) or “EU Database (EST)” (EST = European Shared Treasure is a database where you can find informations about all other Comenius projects (or projects from other european programs)) on the left hand side.