Now we want to say how this project helped to get key competences on the students from different countries in Europe and we all share and have them in common
Civic competence - Anna (Poland)
Digital competence - Jana (Germany)
Cultural expression - Kathrin (Germany)
Second language and Communication - Katarzyna (Poland)
Communication and exchange - Katarzyna (Poland)
Learning to learn - Rosario (Spain)
Initiative and entrepreneurship - Petra (Germany)
Civic and Social Competence
Learning about others' culture, language, towns and everyday habits was a means of increasing students' personal enrichment and awareness of inclusion and tolerance in real international environment. The students developed their civic and social competence by sharing their national Christmas traditions, presenting their hometowns and showcasing the local attractions and landmarks. These activities enabled them to display the sense of belonging to their locality and Europe in general. The project also raised their awareness regarding the culinary heritage, which helped them understand the multi-cultural and socio-economic dimension of European societies as well as the European diversity.While voting for the project best logo, they learnt respect for democratic values and tolerance. They performed their tasks in groups, which was an opportunity to communicate constructively in different environments, to express and understand different viewpoints and to negotiate. The project also raised students' confidence in using English and helped them to cope with stress for example when speaking in public. Participating in the project enhanced the attitude of collaboration, assertiveness and integrity.
The key competence "cultural expression" describes the competence students need to have when they are asked to show or explain people from other countries their own culture. This competence is based on the assumption that a solid understanding of one’s own culture and a sense of identity can be the basis for an open-minded attitude towards others and respect for diversity of cultural expression.
In our project students had several opportunities to develop this competence. As a preparation for our first video conference students had to have a closer look at their national christmas traditions. They sang christmas carols for their Spolger partners, took christmasy photographs and played a Kahoot about christmas tradtions. Thus, they not only took pride in their own culture but also learned a lot about other cultures and had the opportunity to appreciate other traditons.
Cultural expression also played a big role for our second video conference on traditional food. In the run-up to the conference the students had to choose favourite traditional food recipes, translate them into English and make them interesting for the partners, as each partner class had to choose two foreign recipes to prepare them for the food conference. The students enjoyed this task a lot. We could upload several very creative videos documenting the preparation of the food. It was very nice to see and taste our partners' food traditions and see how our own food was appreciated by the partners. Our Spolger Cookery Book is the visible result of this great experience of cultural expression.
Spolger students also expressed their culture by choosing and writing picture postcards from their hometowns to their partners. Receiving mail from other countries has become far too rare in times of social media and was a very exciting cultural experience.
Students developed their digital competence while using a variety of ICT tools which allowed them to communicate online, introduce themselves, present their favourite food. They used the tools for making the videos, creating project logos and voting for the best ones, creating presentations about their hobbies and passtimes. They used different apps (e.g. Kahoot or Mentimeter) to test their knowledge of other countries' cultures. Students learnt to use the eTwinning platform to send messages to their friends, upload digital materials and to participate in collaborative tasks. They used the ICT tools to support their creativity and innovation. The project also raised their awareness of potential risks of using the Internet and enabled them to assess the validity and reliability of information available.
Second Language and Communication
Our project most certainly helped the students develop their language skills.
Throughout the project the students carried out various tasks and all those tasks involved using the English language. In order to complete them the students were often required to do research online. They browsed webpages in English and then used the relevant information to create their own text or presentation, which was a great way to improve both their reading, writing and speaking abilities. Even if some of them searched Polish websites, later they had to use English to present their findings. The need to look up information, choose the most useful pieces and make decisions about the way of presenting the materials definitely made them more independent students and English learners.
All the project activities involved using English. Not only were the materials and the final product presented in English, but the students were encouraged to use English along the way, while brainstorming ideas, discussing details, etc. Before joining the project, some of the students perceived English as yet another school subject that you’re supposed to study, take test in and try to get good marks. Dealing with the project tasks helped them change their perspective and realise that it needn’t be the case. They saw for themselves that English can actually be used for practical purposes outside the classroom and, what’s more, that it can be fun :) Oral presentations and our video conferences helped the students overcome their shyness and stress connected with using English in real-life situations. This will hopefully make them more confident English speakers.
The project certainly served as a powerful confidence booster for all the students involved.
At least I sincerely hope so!
Learning to learn
Our students in Vocational Training are lifelong learners who need to accomplish certain skills and personal and proffesional competences together with key compenteces in order to best adapt to the labour market after their school and internship peridod. Learning to learn is essential for them and this project has undoubtedly help them through the activities fulfilled. The problem solving and decissions making was an important factor, the confidence on their own work, to communicate and presenting their work, and the acceptance of error as part of the learning process are aspects which will help them on their future endeavours
COMMUNICATION AND EXCHANGE
In my teaching career I have met various students, some more, some less motivated. The problem with most students is that they are not always ready to talk. I have observed that even good students may be unwilling to speak a foreign language. They usually have well-developed listening and reading skills but when it comes to speaking, they are very often reluctant to do that.
That’s why participating in projects is so important. During our project the students had a chance to introduce themselves on video, which was quite a challenge for most of them, even those with rich vocabulary and a good knowledge of grammar. It was similar with the video cooking or idioms presentations. Even though the students had time to prepare them beforehand, it was still hard. The fact that foreigners will be listening and watching made them shy and stressed out.
But in retrospect all the students declare it WAS worth the effort. Watching presentations by students from the partner schools they realised that foreign students also make mistakes [we all do, don’t we?] so if they make a mistake no one will care much because what matters most is communicating and exchanging ideas. If, with time, they will mistakes few mistakes, it’s all the better.
So, as a result of the exchange with students from other schools our pupils – step by step – are becoming more and more outgoing and I believe that the next exchanges – video presentations or video conferences – will not cause so much stress any more.
Initiative and Entrepreneurship
In our project the students could learn how entrepreneurship works in Europe.
In our project Spolger4 Uth the students have experienced the cultural but also economic differences that exist in Poland, Spain and Germany. One goal of our vocational schools is to prepare the students for their future working life. This includes developing and realizing their own business ideas. Therefore independent and self-responsible work is a basic requirement. Our students often later work in international companies.
In contrast to normal theory lessons, our Spolger4Uth project offers the advantage that our students can prepare themselves for successful work in the international economy. They communicate with their partners in English and deal with the economic conditions of other European partner countries, for example by comparing the cost of living with the currencies Euro and Polish Sloti. In addition, the students have taken a lot of initiative to create a common cookbook and calculate the costs for the recipes. In Oldenburg, the cookbook was printed, the selling price fixed and sold profitably to the school community.
In summary, it can be said that our pupils get an idea how they can realize successfully entrepreneur ideas.