The coordinator teams
The task of the coordinator-teams is to keep the countries connected and to give main bases for working together and planning the projects. They consist of representatives of all the students and teachers participating from each school.
Jakobstads gymnasium is an upper secondary school with 300 students aged 15 to 19, and 25 teachers. The town of Pietarsaari (Jakobstad in Swedish) is situated on the west coast of Finland, which is a predominantly Swedish speaking area. Here in Pietarsaari, the Finnish speakers are in a minority, as opposed to the overall situation in Finland where Swedish speakers generally are the minority.
During the last four years, Jakobstads gymnasium has been located in the same building as the Finnish speaking upper secondary school. This has enticed us to reflect on our own identity and our own culture in comparison to the Finnish one, which has strengthened our awareness of our own cultural traditions. This has attracted strong interest among national and international researchers. In addition, we live under strong multicultural influences here since Pietarsaari welcomes a relatively large number of asylum seekers yearly, providing challenges as well as opportunities to evolve multiculturalism in our school.
Both the Finnish and the Swedish schools offer preparatory training programmes prior to upper secondary education. In this context, the school has a deep appreciation of the importance of building and strengthening self-esteem and identity in everyday life, and in understanding our own cultural heritage in order to understand that of others. This context makes our school highly competent to deal with the subject of cultural heritage during the project.
Jakobstads gymnasium has always been an active school ready for new challenges and showed a willingness to act as pioneers in adapting to new cultures and promoting social inclusion. We offer interdisciplinary courses in order to enhance diversity, language competence, a deeper understanding of society, life sciences, and intercultural competences. In our daily work we are used to deal with scientific research methodology and methods for data analysis. As a consequence of the Civil War in 1918 (as a part of World War I) the city was divided. These historical circumstances and the fact that we today live in a multicultural town, has challenged us to become more tolerant and understanding towards diversity.
The theme of this project is one that strongly appeals to us and an area of learning we feel we have a lot to contribute to, thanks to the unique position of our school, and the experiences we have from being united in our differences. Sharing our experiences with and learning from other partner schools would be of great interest to us. Together we can acquire the skills needed to cope with the realities of an ever-changing world. This project would provide our teachers and students with new international contacts, develop our language skills, and evolve our understanding of different cultures.
The Lycée Saint Paul is located in a former mining and industrial region of northern France at Lens. It is a region with high unemployment. Nevertheless, the location of Lens is at the crossroads of Europe and that is why we want to open our students to Europe. Building on its legacy of a mining country, the opening of a large museum in 2012, ‘The Louvre-Lens,’ adds value to our region and to open up to Europe.
During the first World War the region of Lens was highliy competitive. So there are many commemorating areas such as Vimy in the region. Thus people of the region are more aware of what happend during the WWI and of the commemoration of that time. So the school is predestined to deal with the subjec of WWI and commemoration.
The school Saint Paul is a versatile private high school, with a general and technological education, and vocational education. Participation of St. Paul High School in European programs has always been a key point of its curriculum and one of its aim is to promote a European dimension. Therefore, we strongly encourage our students to incorporate this mobilization by learning foreign languages (English, German , Spanish or Chinese). Furthermore we strongly encourage our students to study or travel, or have their internships in Germany, Spain,… Since September 2011, Saint Paul High School has two European classes, so that students attend their courses in English (in economics or physics). They also have courses that allow them to develop their cultural knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon countries. Nevertheless, we find that our students do not have sufficient foreign languages mainly spoken, they lack confidence in themselves and it is at that level that we want them to progress.
As part of European projects, the partnership plays an important role in the education and training of our young citizens to become, and for teachers and the teaching team too. This project also aims to promote inter-cultural education and exchanges between the various partner countries that will allow openness of our young people in Europe, and students will have the opportunity to improve their skills in foreign languages and develop their knowledge of other cultures.
For the Erasmus project we would like all students (15 to 17), of any section to take part and participate in the project, with the aim both to mix different backgrounds of students and to further team working. Our school has already participated in several Comenius projects and our pedagogical team is united and motivated to continue. We are used to creating events around the project to disseminate the work of our students. We want to make our students project stakeholders and enhance their competence and motivation. Each teacher has something to contribute to the success of the project and the work of trans-disciplinary materialized by the intervention of a French professor, history and geography and ECJS, languages (English, German, Spanish …) and others.
The Europaschule Ostendorf-Gymnasium is located in the mid-west of Germany in between Dortmund and Paderborn and provides general education in a local area. In August 2009 the school was awarded the title of “Europaschule”, which shows its commitment to the European idea.
There are about 800 students and 70 teachers at our school. The students are between 10 and 18 years old. There are some pupils with specific needs like pupils at risk of social exclusion, migrants and refugees. Integration is one of the basic aims of our school, due to the fact that we have been facing an increasing number of refugees since 2015. From this it follows that language skills are getting more and more important even in daily school-life. All these pupils are supported by special staff – e.g. social worker, external teachers, language teachers, students and parents supporting social integration. The school has bilingual classes, which could be helpful for the other schools when it comes to fostering language skills (exchange of teaching methods, job shadowing). At the moment our school hosts about 40 refugees from different countries. The school has put special effort in providing small German language classes with two teachers coordinating and caring for the students’ needs. During the project meeting we can offer job-shadowing for these specific classes. Whenever possible the students take part in regular classes to enable them to socialize with their classmates and improve their general knowledge. In addition, they also participate in any kind of extracurricular activities, school trips and school events. The overall aim is to ensure that these students will be able to take part in all subjects and successfully finish school with a degree. Nevertheless we would be very interested in getting to know more about the methods of integration introduced by the partner schools to learn about alternative ways.
As “Europaschule” we focus on creating a hospitable atmosphere open for different cultures and cultural beliefs. We have thus been awarded the certificate “Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage”, which underlines our efforts to fight discrimination and intolerance among students and society in general. We have some experience in advancing critical dialogue e.g. by inviting former members of nationalist groups for discussions with our students to make them aware of mechanisms of indoctrination.
As a major goal we would like to implement the concept of conducting a poetry slam, which we have repeatedly and successfully done at our school. We regard this as a suitable form of dealing with personal experiences with intolerance and prejudices. A topic we would like to learn more about is the idea of a Model UN as a means of securing peace.
Uden is a small town in the agricultural countryside, although most people work in industries and services. The North Brabant region is at the forefront of the high-tech industry in the Netherlands. In general, the level of education is quite high and the region has low unemployment.
Udens College offers all forms of secondary education, both theoretical and professional (VWO, HAVO, VMBO). We have a total of around 2,700 students divided over two locations. At the VMBO location we have 1350 pupils and about 120 teachers. Of these 1350 pupils, many are not Dutch, but come from many parts of the world.
Furthermore, we usually have around 100 pupils with specific needs at this location. This varies from language deficiency, behavioral problems due to ADHD or ADD or a form from the broad autistic spectrum. A team of specialized employees is present at the location that provides all teachers with tools and, where necessary, perform additional work to give these students a good and safe place at the school.
Udens College has a long history in international activities and in integrating the European dimension into the school curriculum. The school is one of 37 ELOS schools (Europe as a learning environment in schools) in the Netherlands, which promote European citizenship. Participation in this project is a sign of the further implementation of international activities in the VMBO sector.
Because our students are younger and they are used to working in a practical way, we have many ideas to deal with the subject in a creative way (illustrations, song against racism). In WWI there was a huge refugee camp in Uden, where at that moment a small 5000 people lived, where in total more than 16,000 people stayed. Residents of Belgium who fled the war were welcomed in Uden in a completely newly built village called Vluchtoord. Many remains are still be found around the special exhibition building on site. In WWII a large airfield was built by the occupying forces, which was often bombed and taken over by the Americans after the war. After WWII, Uden was designated as a subsidized growth center and has experienced turbulent growth. In addition to the many Americans present, many people from all over the Netherlands came to Uden.
Together with the growth in the number of guest workers working in the Udense industry, all these factors have contributed to the fact that Uden is now a melting pot of all kinds of cultures. In addition to the aforementioned fact that we have had an extensive internationalization program for years, our history is one that indicates that Uden and our school have always contributed to the reception and integration of other. We can say that we are a welcome environment and can share our local, own cultural customs and traditions with non-Udenaren.
Almunge skola is a small school situated in the countryside near the city of Uppsala in the mid-east of Sweden. Uppsala has got the oldest university of Scandinavia and the educational level in the area is quite high.
We have about 400 students from the age of 6-16 years. The teachers and the administration of the school are very skilled and committed and we use science-based methods to develop the teaching. Language studies and social science are important parts of the education. The students learn English from the age of 7. Furthermore, they can choose between German and Spanish from the age of 11. To improve the language skills of our students even more we have developed various student exchange projects such as an e-mail exchange with a school in The Netherlands for the senior students (aged 13-14). We also provide computer classes, sports and aesthetic subjects every week in addition to the regular curriculum.
There are quite a few students with special needs at the school. Compared to other parts of the district in the village of Almunge only a small percentage of the parents have got a university education. Inclusion of students with special needs and integration of immigrants are important issues for us. We are a KIVA-school which means that we are working with materials that are science- based to prevent bullying, discrimination, alienation and offensive treatment toward other people. The KIVA-program teach the students how to handle different kinds of conflicts, see their own part in different situations and learn how to influence and affect things in their surroundings. When it comes to racism we are about to start an overall school project. Because of that we are interested in learning more about how to proceed in finding different methods such as inviting people with different kinds of experiences to the school. In social sciences we are using role play as a tool and method to create awareness of different situations and phenomena where the students get to understand the process such as creating a court trial with just a small amount of information. In this Erasmus+-project we would like to develop the role play method by creating a model European Union.
As the school is small and situated in a rural area the students do not get the chance to encounter a wide diversity in culture, social groups and ethnicity. After the last general election, however, we could see a tendency towards more right-wing influence in the Swedish parliament. Because of that we are of the opinion that it is of great importance that the school as a vital part of society sheds light upon these questions. At this moment we are just at the beginning of that process.