The teachers of primary school No. 2 in Wadowice, who took part in a training trip to Spain on October 4-8, 2021, could see the truth of the statement in the title. The stay at the IES Francisco Garcia Pavon partner school in Tomelloso was possible thanks to the participation in the Erasmus + project called “Teaching more interesting, more modern, more effective”, implemented in the school in Wadowice from September 2019. Due to pandemic restrictions, the departure of the second group of teachers with a delay of two years compared to the first group (report on), but left the participants with many unforgettable impressions.
The mobility of Ms Monika Dudek, Ms Iwona Kozioł-Ponikiewska, Paweł Supron and Mariusz Gądor was aimed at getting to know the working method of the school with bilingual departments and sharing experiences in the field of education. Such a visit to a foreign school is called “job shadowing” and consists in active participation in the work of the partner institution in many areas – didactic, caring and educational, preventive, organizational, as well as the search for further forms of cooperation. The implementation of the visit began long before the start, when the detailed program of the stay was discussed by email, the schedule of observed activities was agreed, the analysis of the educational offer proposed by the host school and the expectations of guests and hosts. The whole preparations were supervised by the coordinators – Iwona Majkowska – Kochan (Polish side) and Ana Sevilla Nieto (Spanish side). To get to know each other better, the participants also had the opportunity to meet online with the Tomelloso coordinator.
On the first day of the stay with the partner IES Francisco Garcia Pavon, the school management presented the profile and infrastructure of the facility, as well as the class schedule for students. Polish teachers were also familiar with the Spanish education system, ie the type of schools and the specificity of primary and secondary schools. Project participants admired workshops for teaching different professions (eg hairdresser, prosthetist, car mechanic, mechatronics) and classrooms, sports equipment, teaching aids and facilities for students and staff. The school management introduced the Polish guests to the method of managing the facility, responding to crisis situations (eg pandemics), as well as the educational offer for students with special educational needs and different interests.
As the mobility participants are specialists in different subjects, they took part in math, geology, biology, physical education, music and English classes the following days of their stay. “The stay at the school in Tomelloso was not only limited to watching the lessons, but also gave both parties the opportunity to exchange experiences. This was possible during meetings in the management teams of the school, with teachers who gave lessons in English, with teachers who carried out various projects at school, but also with a psychologist and pedagogue.” – remembers Monika Dudek.
The main point of the mobility program was the observation of bilingual classes, as teachers of primary school No. 2 in Wadowice plan to conduct extracurricular activities in the fields of mathematics, geography and health education in English. The Spanish school has many years of experience in teaching CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), so Polish teachers had the opportunity to confront theoretical knowledge with practice, to learn about the methods of working in a bilingual system, insights and tips from specialists. The hosts were happy to share their experiences, methodological solutions and different ways to motivate students to learn foreign languages and science.
The exchange of information related to distance learning turned out to be a very interesting experience. During the conversation with Spanish teachers, the ways of working online, the resulting difficulties and ways to deal with them were discussed. Teachers of primary school No. 2 in Wadowice can share good practices that have proved successful in distance learning, e.g. the tab that motivates students to work independently on the school website – CLiPS (Interesting Links and Useful Pages), which was created as part of the project.
All guest lecturers act as educators or trainers, therefore great emphasis was placed on the exchange of experiences regarding the methods of educational work with students of different age groups and of different cultural origins.
During these meetings, teachers from Poland also presented information about our country and the region and presented the school’s pro-ecological activities in the form of a multimedia presentation. Wadowice residents provided their guests with gadgets provided by the Promotion Department of the Wadowice Municipality and guides in Spanish provided by the Tourist Office. “Although the inhabitants of the Castile-La Mancha region cannot complain about the lack of tourist attractions, they looked with interest at the materials that Małopolska and the Wadowice Municipality were promoting. They expressed the hope that another meeting of befriended schools will take place soon, this time in Wadowice.” – adds Iwona Kozioł – Ponikiewska.
Referring to the saying “Travel is the best form of education” one should not forget the other benefits of “job shadowing” visits. Staying in another country is also a great opportunity to get to know Europe’s cultural heritage. Thanks to the picturesque location of IES Francisco Garcia Pavon, teachers saw the town of Tomelloso, famous for its winemaking, and the world-famous windmills of Don Quixote, the protagonist of Cervantes’ novel. Since the language of instruction was English, Polish teachers improved the use of a foreign language in practice, thus achieving one of the objectives of the Erasmus programme: lifelong learning.
“A visit to a Spanish school, in addition to extensive methodological knowledge, also gave me the opportunity to memorize and use the Spanish language, which I also learned during my studies. So in addition to my professional experience, I have gained motivation for personal development, which is the pursuit of multilingualism “..- emphasizes Paweł Supron, an English teacher.
Currently, teachers implement the effects of their mobility in their work with students and transfer the acquired knowledge to other teachers in subject teams.
Current information about the implementation of Erasmus+ projects at Primary School No.2 in Wadowice can be found at: https://mobilnoscwadowice.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/mobilnoscwadowice. We invite you to follow.
Op.Iwona Majkowska – Kochan (Erasmus + project coordinator)
“Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie.”