Our mottoes are:
“Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I might remember,
Involve me and I will understand.”
“Dialogue between cultures, the oldest and most fundamental mode of democratic conversation, is an antidote to rejection and violence. Its objective is to enable us to live together peacefully and constructively in a multicultural world, to develop a sense of community and belonging.” (Council of Europe)”
In this project teenagers from five different European countries are invited to experience the joy of collaborative work on the topic: Respect and Contribution. They are called to learn about and respect the others, their culture and beliefs, taking self-respect as a starting point. They will make research on their own cultural heritage and self-image, will learn from the others and, working together, will reflect on and contribute to our common future. We would like to help our pupils to understand what unites them together and what makes them unique at the same time! With the help of the peers from other countries, participants will have the opportunity not only to look inside different people’s culture and life but also to learn about their image from the others’ perspective. That is why we have chosen the title: Windows and mirrors. For teenagers finding true self and place in the community is crucial so, through their participation in this project, we would like to help them become healthy tolerant self-confident European citizens who can contribute to a better future. Therefore during the two years of the partnership participants will work in national and international groups to find out and show the others as much as possible about their culture, the differences and similarities in teenage and adult culture and in the culture of different European countries. This team work obviously will result in better understanding and will provide the communities involved with interesting and valuable materials to promote tolerance and European identity.
The project is named Windows and Mirrors, the idea of the project is to meet people from other countries and look ‘through a WINDOW’ at their cultures and traditions and then ‘reflect in a MIRROR’ on our own culture and traditions. Each visit has had a ‘theme’ and ours is ‘Choices and Boundaries’. We have had to look at why we need boundaries throughout our lives and also whether we have enough (or too many) choices as teenagers – are we old enough, or wise enough to make choices? Do we always realise we have made the wrong choice and are we grown up enough to admit we got it wrong?
Groups of students from TCOLC have already visited Hungary in October 2010 and Spain in March 2011, the final visit to Turkey is April this year and Landini, Harbir, Parvinder and myself will be representing our college for the last leg. We will have the opportunity to stay with host families and experience their way of living. Whilst we are in Turkey there is a festival of ‘Children’ that we will be going to see and also be a part of. We have been asked to perform a traditional dance, so at the moment we are rehearsing a dance which we will be doing at the festival. We will be visiting the local school and seeing what their days are like. When our students visited Spain, they were surprised that the Spanish students still used paper/pens rather than computers and all the staff were known by their first names. It was a very relaxed atmosphere and all the lesson changes were done to music rather than bells, you had to be ready in your lesson by the end of the record. We will be looking at how different the schools in Turkey are compared to Spain and the UK !
Comenius came to our college back in February and experienced the English way of life. They stayed with host families from our college and they had the experience of visiting Bradgate Park, Warwick Castle and the National Space Centre. We had a traditional cooking experience where we were able to taste foods from Spain, Romania, Turkey, Hungary and the UK. We also had a dance/drama workshop where we worked in countries to perform ‘Teenage Life and Cultures’. These were very different according to each country.