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Erasmus: School Exchange Project

School exchange project: Developing and sharing foreign language resources and teaching methods

Aims and overview of the project

Through funding provided by the British Council, Sandilands and Rack House Primary (a local Wythenshawe school) made links with Colegio El Pinar, a school in Malaga, Spain. The three schools worked together to develop and share foreign resources and teaching methods. The long term aim of the project was increase teacher confidence in planning and delivering a modern foreign language.

The project was due to run from September 2018- August 2021, with a number of exchange trips planned. Each English school had hoped to send 24 participants over a two year period. Alongside this, El Pinar hoped to send 8 teachers to the English schools. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic not all planned trips were able to go ahead.

However, the groups that were able visit felt that the aims of the project were met successfully. English and Spanish teachers were able to observe and discuss teaching methods, strategies and assessment techniques. There were also opportunities for teaching as well as time to take part in different cultural experiences. Teachers have been able to put into practice in their own classrooms everything they learnt from their trips.

The children in all the schools have benefitted from the project and the links that have been made. Their cultural capital was developed through a range of activities e.g.  The exchange of letters, cards and through specific projects on artists.

Sandilands' experience

Teachers from Sandilands visited El Pinar, a private school in Malaga on two separate occasions. The reason behind the exchange was to share good practice and to observe similarities and differences between the 2 schools. It was also to help teachers ensure that children make progress towards their age related expectations in a modern foreign language.

The teachers involved in the exchange were from across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 and they were partnered with a teacher from Spain in a similar aged class. Teachers were allowed the opportunity to observe in classes for a period of time to see some of the daily practise. They were also asked to work with their partner teacher to plan a lesson and then to deliver a lesson to model their own practise. This all fell within the normal school day and lessons were not disrupted. Teachers were encouraged to act as a learning support assistant whilst the class teacher continued as usual with their lessons.

The exchange allowed for discussion with the teachers from Spain and to compare curriculum ideas, teaching resources, lesson plans etc. It enabled the teachers to see the cross-curricular approach of El Pinar and for the teachers there to see a flavour of our National curriculum structure and way of teaching.

On our visits to our partner school, teachers visited Malaga and spent some time embracing themselves in the culture and learning about the cultural differences. They spent time working in Colegio El Pinar teaching the bilingual children and sharing experiences of life within an English school. When the teachers returned to England, they shared their experience with the children and staff at Sandilands. We spent time completing work so that we could create links with the school in Malaga.

Examples of work:

Year 6 children made posters detailing what their life in Manchester looks like and shared some of their favourite landmarks and features of the city.

Year 5 children wrote letters to the children who attend Colegio El Pinar to ask them what their day is like and to see if they could share their timetable with us. They also made posters showing their understanding of the vocabulary and grammar structures surrounding the topic of the weather. A lot of rain featured on our posters!

Year 4 children made posters explaining what type of clothes we wear in England. This helped them to practise their grammar and enabled them to use a range of adjectives and vocabulary related to the topic.

Some of our children created birthday invitations for the children of Colegio El Pinar. The children were fantastic at using numbers, dates and months as well as using aural language to ask for certain colours and resources as they completed their work

We completed a whole school project on Picasso as he is a public figure in Malaga and some of our teachers visited the Picasso museum. Children from Nursery to Year 6 completed Picasso inspired artwork.

Our Spanish teacher Presy, read some Spanish books to the children in Reception and Year One; the books were purchased from a book shop in Malaga by our Teachers. The children loved embracing themselves in the language and some of the children recognised some of the words as Presy was speaking!