This workshop took place from 22nd to 26th September 2019 in Marinha Grande, Portugal.
TCD partners Sharon, Jane and Ciarán travelled to Portugal to meet the Portuguese school partners, as well as the teachers from Sweden, Romania, Germany and Ireland. This was our second-last workshop of the project, so we were all very happy to see each other and to be meeting in the beautiful seaside city of Marinha Grande.
Marinha Grande is a small city of 30,000 people in the district of Leiria, just over an hour north of Lisbon. It is famous for its glass manufacturing industry, giving it the nickname ‘the Crystal City’.
Ines, Fatima, Zé, Carlos, Elsa, Paula, Celina, and the School Principal Césario, gave us a fantastic welcome to the school, Escola Calazans Duarte.
From Trinity College Dublin, Jane, Sharon and Ciarán were present, along with Helena, Anna and Camilla (Sweden), Cerasela, Briana, Adina and Mihaela (Romania), Susanne, Pantelis and Robert (Germany), and Irish teachers Fiachra, Aoife and Garry.
This workshop was focused on further developing connections between teachers in different countries, so that they can plan computer-mediated connections (CMCs) with their students, via Skype or other online platforms. Teachers got into mixed country pairs and groups to discuss when they would next have a CMC, what topics the CMCs should cover, and how to incorporate some of the following elements into their plans:
- Bridge21 model-based activities
- Language and cultural development
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Cross-curricular elements (across different school subjects)
- Assessment for learning
To help teachers think about incorporating SDGs into their lesson plans, the Trinity College team led an interactive activity outside. Teachers were each presented with descriptions of young people and their daily lives from different places around the world such as Pakistan, the USA and Kenya. The activity asked them to think about whether it was likely their young person had enough food, clean water and a good chance of education, from their description. They had to move forwards or backwards based on this. At the end, the inequality between young people was obvious, and from the discussion afterwards it was clear that climate change is widening the gaps. This would be a useful activity to do in class to preface a discussion about the climate action, which is one of the 17 SDGs.
As well as focusing on CMCs, we also held a session on Theory of Change (to get teachers thinking about what they want to change in their schools and teaching practice as a result of TfaST), and a collaborative workshop to develop the remaining TfaST teacher handbooks (which mirror the topics discussed earlier for the CMCs).
The Portuguese team took everybody out to explore beautiful Marinha Grande and the surroundings, one of the days. They took us to a glass-blowing factory, which Marinha Grande is famous for; out to the sweeping coast and up to an awe-inspiring lookout point; and had some of their students lead us in an orienteering activity. They were wonderful hosts, and we look forward to seeing everyone again in Romania in 2020, for our last TfaST workshop!