My daughter Nicole goes to a small school in the UK and I was visiting the school the other day regarding a project all the kids had been working on. Was a good few hours well spent and was nice to see how encouraged the kids are with what they are learning and its when I thought of an idea of twinning Nicole’s school with our Central School in Minglanilla. Not sure how much the twinning is going to work but I have just started the first stages of the project the school in the UK is very keen to undertake the project and tomorrow the Central School will receive a letter explaining the outline of the idea.
Why am I doing this? Its two fold as it will help both schools develop and give them something new and fascinating for the kids. I think this may be the first United Kingdom – Philippines twinning although I maybe wrong. But i thought i would share the idea as some of you may think its something you would like to get involved in yourself or help 2 schools twin up. As things develop I will add information.
I have added Building Affective Partnerships you might find it useful if looking into this type of project yourself.
I’m also adding a bit of material to give you an idea of how to get your Twinning started :-
Introductory letters to the head teacher of your partner school explaining what you would like to learn from the partnership. The letter could include information about the school and your local community; your interest in the partnership, plus long-term visions for the partnership and curriculum ideas aimed at embedding global dimension values within the curriculum.
- Supervised pen-pal letters can be a useful starting point, but it helps if these are focussed on a particular theme. Unsupervised letters between young people may include elements which reinforce the preconceptions and stereotypes which global school partnerships are trying to break-down. Letters and e-mails should be monitored to ensure that cultural, social and economic differences are respected.
- Starter activities about the partner school’s country, weather, lifestyles, wildlife, ways of life, hobbies, jobs etc could provide a strong foundation for developing curriculum work.
- Make use of other online resources to find classroom materials and to get ideas.
Once you’ve made a start
- Share your reply with colleagues and then plan what you will do with the information. How will you introduce it to the whole school and all those involved in the preparatory stage?
- Plan how staff and students in both schools will communicate with each other. Is there e-mail access in the school or at a nearby internet café? If not, what other means of communication are there e.g. mobile phones, postal services or via a third party such as the British Council, local authorities etc?
- Begin to think about how you will spread the learning opportunities from the partnership throughout your school curriculum. Think about the eight global dimension themes and how these fit in with your curriculum and with the curriculum of your partner school.
Things to think about
- Postal services in some partner countries may be unreliable and slow.
- Class sizes may differ widely. If letters are sent from group to group rather than student to student you reduce the risk of disappointment if pupils leave or are away from school.
- Teachers may not have regular access to e-mail so you may not get an instant reply.
- Partner schools may have different expectations. UK schools may become disinterested if they do not receive an immediate reply to their letter or e-mail; Southern partner schools may well reply in-depth after some time.
- Think about using other means of communication. Text messaging can be a good way of maintaining regular contact. If other people in your community are visiting your partner country, they may be happy to take letters over for you.
- Find out from your partner school when their school holidays are and what will happen to any letters you send during the holidays.
Then there is expanding the idea where will the twinning take both schools. Ideally it has to be a two way project as the main thing is getting it to develop and be rewarding. There is no point a school in the U.K. for example doing a lot of charity events etc. to help its partner school to find that the partner school doesn’t even reply to emails.