Col·legi Sant Josep is an eTwinning School in Navàs, a small town of 6.000 residents in the region of Catalonia in Spain. The school welcomes 250 pupils from nursery to primary school (4 months- 12 years old). It is a semi-private school, as it receives public funds but also a small fee per month from the parents to cover the extra one- hour lessons offered per day. 15% of students have special needs and 12% are coming from non-EU countries , mainly from Morocco.
The first teacher joined eTwinning in 2009 and since 2020, all 17 pre-primary and primary school teachers are registered in the eTwinning community. eTwinning is embedded in the English language curriculum and it has been slowly integrated in other school subjects as well. In 2019- 2020 school year, almost all classes were involved in an interdisciplinary eTwinning project, where each class participated in short activities throughout the year.
Students work on their projects mainly using computers and laptops.
Three years ago, the school joined the “Escola Nova 21”, an alliance of schools and civil society institutions for an advanced education system, and adopted a school vision which has common elements with the eTwinning School Mission.
Students feel highly motivated, while also develop their ICT skills by using a variety of ICT tools. Students work autonomously in the TwinSpace and they are confident to work with different ICT tools. During eTwinning projects students work in groups of 3 to 4 and collaborate efficiently while the teacher has mostly the role of the facilitator. In a discussion with the 5th graders, who participate in their first eTwinning project with a class from Ukraine, M mentioned: “We learn English, have fun, make new friends and learn about other cultures” while P pointed out: “It’s our first project and we do things in a different way, we learn how to work with other people and we learn to be responsible as we have to follow the deadlines in our common tasks” . Another 10-year-old student explained one of their eTwinning activities and said enthusiastically: “We have many things in common with our partners. For example, me and my friend from Ukraine, we both love sushi”.
Parents, according to the interviews we had with the teachers, are embracing eTwinning work, as they see concrete outcomes for their children: students improve their level of English, develop ICT skills, become more autonomous and creative and improve their communication and critical thinking skills. During our school visit, parents participated in an activity organised by the school and it was clear that they play an active role in the decision-taking and collaborate with the teachers and their children to create a better school environment.
Teachers have the opportunity to learn new Pedagogical theories through their eTwinning projects and improve their digital skills. Collaboration is another important element, as teachers collaborate with other teachers, with their students and the families. Parents, according to their expertise, are invited to the schools and help students in the accomplishment of different activities. As one of the teachers pointed out: “eTwinning is a fantastic tool to enhance the collaboration, the language learning skills and to promote the feeling of being part of a European community”.
Regarding the eTwinning School Mission, Col·legi Sant Josep makes small steps towards the shared leadership approach by trying to involve the staff in the decision-making process of the school. There are several teams like on topics such as environment, library, international projects, values, and in each team different teachers take the lead and propose ideas and activities that then are discussed and agreed by all. All actors are taking active part in the decision-making process. A recent example, is the organization of a world café with 2 representative students from each class, 1 parent from each class and teachers, where they discussed about the new ICT and music class of their school and came up with different proposals working collaboratively.
Collaboration is the main priority for the school. Teachers are collaborating with each other and they realize that skills they learn through participating in eTwinning can also be useful in their subjects.and in the development of their level of competences such as digital, cultural awareness and expression. The school started with the interdisciplinary project and now they plan to establish a system where students of different ages and teachers from different classrooms will be mixed and work together according to the goals of the project. Also, every year the school asks through a survey to teachers, students and parents what aspects of the school can be improved.
Students also have the opportunity to become protagonists of their own learning. The students of Grade 5 and 6 are acting as agents by being members of the “ Consell Municipal d’infants” , the local community formed by teachers, parents and students from all the schools of the town . All students are also participate actively in the project work by presenting their work to the whole community as well as in regional teacher training sessions.