“When I was a young English learner at the age of nine, in the grammar unit of comparisons (comparative and superlative adjective forms) I was taught the following rhyme : “Good, better, best- never let it rest- till your good is better and your better best!” Years later on, as a teacher, I found out this rhyme’s potential dynamic in my teaching and professional development. And it was in 2015 that I “discovered” Erasmus plus, as a kind of …hidden treasure being there and waiting for me to approach and work on the “Good, better, best…” playful motto the Erasmus way! So the stimulating adventure began. Two successful applications Erasmus KA1, one strategic partnership Erasmus KA2, many subsequent eTwinning projects, lots of mobilities and an non stop fruitful outcome have left their precious footprint on my soul and mind and the school life of my very own school, Gymnasio Mygdonias, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Inspiring titles: “CLIL and ICT: from theory to school practice. I learn, observe and apply for a dynamic teaching centred on the pupil !”
“The temptation of “Presentation and Storytelling! Once upon a… school…there was the pedagogical bet of improving teacher’s and student’s soft skills!” and“Oresteia”
Five so far learning mobilities in Oxford, Dublin, York, Cambridge and Bologna and three school exchange partnership mobilities in Belgium and Italy.
Movie creations, drama plays, website designing and sharing, sharing, sharing. A creative earthquake changed my life and that of my school. A valuable whole- school approach well formed to inspire our larger school community and individual teachers.
Talking about the Erasmus experience from a personal point of view, I must say that at first it was a temptation, a challenge but turned to be the best professional development opportunity I have ever had! It gave me new energy and new perspectives on my work. Every single time I came back from an Erasmus mobility I felt totally renewed and refreshed from the whole experience. If I was to put it in a rather poetic way, I would have said that it was something like an escape land from …education’s “death valley”. It was a great element of enthousiasm, of “pathos” every single teacher needs face up difficulties everyday school life has and to inspire students.
If I had to pick three things of my Erasmus experience so far, I would mention the fact that it was a cultural experience you will never have as a tourist. This European integration, sharing and cooperating made us all meet our stereotypes and make them done away with our projects. We met the most welcoming, kind, warm people. Highlighting the school visits themselves as parts of our projects, we were given the opportunity to be part of life in another European schools: we were welcomed with open arms and made the centre of attention for the week. School concerts and drama plays were specially put on for us, teachers welcomed us into their classrooms and we were afforded the opportunity to do some teaching ourselves. The kindness and hospitality we were shown was truly touching. The teachers went out of their way to organise social events, historical trips and cultural activities for us. We had experiences that we could never have had, if we were just tourists. We visited unique places that tourist companies do not bring you to and, more importantly, we made lifelong friends and well promising future school collaborations. European integration at its best!
Then it was the element of autonomy and creative flexibility. Having our National Agency standing by us and getting inspired by concrete examples of school education projects on the School Education Gateway platform we enjoyed the flexibility to design our very own project to suit our very own school! The “tailor made” projects we came up to are promising a long lasting benefit for our school community! And the plan does work: the professional development of our teachers have a vital impact on the school community. Parents have noticed improvement in the quality of teaching and a different students’ attitude towards lessons, since students get more interesting and engaging lessons, work together with pupils from another country and are involved in cross-curriculum activities.
Last but not least, one of my personal teacher development goals was accomplished: how to engage the disengaged student, how to handle the diversity of my students and more specifically those with a narrow spectrum of achievements, how can I widen their spectrum, how can I individualise my teaching? Erasmus mobilities helped me find the way to engage my students, to focus on their individuality, their curiosity, their creativity. That way, of course, I developed my own creativity and self development and gained a precious experience which I am constantly diffusing to my colleagues.
To sum up, I strongly believe that Erasmus does change lives and minds, it has changed me personally in the most creative and enthousiastic way. I does change school everyday life, it has changed my school: the Erasmus footprint is visible on my students’ face and my school’s walls (lots of posters, photo collages, pictures, eTwinning projects deriving from Erasmus collaborations -my school is applicable for the eTwinning School Label as well). In my opinion, Erasmus is declaring in the most clear way that Europe attributes a very high status to the teaching profession by providing a constant support and profession development to us, the teachers!”
by Maria Dangli- Erasmus plus coordinator at Gymnasio Mygdonias