Why did you decide to participate in this project?
Amaia: We wanted our students to connect with students from other European countries, give them the opportunity to discuss their work and exchange experiences with students in other countries.
Matej: I wanted to give my students the opportunity to participate in an international project. The topic of migrations is close to my students, as we live at the Schengen border and illegal migrations are common. I also wanted my students to communicate with students from other countries.
Kristina: Our school is committed to international projects. In addition, the goal of the project is in line with our curriculum and competency model.
Deirdre: It is a great opportunity for students to work on beneficial topics with students from other countries.
How has the response of the students changed throughout the project?
Amaia: In the beginning, our students were not so confident with their knowledge of the topic and their command of foreign languages, but participating in the project has helped them to gain confidence.
Matej: My students started this project very open-mindedly, despite the fact that we live in a conservative region, where immigrants are not appreciated, or rather local people feel a certain amount of fear towards immigrants. Different perspectives, given in the project, even enlarged student’s empathy towards immigrants.
Kristina: Although the task at first seemed abstract and difficult for them, they gradually adapted to the task and came out with a very tidy job.
Deirdre: They have become more involved in the history lessons.
What was the biggest challenge?
Amaia: Finding interviewees was quite difficult. Language has been an added difficulty for some of our students, but not all. Finding the right rhythm for both schools was difficult, since we often had holidays and exams at different moments and therefore, we had difficulties to agree on deadlines and online meetings. We had to make some changes in our organization to be able to keep the contact.
Matej: Due to Covid-19 our country experienced one of the longest lockdowns in Europe. For 6 months we had online school. Making documentaries was quite a big challenge. All communication was made via online meetings.
Kristina: The hardest part has been finding close and real testimonials. It’s not easy to put people in front of the camera.
Deirdre: Time, planning and research skills of students. While the lesson plans are very clear, we realised that the research part is quite open, so students either step up to the challenge or lose it a bit.
Were there any clashes in the classroom because of different opinions/perspectives?
Amaia: Not really, our students were mostly of the same opinion, and when they discussed with our partner school students, we discovered that they had similar views on the topic.
Matej: No, not really. However, we were not able to discuss the topic as thoroughly as we wanted.
Kristina: Even though the affair was tough and difficult to deal with, the students kept their distance.
Deirdre: Not really. We do encourage an open atmosphere in class so it was ok to debate some topics.
How did Covid-19 affect the outcome?
Amaia: Last year´s lockdown made it very difficult for us to organise and coordinate the groups. Finding interviewees and making the interview was more difficult due to Covid-19 restrictions. But in the end, we managed.
Matej: We had some problems finding time for all the activities in the project. That is also the reason why we needed a lot of time for our documentaries.
Kristina: Of course, the pandemic has not made it easier to interact with people. And in our case, we wanted to deal with similar experiences.
Deirdre: Group work proved to be tricky as well as keeping distance while creating documentaries and carrying out interviews.
Did you create a meaningful relationship with your partner school?
Amaia: I think we did. We ended the project with a final online meeting of the different groups, and this event was highly valued by our students. They were very happy to have the opportunity to get to know students from other countries and talk to them about their experiences.
Matej: Sadly, no. We even changed our partner school. We sent our documentaries to the school and I tried to organise an online meeting. I was not successful with that. We also did not get any feedback on our work or received documentaries from other schools. I am very disappointed because of that.
Kristina: In our case, we couldn’t fit a better colleague. The teacher is very knowledgeable, hardworking and ideal for directing this type of work and project.
Deirdre: Yes, our Spanish partners were great. With our Turkish partners, it was a little more difficult due to expectations and time differences.
Do you have any suggestions on how this project could be implemented?
Amaia: The project as it is designed right now does not require much contact between partner schools until the end. We would suggest starting collaborating and getting to know each other from the beginning: instead of each school making their own videos and then showing them to their partner school, it could be more productive to mix the groups from the start, making them international from the beginning, so that the relationship between students becomes more collaborative from the first stages of the project. It would make the organization more complex, but it would also be a more enriching experience.
Matej: I would like to thank Eugenie from EuroClio, for all the help and support. It was very hard sometimes to continue with this project, but her emails of support helped us to finish our work. I think being in contact with project leaders is very important, even when it is only about moral support.
Kristina: Everything was fine, maybe next year we can share part of the research or we can mix our students up.
Deirdre: Although I know it would be more difficult to arrange, I think it would be more beneficial if the students could actually work with their International partners to create one documentary.