Dariia has been teaching English at the Novopillia Educational Complex near the city of Kryvyi Rih for 12 years already. In 2014, she encountered a post about the eTwinning Plus program on social media, which allowed implementing foreign projects, communicating in foreign languages with European states.
“I always wanted much more than a village school could give, and not to change the place of work, but to discover something new for myself and my students,” says Dariia.
“It could be the exchange of letters, both ordinary and electronic. Participation in conferences. Exchange of postcards, toys, etc.,” explains Dariia.
Teachers of the project work with teams of pupils. “We are recruiting children every year, looking for a project we want to take part in. Projects can be short-term, long-term and for different age groups. Topics can be different.”
Any teacher who speaks a foreign language or even someone who can receive support from their colleague to help communicate can participate in the project.
“As a teacher working at a village school, the program opens the whole world for me: eTwinning Plus gives me the opportunity to express myself in front of Europe. I can show Ukrainian children that everything is possible – you can do it, just try it.”
The European office provides some type of social media, namely a platform where schoolchildren and children can communicate with each other, share knowledge and experience.
“The European program gives a powerful impetus to professional development. There are several practical on-site sessions each year. In addition, transport as well as accommodation and food costs are fully covered,” tells Dariia.
There are also webinars, online courses and workshops for professional development. They are completely free with the subsequent receipt of the relevant certificate.
You can apply with your own project for a national award. And then to the European one, however, the requirements are tougher.
Dariia received a national award for a joint project with Turkey covering the topic of peace:
“Back then, students from Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey made birds of peace, wrote English slogans calling for peace. Each country sent round these birds and organized exhibitions. Moreover, children sang songs and exchanged them with each other within the project.”
The children learned the symbols and culture of other countries, tells the woman:
“For example, we have the arrival of spring traditionally symbolized by Maslenitsa, the arrival of birds. And in Bulgaria, Baba Marta is the most traditional symbol. And the children were extremely happy when they learned about their traditions, learned a few words in Bulgarian.”
Dariia and the children also learned how to thank in Turkish and Polish.
She emphasizes that the project provides what is called access to equal education: children of rural schools or “advanced” high lyceums receive equal opportunities for studying. And communicating “on equal terms” with Europeans makes it possible to overcome any boundaries on the path to knowledge.
This article was prepared within the framework of the EU Eastern Neighborhood project. The views expressed in the article are those of the author only.
By Uliana Bukatiuk
Source – Espreso