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Embracing Europe
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Over the last 12 months, we formed a group on the E-Twinning platform, of like-minded teachers interested in creating a project based on European Citizenship. Through working together as 7 countries we aim to promote knowledge of citizens' rights and responsibilities; promote knowledge of social, political and civic institutions; develop the ability of students to engage in critical and independent thinking; develop respect for the environment, and enable our students to develop as social beings through respecting and co-operating with others, thus contributing to the good of society. We feel our students, though having basic knowledge about the European Union, need a greater understanding of what it means to be part of this Union, and need to learn how to live within and contribute to the evolution of our growing multicultural society. The teachers, from Ireland, Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, bring a wide range of experience to the table. Some have co-ordinated projects before, others are involved in the European Studies Programme and E.L.O.S. but our common denominator is a keen interest in multicultural education, and in particular, an eagerness to work hard together to ensure that our students benefit from this project. All but one of our schools are within easy reach of the National Parliament, and we envisage that students will visit Parliament and meet some members. We also intend to visit the European Parliament in Brussels. Students will research the workings of the democratic processes in the country they will visit and will enhance their research by what they learn while they are there. Activities regarding environmental issues will also be undertaken and each school will choose a topic which impacts most on their region, try to agree on possible solutions, and prepare a presentation for their peers when they visit. This will develop their ability to analyze issues, discuss them, and present a report. Co-operating and working with students of a similar age from different countries and cultures, will develop tolerance and understanding of each other, and of course, meeting and befriending each other while participating in mobilities, will contribute greatly to their social development. Active learning methodologies like structured discussion, simulation games and role-play, issue tracking, surveys/questionnaires and on-line group forums will be used throughout the project. Our objectives need to be specific, measurable, achievable and realistic, given the time frame we have to achieve them. We do not want to make the mistake of trying to achieve too much and in the process, achieve very little. We expect that this project will impact on our students in such a way as to enable them to learn and appreciate the idea of active citizenship, understanding that everybody has a voice, and a role to play in the betterment of society. We expect that stereotypical attitudes will disappear and students in later years, will have no fear of travelling to E.U. countries to study, visit or work.
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