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Growing together
Start date: Feb 28, 2015, End date: Dec 28, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In a huge cluster situated in a rural/disadvantaged area, with the need to support pupils with special needs and prepare open minded citizens who belong to the big european family, in a world of global challenges, it was essential to promote international training to our staff and make sure that the good practices that were observed and shared are put in practice in a sustainable way of learning and growing together. Thirty two teachers from different teaching levels and different curriculum areas participated in this training opportunity, because they wanted to improve their skills and give their best in this hard task of educating the European citizens of the future. All of them prepared themselves for this training by taking part in all the preparation activities and by creating their plan and progress evaluation. The whole process consisted of : - finding the training needs of our staff; - providing partners and institutions that could offer the needed training; - preparing the participants for the training (workshops, planning activities...); - making agreements with all the involved parts; - preparing the trips to the several countries; - participating in structured courses; - doing job shadowing; - disseminating the acquired knowledge; - sharing the information with the staff that didn't have the opportunity of training yet; - making sure that there is a further impact of this training in a sustainable way. The results were 32 teachers of completely different school levels and areas have taken part in structured courses in different countries and in different interest areas and some have been observing lessons, by doing job shadowing. All of them made their report and have made a personal improvement plan in which they said how they were going to use the acquired knowledge in their own lessons. So, the first impact happened on their own performance and the second one on other colleagues' performance who showed interest in the new methods and different teaching strategies. They got contact with these ideas, impressions and knowledge in the sharing and disseminating meetings. There were several meetings in which the participants showed the materials and handed out helpful links to the whole school staff and through powerpoint presentations and pictures, all of us got the information and impressions from all the participant's experiences. Besides the impact in each of the participants by taking part in this international training adventure, there are emerging changes in the organisation and the general well-being of the whole school community. One example is the reported idea of changing some school environments in order to promote better conditions for students, teachers and even parents. The idea of "teaching less, learning more" was another point that made us rethink some regular points of view. There is still something very important going on in this dissemination process, namely the creation of a teacher training program. To give more emphasis to the dissemination of our experience has been identified the possibility to build a teacher training program credited with the support of our training centre. There was a joint reflection among the members of each group to articulate content and methods of presentation always with a very strong strand practice. As a result was structured an accredited 35 hours training program for teachers of our school cluster and also open to other teachers in nearby school clusters. It was entitled "The Internationalisation of School - a Path to Success." with the following contents: - implementation of several students difficulties diagnose practices; planning and application techniques of team building; self-steam; control stress; performance evaluation for student groups; practice concentration; knowledge building; critical thinking; emotions expression to generate empathy between groups of students; innovative techniques for presenting content in the classroom context and outside the classroom, favouring the outdoors potential; English language learning techniques that could extend to learning other languages; content and language integrated learning among others. It was also identified more outreach opportunities with our application to participate in a best teaching practices dissemination forum to express our training experience through the school's internationalisation.
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