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Learning from Practice Sharing- Internationalization: a Window of Opportunities
Start date: Feb 28, 2015, End date: Dec 28, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Learning from Practice Sharing – Internationalization: a Window of Opportunities" is a project designed to meet the needs of a state teaching organisation in Portugal whose Educational Project considers internationalization as a priority for its modernization. Some actions towards internationalization have already been developed: exchange trips and activities with three European schools in The Netherlands, Poland and France , eTwinning projects and the creation of the European Club. Agrupamento de Escolas Henrique Sommer, Maceira provides an inclusive education. In addition to the regular national curriculum for children and students from 3 to 18 year-old teenagers (12th grade), there is a wide variety of courses and programmes designed for special populations: recently created vocational courses of agriculture and ICT for low skilled students in the basic areas, professional Courses of ICT for secondary school students who want a specific professional training; Education and Training Courses for academic low skilled students with practical abilities; Special Needs Education and Adult Education. Our project includes two approaches: (1) Attending European Courses / training . In fact, the organisation has been facing new problems related to the lack of motivation of professionals to work with low skilled disruptive students in vocational and professional courses which were created to combat failure and prevent early school leaving and needs different ideas to find out new creative approaches of dealing with children with special needs. It is also necessary to up skill our professionals with the required tools to ensure the quality of the projects and link them to the curriculum through further training. Thus, we intend to involve the professionals and experts that work directly with students of the following courses at our school: Vocational/professional and adult teaching courses in fields such as motivation, solutions for emerging problems, teaching practice and materials, communication, new ideas, innovation, entrepreneurship and problem solving strategies. We also need to engage Head Departments, leaders of projects and other staff in European project planning and management areas. We need highly prepared professionals to design, organise, monitor, supervise and evaluate vocational/professional and adult teaching courses according to international standards. (2) Organising activities to share good practices with other schools/ institutions. Bearing in mind the organisation of activities to share good practices with other European institutions, we are available to host participants willing to observe our experience in the field of Special Needs Education in a job shadowing activity. We have been working with this specific population for about 20 years, therefore we feel that we can be European added value in this area. The Board of Directors, the European Development Plan team ( EDP team ) together with the Teacher Training Department of our organisation defined the criteria to select the number of participants for the mobilities, concluding that 25% of the staff and teachers in the organisation in key functions would meet the needs in the training fields and guarantee the dissemination to the remaining staff / teachers. Thus, the total number of participants will be 28. They will attend each course in pairs to avoid disruptive functioning of the school ( such a small group won’t interfere with the regular functioning of the school and will be enough to discuss the praxis, the evaluation and follow up activities of dissemination ).By doing so, we also ensure that our Institution will attend a wide variety of courses, which will enrich the learning outcomes of the participants. After each mobility, the team will monitor the dissemination activities that will have to be carried out by the participants (both in the Institution and in the community). Beyond the 28 participants, the outcomes of learning experiences will have impact on the whole organisation: the 110 teachers, through the dissemination in the Departments, the head teachers, project leaders and the staff through the organisation of projects and helping with the necessary planning of the school curriculum. These actions will have a direct impact on the students' routines, curriculum and, eventually, in their motivation. Parents will also have the feedback of the new practices through their children. The community itself will learn with the innovative ideas through their representatives in the Parents’ Association and in the Board of Directors.In the long run it is expected that our organisation acquires a culture of internationalisation, integrating in its praxis the outcomes of the mobility trainings. Moreover, we expect that the image of our institution will be enhanced with more prestige. This project meets the priorities of our Educational Project and is in line with the European Union 2020 strategy.

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