At the beginning of this school year I was very worried about the mood of my students. I was on the point of meeting them for the first time, after a long break of six months. We kept in touch for a couple of months by means of different online tools such as Google Classroom, Zoom or Skype, but what I really missed was the pleasant feeling of watching them working face-to-face, in teams or in pairs. The virtual breakout rooms were not enough. Despite my efforts of keeping them connected, I was afraid that I would meet some anxious students, who almost „lost” their English, some students unable to speak as they used to do for fear of making mistakes.
That is why I wanted to surprise them by doing something special for them. I wanted to give them the opportunity to use what they learnt at school in real life communication. Thus, I decided to take part into a wonderful etwinning project (etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm) on the occasion of The European Day of Languages.
The idea of the project was to help our students to communicate with their peers from other countries, to share their common likes and dislikes, to discover other languages in Europe and to learn something about different countries. Some of the main objectives of the project were the following: to celebrate linguistic diversity in Europe, to improve awareness of Europe’s linguistic heritage and to motivate students to develop their language skills. Students from 35 schools from different countries such as Romania, Poland, Spain, Holland, Croatia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Slovakia took part in this project.
Taking this into account, the students sent emails to each other consisting of short messages in English and in their native language; they created short videos in which they presented their school and city; they took pictures of interesting places in their towns; they created posters on the occasion of The European Day of Languages. The students from some countries even made video conferences that they really enjoyed. It was a good opportunity to meet new people having the same interests or likes. All the materials were printed and each teacher made an exhibition at his/her school.
The students took a big interest in our project, they were very enthusiastic, they worked hard and they had fun just because they had the feeling of using English not to solve grammar exercises from different books, but to communicate with real people of their own age. They encountered students from other countries having the same preferences as theirs; they were very curious about their peers’ life style, about their school schedule and school subjects.
Given the success of the project, we went on with a similar project, called Christmas Around The World, a great collection of Christmas traditions in different European countries.