The project „Crossing Borders with Modern Media and Drama” aimed at carrying out transnational activities that involved promoting the creative teaching and learning of the English language, improving communication skills and the use of Information and Communication Technology, all these through modern media and drama.
From a linguistic point of view, the four Learning/ Teaching/ Training mobilities provided the participants with real opportunities for practising English as a language of communication in different social and cultural contexts – at the airport/restaurant/hotel/museum, on stage, for academic purposes and in informal situations, facilitating the increase of motivation, initiative, participation, teamwork skills and, last, but not least, the testing of the linguistic competence level of the participants, which contributed to an increase in the self-confidence of all those involved. The linguistic dimension was complemented by the development of new skills, the improvement of general knowledge (of geography, art, history, customs, traditions, gastronomy etc.) and the practice of moral values and attitudes such as friendship, respect, responsibility, tolerance, empathy, solidarity etc.
The types of activities carried out within the Erasmus + partnership consisted of multi-media presentations of the participating countries, including those of the schools and regions in which the institutions operate, theatrical performances staged by transnational teams or by each participating country, based on original scripts written by the students themselves or on literary adaptations (“The Merchant of Venice”, “Women’s Kingdom”, “Alice in Wonderland”) , active participation in different workshops (acting, pottery, poetry, IT / art, music), public debates/ round tables, creating authentic materials for teaching, learning and evaluating English, promoting successful examples and good practices, information campaigns, activities of dissemination and exploitation of the results for improving the institutional image and increasing the school visibility on social platforms and among European communities.
Therefore, it is not wrong to state that the benefits of participation and involvement do not belong only to the direct beneficiaries, their families or the coordinating teachers, but also to the school and local communities. Indeed, such a partnership generates opportunities to create and strengthen deep and long lasting interpersonal relationships with individuals and groups of people within the European community, multiplying community knowledge and experience, but at the same time, raising awareness of certain aspects of personal, local and national identity.
By participating in this project, the students made the most of a unique opportunity: learning through experience, through their own contribution, both individually and within a team, following the rules and cooperating, even competing at times, in order to achieve clear goals and concrete actions, with visible results. Travelling to a foreign country and staying with host families for almost one week also provided new, genuine cultural experiences, valuable information, deep feelings and emotions to both the guest students and the host families. Taking part in one project activity is enough to realise that the slogan of the Erasmus plus programme – “Changing Lives, Opening Minds”- is true.
Regarding the teachers, they had the opportunity to compare not only theoretically, but also in the most realistic or practical way, to analyze in real terms, the similarities and differences between their methods, strategies and tools of teaching-learning-evaluation and those used in the European partner countries and to reflect on their own teaching-evaluation style. In addition, all those involved learned new lessons and created together attractive authentic materials that were distributed, for use, to other beneficiaries inside and outside the geographical and cultural borders of the project, the English language representing the binder, the unifying element of European communication and cooperation.
The project certainly had a positive impact not only on the people who participated in the mobilities, but also on the extended families of the participating students, their classmates, schoolmates, teachers from partner schools, other schools, school authorities or municipalities. This project has positively influenced a considerable number of people of different nationalities, ages and socio-professional status through the fruition of unique cultural, social and professional experiences.
In addition to the increased independence, empowerment and self-confidence of the participants, especially those of the younger ones, the motivation for continuous personal development and lifelong learning has increased, as well as the desire to materialize similar opportunities in the near future.
Although the participating organizations had very high expectations, and experienced some difficult decisions as well as organizational and educational challenges, all these have produced changes that will increase the quality of the instruction and educational processes in general, not only that of the teaching-learning of the English language or ICT, addressing an innovative vision of the educational services and the role of the educational institution in shaping the future of European graduates.
Moreover, the preparation for success of each member of the Erasmus + transnational team also presupposed the increased availability and capacity of each partner school to manage similar European educational programmes and activities in the future.