Montag, 20. Februar 2017

Principals' meeting at Nøtterøy 2008

The principals' meeting is part of every Comenius project. This year the headteachers of the participating schools met at Nøtterøy videregående skole near Tønsberg (Norway).

This is the meeting's report written by Wim Horsch (Sintermeerten College, Heerlen, The Netherlands), initiator and first coordinator of the project.

Comenius schoolproject "Save my Energy" - Report of the principal’s meeting

Nøtterøy Upper Secondary School, March 27th and 28th 2008.

Central theme:
Is an international (part of the) curriculum beneficiary and achievable for our school, and if yes, how should we accomplish this ?

Schools present

  • Vershvu School Kaunas, Lithuania V
  • Babtai School, Babtai, Lithunia B
  • Instituto Statale "E. de Nicola" , Sicicly E
  • Instituto Statale "G. Marconi" , Sicily M
  • Fjolbrautaskolinn Gardabaer, Iceland F
  • Fritz-Karsen-Schule Berlin, Germany K
  • Nøtterøy Upper Secondary School, Norway N
  • Sintermeertencollege, Netherlands S

We started the discussion with the question if there is added value for the schools from the existing project "Save my Energy".

N stated that in their opinion the project is well organized and can very well be implemented in the curriculum. In fact they are doing this at this moment. They want to reach more students and have more of them more involved in the project.

E is implementing the project into the curriculum and will motivate more students to take part in it.

M faces an increasing interest of teachers and students for the project. They have installed fotovoltaic cells at the roof of the school and will derive data from it, which they will use in the project.

V and B are facing problems with the linguistic skills of the teachers. Subject teachers are preparing the content, which is translated by English teachers. Lithuania is facing some major changes in the educational system, the main aim is to involve more aspect of "real life" into the curriculum. Their conclusion is that the students are very initiative.

After this first round we came to the central question as mentioned above. Would we like more international education and what do we have to do for it.

N started the discussion by stating that they need it. The results of the Pisa study were quite discouraging for Norway. The central reason for this was the lack of motivation among students and teachers. For N the comparison of the curricula was essential for implementing the project into the curriculum. The question of achievability was brought into relation with funding. In Norway it is not allowed to let students pay for school activities.

For M there are three key success factors:

  • Students of the same age should work together.
  • The results of the exchanges are important. Starting with a small successful project is the formula.
  • The general part is the important framework.

M suggest for this reason to bring the teachers together for 7-10 days to work on the general part, just to make sure that they have enough time. The general part should be the content container where all the necessary information is in and were teachers and students can get their content.

V proposed at this stage to create a general part in levels. For the longer time this is an excellent idea, at this moment we agree that we would be over asking our teachers.

M suggests that we start multipoint videoconferences for the participating teachers, which is accepted as a good idea. Means for us that we have to facilitate this. Question is who organizes.

Our next topic is funding for activities and labour. The general conclusion is that Comenius money is not enough and it is not allowed to use the Comenius money for labour costs. V and B add that they are permitted by their NA to use some of the Comenius money for costs of labour.

N states that for them the replacement during exchanges and time for development is no problem, it is a part of the regular job the teachers have to do.

V and B indicate that school has some extra money for extra time of teachers, but is not much. Some schools in LT even have problems with paying the regular salaries of the teachers.

E and M indicate that they have some extra budget to pay teachers for extra activities

The discussion now comes to the point where we speak about the need for a next management meeting. Should we continue the discussion there to see if we can help the others with their problem. Everybody presents it’s own framework, but since each of us is acting within his or won mindset, the others could help with creative solutions from a different angle. The aim is create directions for solutions if we want to expand the international modules in our curriculum.

N states that teachers involved are enthusiastic, others are not. The problem is not only money, it is more an internal motivation or a burden to act international. With small projects there are always enthusiastic teachers and students. The differences between the systems could be too big to create solutions. Another aspect is funding from industry and communities. It is supposed that we share these experiences on It’s learning.

Everybody agrees on this item, but Lt and Sicily indicate that they prefer personal contact. We are not discussing the success of the existing project, but the framework and basics for the success of the expanding of our international curriculum. Therefore we agree that it is very useful if we share our knowledge and creativity to help each other and solve this common problem.

We agree that we will have a next meeting in the next school year. Please send me suggestions for time and place. Excluded for the meeting are Heerlen and Nøtterøy as they have already organized meeting.

March 28th, 2008
Wim Horsch