Our institution is a state run general secondary school consisting of 4 primary schools (two in rural areas and two other in the town), 9 kindergartens and the basic and secondary school. There are 1480 students of which 50 are with special needs, and about 190 teachers in our school.
Though the majority of our students are between 4 and 14 years old, we also have 12 general secondary courses as well as professional and vocational courses. Most secondary students study Sciences and Technology and there are only three Humanities classes in our school.
Though our school is well-equipped as far as technology is concerned, there are still many teachers who do not make use of the tools available and who show some resistance to innovation in their teaching practice. Therefore, we deem it important to participate in projects that will foster the use of the web 2.0 and promote teachers’ engagement in new teaching methods. Nevertheless, there a few very dynamic teachers in our institution who often get involved in national and international projects aimed at promoting students’ literacy, environmental awareness, health consciousness, ICT skills and Maths skills. We have also already developed several e-Twinning projects, coordinated a partnership Comenius project and participated in an Erasmus+ KA2 project.
Our institution is situated in Macedo de Cavaleiros, a small town in northern Portugal; it is the only state school here and the only one to teach secondary level. Macedo de Cavaleiros is situated in a predominantly rural area depressed by a population exodus both because of emigration and the migration of young people to coastal areas, where they search for better job opportunities. Few students in our school have opportunities to travel – some have never even been to Lisbon.
From our previous experience, we know that the opportunity to participate in international projects and get closer to Europe can make a change in our students and their goals for life. Besides opening their minds and making them realise they are European citizens, it truly involves them in school activities and quite often has a positive impact on academic results. It also helps students get a clearer idea of what they want to be in the future.