Our school, Liceo Scientifico “G.Seguenza”, is located in the central urban area of Messina, a Sicilian city, overlooking the Straits. It has a population of 250,000, most of who belong to the lower and middle classes. Our 1,500 students (aged 14 to 18yr) mostly come from the surrounding neighbourhoods. They are divided into 58 classes and taught by a staff of 132 teachers. The school year is split into two terms of four-months each. Various sporting activities allow students to implement their physical abilities, both in individual and team games.Liceo Seguenza provides a regular medical and psychological service to try and meet the students’ needs. Disabled students may benefit from the help of specialised support teachers if their families request it.
Liceo Seguenza has always been eager to widen the learners’ horizons, thanks to numerous activities and projects aimed at bridging borders with international partners. In this framework, the school has been organising:
- Language courses held by mother-tongue teachers for certifications (Cambridge, Trinity, DELF, DELE);
- Twinning experiences abroad (Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece);
International PON courses envisaging work experience and language programmes;
- Short and long-term High School exchange programmes organised by Intercultura;
- e-Twinning projects;
- Multicultural activities have included sightseeing guided tours for Intercultural students and the annual tea party with food, music and dances from all the countries our foreign students come from.
Such events have enabled the students to focus their attention on habits and traditions different from their own and on the importance of keeping one’s own cultural identity while sharing experiences and ideas. They appear particularly important in the light of the recent increase in immigration and the large number of refugees who have sought shelter in our country.
In order to favour the development of social skills (cooperation, mutual respect, team work, sense of responsibility) the school has carried out yearly Drama projects for more than 15 years, often managing to win first place in National Drama Competitions. This has also helped motivate weak students, thus contributing to limit early school leaving and – by fostering self-esteem – making learning more effective also for the most disadvantaged ones.
Moreover, courses have been held in order to deepen the students’ knowledge about the Italian Constitution, thus enabling them to learn about their civil rights and responsibilities as citizens.
With ICT of growing importance in the contemporary world, Liceo Seguenza has organised ITC PON courses to the aim of improving students’ technological skills and preparing them for ECDL exams, of which the school is an authorised centre.
In compliance with the new guidelines stated by the Italian Ministry of Education, the English language has been introduced into our curricula as a vehicle to convey teaching contents concerning non-linguistic subjects, by using CLIL methodology. To this purpose, our teachers have been attending English-language training courses, financed by the European Community (B7, G1 courses), in order to better their foreign language skills. Moreover, European funds have also been used to improve our staff’s digital competences, enabling them to obtain the ECDL certification.
Having implemented all the necessary preliminary steps, we are now committing ourselves to creating a working network in which teaching and learning may be the result of on-going communication and debate with colleagues from other European countries.
All our staff have benefitted from previous projects and the training these provide via dissemination. In addition, they have realised the increasing importance of international exchanges as a way of sharing good practice.