WHAT IS CONNECTING CLASSROOMS?
Connecting Classrooms is a global programme that creates partnerships between clusters of schools in the UK and others around the world. These partnerships bring an international dimension to young people’s learning, to improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and prepare them for life and work as global citizens.
Connecting Classrooms partnerships are supported by local authorities/federations of schools in the UK and district education offices/ministries of education in other countries. This endorsement, in all countries, provides a platform from which broader, strategic links can be formed between areas or districts in the partner countries.
To ensure sustainability, clusters of schools participating in the programme are also co-ordinated by their local authority/federation of schools, district education office, or other co-ordinating body. Read more about roles and responsibilities (in the UK).
Partnerships last for two to three years, initially, depending on the countries involved. There is no joining fee, and participating schools and co-ordinating bodies can receive grants to support activities that sustain their links during their involvement in the programme.
WHAT DO SCHOOLS IN CONNECTING CLASSROOMS DO?
All schools involved in Connecting Classrooms:
||work with partner schools on collaborative curriculum projects, which enable learners to interact across geographical boundaries to enhance their understanding of each other’s societies, languages and cultures.
||receive professional development for teachers and school leaders, which builds capacity to support international partnerships and to lead the school in an international environment.
||become part of a global online community that enables teachers to network with one another in a range of teacher forums, and offers guidance in the use of ICT tools that develop and sustain partnerships. (The Connecting Classrooms Online Community is also open to teachers in schools that are not participating in funded Connecting Classrooms partnerships. More information here.
BENEFITS FOR THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Learners of all ages and abilities benefit from direct interaction with their international peers. Working together on joint projects improves communication and ICT skills, encourages language learning, and deepens their understanding of other societies and cultures – as well as their own. It can also have a positive impact on motivation and achievement.
Teachers and school leaders gain from experiencing educational practice in different countries, sharing good practice with national and international counterparts, and benchmarking their practice against standards in other countries. International linking enriches the curriculum and helps educators to meet the objectives of core educational strategies and priorities. In England, for example, an international partnership can help satisfy objectives for community cohesion, or language learning.
Schools extend their community of learning beyond the school gates by engaging parents and building connections with local businesses and community groups. Business leaders are often keen to support local schools that are working internationally, and may offer resources, staff time, advice, sponsorship, work experience or placements.
Local authorities are able to work strategically with district education offices and ministries of education in other countries to address local needs and concerns. In so doing, they help to deliver government strategies in the UK for world-class schools and international education, at a local level.
Communities benefit from greater social cohesion because young people not only develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of cultures and societies in other countries, they also gain a better understanding of different cultural backgrounds within their own communities.
HOW DOES CONNECTING CLASSROOMS HELP SCHOOLS TO FULFIL THEIR OBJECTIVES?
Connecting Classrooms offers more than an international link - Schools not only work together on curriculum-relevant projects, they also benefit from professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders, and become eligible to earn International School Award accreditation.
Connecting Classrooms provides flexibility to meet local educational needs and objectives - such as social cohesion, or specialised language learning – through further partnership opportunities. By involving local authorities, districts and other co-ordinating bodies in each participating country, the programme ensures that partnerships have a broader strategic relevance and address local concerns and priorities. Connecting Classrooms also offers a variety of themes for joint curriculum projects to suit the interests and priorities of schools in all countries.
Connecting Classrooms schools work with other schools nationally, as well as internationally - Partnerships are formed of clusters of schools in different countries working together. This means that schools link not only with international counterparts, but also with schools in their own country. A cluster might comprise a combination of secondary schools, primary schools and special schools; or schools with different faith bases; or, in India, for example, state and public schools might work together.
Connecting Classrooms is a truly reciprocal global partnership programme for schools - Mutuality is one of the guiding principles of Connecting Classrooms. All schools within a partnership have access to the same opportunities and funding, and work on projects that meet their own curriculum objectives as well as those of their partners.
For more information about Connecting Classrooms in Bosnia and Herzegovina, please contact Samir Avdibegović.