International Education

We have had many different links to international education over the years.  Most recently we enjoyed links with a project in India.  This partnership no longer runs, however, we thought you would be interested to read about our experiences.

 

 

INDIA WEEK AT ST NINIAN’S

As part of our Project Partnership links with APD in Bangalore, Karnataka, India we decided to designate one week during Lent as "India Week". The week chosen was 5th - 9th March: this was chosen to coincide with the already established "Rich Man, Poor Man Lunch", a regular Lenten event which had recently been given an Indian dimension by basing the meals on Indian food.

AIMS

The aims of having an India Week were:

  • to raise the profile of our partnership with APD
  • to build upon and refresh pupil interest generated by the APD reciprocal visit in October 2006
  • to improve awareness among staff and pupils of the main themes of our partnership
  • to encourage departments to build relevant elements into the curriculum
  • to encourage pupil research & learning through exploration of Indian language, culture, dress, etc...
  • to provide a clear opportunity for pupils to explore Global Citizenship
  • to stimulate fundraising
  • to help towards the building of a cross-curricular culture with pupils benefitting from reinforcement of themes an ideas across many depts.
  • to provide another vehicle through which teachers and departments may ensure that learning and teaching covers the 4 competences of CfE
  • to provide enjoyment for staff and pupils, and a sense of satisfaction that their work has a clear and concrete link to helping others.

PLAN

The plan for the India Week project was as follows:

  • Initial Publicity (7th Feb) - All staff receive e-mail informing them of India Week and its dates. Suggestions are given as to how staff may choose to incorporate links with India and / or the Partnership into their lessons.
  • Reminder (21st Feb) - Reminder of the above, but with some information on suggestions from other members of staff / departments on how they intend to mark the event.
  • Mention in Weekly Bulletin (w b 26th Feb) - Headteacher's bulletin asks departments. to inform J. Hughes of ideas.
  • Week itself (5- 9 March) - J. Hughes to attend and address year group assemblies to inform pupils; also to wear typical Indian dress throughout the week. All assemblies open with display of "Namaskara" slide on screen. Departments to carry out tasks as agreed.
  • Rich Man, Poor Man Lunch (8th March) - Both lunches offered to have Indian theme.
  • Evaluation (w b 19th March) - J. Hughes to review pupil/staff reaction to event.

THE WEEK ITSELF

The week itself saw a large number of departments and individual staff play a very active part.

  • The school chaplain, Fr. McMahon, highlighted the event at each assembly that week
  • The school librarian, Mrs. Martin, put together a display of books with Indian themes, and included a number of books on disability issues to highlight the work done by APD
  • The Modern Languages Department taught pupils basic conversational phrases in Kannada, the local language for Karnataka
  • The PE Department used core PE classes to allow pupils to participate in cricket and hockey; both very popular sports in India and particularly in the South of the country
  • The Maths Department taught pupils how to use Vedic Maths - a traditional Indian form of calculation
  • In ICT and Business Education, pupils were learning about word processing using letters with a Project Partnership theme. Administration and Business Management classes continue to raise issues of Trade Justice and ethical trading
  • Pupils in the Language and Communication Unit are writing to pupils at our Partnership school to discuss experiences of disability in the two cultures
  • The Physics Department have developed a PowerPoint unit looking at India as a case study in the area of renewable fuels and fuel economy
  • Biology are exploring the possibility of using footage from the 2006 visit to India in the teaching of Genetics and the impact of clean water supply
  • In RE pupils used India as a case study in the study of racism. They also explored the impact of Trade law. Other classes studied aspects of Hinduism.
  • The English Department. covered literature from Indian writers. In addition to this, many members of the department dressed in traditional Indian dress and allowed pupils to do the same. They also distributed Indian sweets.
  • Ms. Connor in the Geography Dept. invited J. Hughes to come in with her S2 class to discuss video footage of the 2006 visit with regards to the differences between urban life and rural life and the effects of urbanisation  and industrialization in Bangalore
  • P. Creaney's S1 History class used one of the computer suites to research India.
  • The Art & Design Department. were rather heavily involved in two other projects at the time, and so were unable to play as big a part as they would have liked. However, they have undertaken to play a bigger part in future awareness raising
  • The Rich Man Poor Man Lunch sold almost 200 tickets, with 20% receiving a "Rich" Indian lunch, and 80% receiving boiled rice and water. This represents a significant proportion of the school community taking part

EVALUATION

It is certainly fair to say that India Week had quite an impact. By the end of the first day, pupils were wishing each other "Namaskara" rather than hello. Although it was probably initially true to say that pupils (and staff!) were more interested in the novelty value of seeing teachers in Indian dress, it would seem to be fair to say that the other curricular input was very well received. Also, staff who took part and either developed materials or gave current materials an Indian slant reported that both they and their pupils enjoyed it, and that the partnership gave the learning and teaching more relevance and more immediacy.

It was also heartening to see that some pupils were really motivated by the focus. Of particular note was the group of S4 boys who have become involved in our own "horticultural" project of planting & growing plants for the plant sale. They have already earned enough to recoup their own costs; to set up a fund to continue their enterprise; have already given over £40 to the fund and have undertaken to donate all future profits.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

We would hope to repeat the idea of India Week in future years. The benefits to our school are very much in keeping with our notion of partnership. However, I would hope that this could lead to reassuring teachers that the inclusion of relevant items in their departmental is not a difficult task, and that the Indian elements can be recognised by our pupils throughout their subjects, throughout the year.

It is also clear that the Indian Partnership can provide excellent opportunities for cross-curricular links, and could be an excellent vehicle to allow us to progress in Curriculum for Excellence, Enterprise Education and International Education. It should be in these areas that future efforts are concentrated.

The main focus for the remainder of this session will be preparation for the visit in June 2010 when 2 members of our staff and 2 pupils will join with the other Scottish partners in our 4th visit to work with our partners at APD in Bangalore. As you will appreciate, this can be a very demanding visit, albeit very rewarding, and it takes a lot of preparation on the part of the participants. We are very proud of the achievements and hard work of our groups: they are an excellent way to help our pupils to fully understand the value of being a successful learner in understanding and relating the many issues involved; a confident individual in acting upon your knowledge and views, and in sharing these with others; an effective contributor in designing and enacting strategies to address the issues and, of course, a responsible citizen in recognizing your power to be an agent for change in a world that can only benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of our young people.

 

 

APD SCOTTISH SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP

As part of our aim to continue to strengthen our links with APD in Bangalore, and also with our Scottish partner schools, we decided to have "PARTNERSHIP DAY": a day set aside to remember, to contact and to pray for one another. In searching for a suitable date for this, we landed upon the fact that December 3rd is World Disability Day. Given the work that APD do, and that we support, this seemed a fitting date.

So, December 3rd would be Partnership Day.

The next question was, then - how do we mark it? The India Group and the Justice and Peace Group discussed this, and came up with the following ideas:

  • special prayers for use in class/assembly that day;
  • the creation of cards/e-messages to send to Bangalore / Scottish Partner Schools;
  • pupils to "have a disability" for the day to raise awareness of problems encountered by the disabled;
  • classroom tasks/lessons to tie in with the theme.

Pupils have seen at assemblies just how their support is changing lives in Bangalore: We like to build on that momentum with Partnership Day.

 

 

 

BIOLOGY/SCIENCE/ENTERPRISE EDUCATION

The Science departments have decided to set up a horticultural group to operate as an enterprise group to raise money for the Indian Partnership and to better engage S4 Science pupils in elements of their course.

Pupils, under the guidance of Mr. McPhee, will grow a range of plants (flowers and vegetables) in the greenhouse which can then be sold to staff at the Justice and Peace Coffee Mornings. Where practical, these will mirror some of the plants grown at the horticultural project of our partners at APD Bangalore. Mrs Hughes will gather relevant information on this.

They will also grow plants suitable for use in tubs and hanging baskets. These can be supplied to order by staff and parents.

Pupils will cost the project and work out prices accordingly.

Pupils will collect orders from staff

 

 

 

ONE PUPIL’S ACCOUNT – GEMMA WELSH – S6

The time I spent with APD in India was the most amazing experience of my life. It all started when I heard about the school’s partnership with The Association of People With Disabilities. The R.E department had always kept us informed about how the money the school raised was spent with APD but the chance to go out there and see it was unbelievable! After writing a letter to Mrs Hughes confirming my interest in the proposed trip it wasn’t long before the selection process began. I attended three selection weekends where pupils from 6 different schools took part in group activities. These were great for me as they helped me learn how to work as part of a team. We also took part in activities such as floor debates which encouraged more individual input.

Following an interview I was selected to travel to Bangalore . I was ecstatic! Being chosen after the selection weekends and interview gave me a huge confidence boost, which I was grateful for when we began to hold events to raise money for our trip. We held an entertainment evening where Aillie and I gave a presentation to a packed theatre–scary but definitely worthwhile! My confidence grew again and I felt as if I could take on the world!

My time in India was an invaluable experience. I learned so much about myself and matured a great deal. Experience of a completely different culture and way of life helped me to see the bigger picture, there’s a whole other world out there which many people will never experience.

I feel that after visiting APD in India I’ve grown so much as a person, I’ve matured greatly and the experiences I’ve taken from the trip, the selection weekends and even fundraising events have made me a much more confident, mature person and I feel more aware and engaged in the world around me.

After witnessing what APD have achieved in India and even what Aillie and I achieved through the selection process, fundraising and engaging in Indian life, I believe that everyone has the power to change the world.