• Quite accidentally I opened my desktop at
etwinning and there was an invitation from
Alvaro about the possibility to join a ready-
made project. My first step was – consulting
Mara (the Head of our school); then there
were several phone calls to our local sports
centre, to our sports teachers, and I had the
green light to write to Spain. Why exactly did
our Spanish colleagues decided to choose us –
a small school in Latvia – we have to ask them.
Why did our school decide to
participate in such kind of
A dream of every
school and ours
• It has been a dream of our school to
participate in Comenius projects for a long
time. Twice we were quite close to doing
it, but either one country quitted the team or
• Whenever you start a new project or
activity, you have some doubts and
expectations. Expectations were the greatest –
active students, responsible teachers, new
experience connected with communication
with foreign colleagues. At the same time
these where the doubts: will the students
understand the importance of such
cooperation? Will our teachers be ready to
improve their knowledge of foreign
languages? How to involve parents and
representatives of local authorities in our
Impact at school: Has your school
changed in some way during the
Staff motivation, involvement,
language learning ,international
• One of the points – to involve as many of staff in the
activities as possible. Partly this goal has been
achieved through various tasks planned by the
project. And this could be a very successful way to
motivate colleagues to think over their possibilities
how they could do something for the project or raise
any idea. Thus I am grateful to some of my colleagues
who advised me to base the tasks as much as
possible on local facts, people, achievements. You
may see the examples of materials about our local
inhabitants who have taken part in paralympic
events, even in paralympic games; about the
previous athlete – Olympic medallist who works with
the students in our village; our colleague who started
teaching in the school only in September, but who is
an active Paralympic triathlon athlete.
Syllabus and regular learning program.
Does it suffer some modification or
adaptation? Should it?
• One of the aims of this project – language
improvement. We – the teachers of English- managed
to join several tasks that were asked to do for the
project with our regular program. F.ex., translating
games; organising some activities in English
(interviews, discussions, presentations). Some tasks
were done together with the teachers of Latvian and
also Russian, the tasks where students had to prepare
interviews, strategies for the interviews, especially in
smaller classes. If such merging is possible, then the
involvement of students in the project work is almost
• Modification of syllabus was not felt, because our
students are supposed to know how to present
themselves, how to introduce rules of sport
games, how to give instructions etc. Why not to do it
on the bases of any project tasks?
Real benefits at school. Does
Comenius(in general) provides some
specific benefit for the students or
• It is difficult to point out some specific benefits. If
the work of the project is organised on a high
level, any project may meet the needs of a school
and community, so there can be benefits. Taking
our project. Students had the possibility to visit
other countries and to gain various information
from peers not under the guidance of teachers.
They could feel free in expressing themselves, in
finding out issues essential for them. Working on
project tasks, they were allowed to improvise while
making videos, while organising activities. And we-
teachers felt that it improved their self
confidence, their self-esteem. And these qualities
have to be improved in such small schools and
communities as ours.
Does the Comenius Projects impact or
get the students involved?
• I have already answered this question.
Probably, the beginning of the project was not
quite satisfactory, because we-teachers
wanted to do everything. Fortunately, we have
an excellent Head teacher who managed to
direct our cooperative work properly.
It is easy or difficult to get the
community involvement. Did you get
it? How to get it for a beginner?
• The first year of the Project was rather
complicated, because it was not clear for us how to
involve parents, how to get a closer cooperation
with local authorities. The second year proved that
many things could be done easier if only we ask for
help. F.ex., cooperation with other enterprises of
our community was organised by PR people.
Parents Board helped with some activities that were
organised together with local organisations. That
was partly because these people have children who
are mainly our students.
What kind of products or outcomes
are more profitable?
• We tried to take videos and photos of every
activity we did. That can be useful only with some
explanatory notes. At first we had two separate
documentations: a description in a word format
and a video of the activity or photo collection. But
later we came to the conclusion that the
information, f.ex., about a game can be filmed and
the rules can be added as a comment. It doesn’t
exclude a PDF or Word document. The final result
can be used in any format that turns out to be
How to bring the project work to the
class and not just to the visits.
• I have already mentioned how teachers of
languages have introduced the tasks in the class
work. Besides, the material what our partners gave
us at every meeting was shown at the English
lessons; the teachers were acquainted with the
booklets, brochures, f.ex., teachers of history, of
geography. Sport teachers were given the material
about different games. Students prepared and
presented the games at sport lessons and other
Is it finally worth it?
• Of course, every day of this project was worth
it. We are glad that the coordinators have
been strict in their demands to do all the
tasks. But what I enjoyed most was the way
how each of the delegations had understood
the home tasks. The approach was different
but the result – the task done according to the
demands. In this way everyone got an
Recommendations for a first project
school. How to be successful?
• I would recommend to be active in the project
work, to follow the tasks, do everything
properly and in due time, learn from your
colleagues. I would recommend to organise a
strong project group that includes a certain
amount of teachers and students.
What should a first project school
• Coordinators at schools – trust your
• I am sure that I did almost half of the
organisation work. And this is my serious
drawback. Coordinators at schools – trust your
team. They are able to fulfil the tasks and
produce the final result.
Why would you recommend joining
this kind of projects?
• I think that now having heard my thoughts
about our work in the project, there are no
doubts that Comenius projects are important
in any school’s social life.