Ornella Valentinuz | South America

Innovation

Our students live in a small town called "Colonia Avellaneda" near Parana, (the capital city of Entre Rios) Argentina. It is not easy for them to have contact or see people from other countries because not all of them have Internet conection or the opportunity to visit Parana, the capital city. For this reason, I came up with the idea of inviting students from other countries to visit our school.

Gisela, my colleague and me made contact with an association called AFS which receives students from different countries in Parana, to visit our school one day.

This year, in June, six students from United States, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Sweden visited our school in Colonia Avellaneda. They spent a day with our students. We created "The first intercultural sessions" in our state school ("Las primeras jornadas interculturales").

Impact

Our students, for the first time in their lives, had the opportunity to be in real contact with students from other countries and use english as the global language to communicate. Gisela, my colleague, and me designed different activities for that day. For instance, the visitors were invited to write on posters and taught useful expressions in their native language like "I love you" / "Hello" / "goodbye" / "see you soon"/ "Thank you" / "welcome" and then our students pronounced. Another activity was that our students prepared questions in English and they put their questions to the visitors. They also described Colonia Avellaneda using "The existential there and vocabulary about places" for example, there is one supermarket / there isn't a shopping. And the best part was when they could interchange topics about each culture and traditions, about the education system in each country. Of course, our role was as facilitator of the language and in some cases, visitors spoke in spanish so as to our students could understand.
To sum up, it was such an invaluable, relevant, practical and real experience for our students. They took a lot of photos and they were really happy!!. They understood the importance of the english language. How useful it is.
Last but not least, they not only grew in the language but also in developing tolerance, respect for other cultures and collaborative work. A great thanks for Gisela, Andrea, Ivana my coworkers! We did this because we are a team.

Ornella and her team created a cultural exchange to support their learners, who are based in a remote part of Argentina. The judges were impressed with their initiative and their way of bringing the real world into the classroom.

South America entry image