Initial Comenius Project

 

I.E.S DOÑA JIMENA (GIJÓN) - SECONDARY SCHOOL

School Descripcion

This is a comprehensive secondary school in the centre of Gijón, which is the biggest town in the region of Asturias; in this academic year it has 646 pupils from 12-18 years old in the next groups and levels: 

SECONDARY EDUCATION 

LEVEL GROUPS STUDENTS
5 121
5 119
4 92
5 111
TOTAL 19 443

  BACCALAUREAT (HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION OR UPPER SECONDARY EDUCATION) 

Natural Sciences 

LEVEL GROUPS STUDENTS
2 47
2 44
TOTAL 19 91

 Humanity Sciences 

LEVEL GROUPS STUDENTS
2 61
2 51
TOTAL 19 112

               The staff includes 95 teachers and 15 other employees. The school has developed a Tutorial Plan a cope with low academic performance in the first part of secondary school and has improved the transitional period through an innovative Centre Project. There is another special programme for students, 15 and over to give them the chance of having the Secondary Education Certificate. In both programmes, the curriculum has been modified; students have especial tutors for the most difficult subjects, but belong to a normal group for their other subjects. The school also has “Distance Learning” for adults (with 530 students in this academic year), who want to gain the Baccalaureat Certificate. They have their own tutors, attend tutorials and take own exams.    

           The school has already taken part in other Comenius activities and European exchanges.

 COMENIUS PROJECT WORK TEAM
The following teachers will participate in this new Comenius Project:·                   

Julio César Martínez Redondo – Head of English Department·                   

Belén Bastián Rodríguez – English Teacher·                   

Dolores Argüelles Iglesias - English Teacher·                   

Mª Angeles González Bango - English Teacher ·                   

Susana Fernández Fernández - Mathematics Teacher·                   

Pedro López Pueyo – History and Geography Teacher – Webmaster

Luis Carlos Villanueva Yenes - Natural Sciences Teacher – Head of Studies – Coordinator of Project     

Adress: I.E.S. Doña Jimena - Gijón   Avda. Constitución, 55   Gijón  33208      Phone:  +34985386814  // Fax: +34985160565      jimena@educastur.princast.es      http://www.jimena.com  

 English as an important subject in the curriculum for E.S.O. and Bachillerato at Doña Jimena High School         

The study of foreign languages is included throughout E.S.O. and Bachillerato. The fact is justified, from an academic point of view, because of its contribution to the intellectual formation and to the moral, personal and social consolidation of pupils, both boys and girls.            

English is nowadays and has been for many years the only language studied by pupils at this High School as the first language. Some time ago French was also a first language, but as time went by and as a consequence of the lack of pupils, French became only a second language in the curriculum of our High School.            

Other second languages studied at the moment are Italian and German. We have to remember here that the study of a second language is compulsory in the curriculum of the first two years in E.S.O.,  whereas it becomes an option in  the last two years in E.S.O. and in Bachillerato.            

The teaching of English will have as its main objective the development in all the pupils, when they finish Bachillerato, of the following abilities: 

a)       Valuuing the  foreign language as a vehicle of communication and understanding in a multicultural world and as a necessary tool of work in their academic and professional future.

b)       Using strategies designed to facilitate and to improve the output and the understanding of oral and written texts. c)       Getting to know the most important social and cultural characteristics of the different areas in which the speakers of the foreign language live, in order to improve the understanding of their own language and their own culture.

d)       Understanding and interpreting critically all the information of oral texts from the media and of written texts with different communicative intentions.

e)       Communicating correctly and accurately in both written and oral texts, using the most suitable devices to guarantee a fluent communication.

f)         Using the dictionary and other devices and sources of information suitable to enable a satisfactory learning of the language.

g)       Reading texts about topics of general or specific interest and catching their implicit information and intention, as well as the relationship of the different parts within the text.

SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT:

Bilingual Teaching Programme  

 

Language knowledge has become one of the most important keys in order to get personal and professional success in the future. Most of our students will be faced with the necessity of mastering a language different from their mother tongue. Secondary education will, therefore, have to offer them the means to improve their language competence. Being certain about this, our institution sees in this Comenius project a wonderful opportunity to study and work on the possibility of a bilingual programme that could be gradually implemented in our school in the next two years. We also count on the support of our regional educational authorities. They have strongly recommended us to go on with this initiative.     

Giving students the chance of learning some of the subjects in the curricula through a vehicular language will undoubtedly: 

 - improve their communicative competence ;

 - help them to be aware of the value of language learning in different context from that of the language class;

 - make them think of a  foreign language as  a means, not  a target;

 - benefit from the advantages of  working general subjects such as Natural Science or Maths through English, French … 

On top of that, this project will also be a stimulus for us teacher to: 

  • develop strategies and methodologies in language learning and teaching;
  • renovate our curricula sharing good practices;
  • produce educational materials;
  • improve our language competence.

All things considered, we have decided to design a 3-year programme whose main aim would be to implement the bilingual teaching in our school. It would involve some of our 1st E.S.O. students, who would voluntarily agree to enter the programme.            

In the first year, students of 1º E.S.O. would be involved in a survey to make them conscious of the level of communicative competence they should reach and find out how many would be interested in entering the programme. This would enable us to select a group of them who could hopefully succeed in getting most out of it.            

On the other hand, the teachers involved would get in touch with other secondary schools in which a similar project is being developed at the moment. We would gather as much information as possible about different aspects of this experience.           

In the second year, we would focus on the production of teaching materials available for every day use for those subjects intended to be taught through English. A perfect coordination between the English Department and the other teachers will be essential.            

Finally, in the third year, we would continue with the activities of the previous year, but on the basis of the Comenius project, with a special emphasis on evaluation and dissemination of results. Needless to say the importance of sharing all these activities and the conclusions reached thereafter with our Comenius partners, whose contribution would be mostly appreciated and welcomed. It certainly will enrich the whole experience and final work.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXCHANGES

AS AN EXTRA ACTIVITY:

 In order to complete the information about our school activities in the field of communications with other schools located in foreign countries, we must refer to, on one hand, the exchanges that our Foreign Language Department organized through the time and, on the other hand, to the individual activities of our staff.  First of all, the school organized over time several exchanges with a New York school that stopped because of the high cost both in money and human resources. With time, the increase of the standard level in our country and the new low-cost flies put within reach of a lot of families the cost of such a trip, and finally, the past year our English Department restarted this activity with an exchange with the Nichols School of Buffalo, that was so successful that they continue with a new exchange project in the current year. The new project involves also new Departments of our school like those of History, Mathematics or Spanish Language. We also exchange with a French school every year, but the number of students that take French courses is a true minority in our school.Secondly, a lot of different language courses have been taken by an important part of the teachers of our school, and English language is one of the most requested.And it is in this atmosphere that this new Comenius project starts for us, with teachers of several subjects involved in it, and a general agreement on the interest to incorporate English progressively as a new vehicular language in our syllabuses. This is the reason why one of our main aims for this Comenius project is to make the first moves to set up a Bilingual Section (branch?) in our school.