Home Opening Doors Augsburg Mounts Bay Bourges Helsingoer Murcia

The Mounts Bay, Cornwall Report
Monday, 31st March:

The 'Grand opening' of the Comenius project at Mounts Bay Academy (MBA) in Cornwall

took the teachers to the back entrance of the school. We were not to see what has been prepared in the reception. In the school yard, some younger children were playing with yoyos or spinning tops trying to see whose tops would spin for longer while others were trying to make hoops go around by hitting them with sticks.

Learning in the 1900’s
A School playground set in the Victorian era with headmaster “Mr. Chips” calling out the pupils while pointing at them with his cane. The pupils lined up in the school yard before being called into class. Maths in the first lesson with headmaster Mr. Chips learning the 7 times table by heart. Anyone who didn’t behave was sent to the corner with a dunce hat. Mr. Chips was very strict and ended up punishing one of the pupils by apparently hitting him on the hands with his cane.

Learning in the 60's.
Through an introduction of pictures and words on the overhead projector we are then taken into the 60’s way of teaching. The class was German, and after a short presentation of vocabulary, a quick competition started - with a chocolate Easter bunny prize for the first student to finish.  

Learning today -  introduction to iPads
An important part of this visit to Cornwall was that the pupils from the different countries borrowed an IPad from the school to use during the time of the visit. Each student at MBA has their own as a vital part of their learning.

(climbing or Taiko drumming - lesson 1)
For this first lesson the pupils were not given any directions, either on paper or electronically. They were told to climb a wall or play a certain type of drum and that was all. With their iPads they learned how to search their way to the answers of how to tie certain knots, hold drumsticks etc. This was an example of enquiry-based learning.

Lesson 2: Science
For this lesson the guests at MBA joinednclasses of year 11

Teachers’ meeting
Meanwhile the teachers met up for, of course coffee and tea, but also to get ideas on the table of how we learned in the past, how we learn today - and most importantly, how we will learn in the future

We watched an clip created by an American university student who left university because of the way he was taught. He then wrote an open letter to the teachers telling them, that the way we study today is very institutionalised and not coherent to the way we will work and cooperate (in the future). Today’s methods are no longer working and we have to rethink it

After watching this, we discussed how we are teaching in each of our own countries and then brainstorm different ways to do this in the future.

Tour of the school

Lesson 3: Students and teachers

For this lesson students and teachers were set to harvest their knowledge of learning today and in the future.

Principal Sara Davey asks questions and starts waves of ideas amongst the pupils. Knowledge Harvest Learning today and learning in the future.

This first evening took place at the Limetree cafe and sculpture park. Each country had brought their own specialties to the table for a European buffet. Apart from tasting a bit of Europe we also had to draw pictures of learning in the future. The minutes we had quickly ran out and the drawings were collected again before we had time to think about what you had drawn.

Tuesday, 1st April:

We started the day with an assembly in the big hall with all Comenius guests and all year 11 students of MBA. Stories were told through music and short films and also by different teachers. We saw a short film about drawing a butterfly which told us how we can help perform better by giving and receiving feedback.
Students then went out in their teams to compile the news of the week while the teachers had yet another meeting this time discussing the Comenius film, how to evaluate the whole project, to talk about MBA and lots more.

The rest of the school day and afternoon we spent at the Minack theatre, an open air amphitheatre built into the cliffs, Porthcurno village and the Merry Maidens stone circle. We heard stories from the war and the pupils had a chance to get some takes for their news report.

Evening at Acorn theatre
Two students from MBA had set up an evening full of music and activities for the Comenius guests in the old theatre. Different students from MBA played and sang fantastic songs and quizzes gave a good break in the program. The parents of the Comenius hosts had prepared a big buffet of food in between. Finally, the winners of the quizzes were announced and the evening had come to its end.

Wednesday, 2nd April:

Using the drawings we made at the Limetree, on this morning we had to test the methods of feedback from the butterfly video. Each person gave feed feedback on another person’s drawing and we then had to redraw our imaginative 'learning in the future'.
After this,of course, a group pictures was needed. For the photo everyone wore their new Comenius t-shirts in their different group colours.

Meanwhile the teachers met up once again for a final meeting regarding, amongst others, the final report, information on MBA and wrapping up the whole Comenius project.

Eden Project
In Cornwall there is one of the Millennium projects which is called the Eden Project. We went there to see the fantastic big domes with different tropical and subtropical climates. The students had time and a perfect location to get some filming done for their news reports about learning in the future.

After the Eden Project we drove off to see the beautiful scenery of the old harbour village, Charlestown. We walked to the tip of the harbour looking far out over the see while men were working on the storm damage in the harbour. This was also a place for the students to get some takes on the news report.

Surfing at Sennen Surf Centre
40 students and teachers took part in the activities and tried their luck on the surfboards. Before giving it a try they were introduced to the art of surfing by a team of very enthusiastic surfing teachers in a 30 minutes workshop. Even bloody beginners were motivated to get their things together and try to get carried away on the ice-cold waves.

Thursday, 3rd April:

Lesson 1: third and last chance to give 'butterfly feedback' and work on the drawings for this afternoon’s exhibition at MBA. The students are given paint and had to add colour to the pencil drawing. All three drawings would be exhibited to show the process of the drawings through the method in the butterfly video. This method could easily be adapted to other areas of the school subjects, projects, activities etc. to give the students a better option to improve their work. Often, once the work is done, the students forget about what they did and never have a chance to improve it and sometimes students choose not to give a project their best, because they won't be needing it again and they then lack an important part of their learning.

Meanwhile the teachers met up once again for a final meeting regarding, amongst others, the final report, information on MBA and wrapping up the whole Comenius project.

A few teachers went to see a 'Workbox' and the 6th form college.
On a guided tour through the college the teachers were informed that the Truro and Penwith College was the first Further Education College in the UK to be awarded “Designated Outstanding Status” by Ofsted. It is the aim of the college “to work with every student to help achieve the best possible results, providing the best possible learning experience leading to the highest possible level of achievement.”

The Workbox, Penzance’s dedicated workhub, has helped launch 25 new businesses and created 30 jobs. The Workbox is not only offering workspace but fantastic meeting rooms, but also the best video conferencing facility in west Cornwall.

The workbox is run on a membership basis, like a gym. Members can choose from three packages tailored to the level of use they require, and rates start from 50 pounds a month.

For the rest of the morning, the students tried out their skills in Geocaching and started preparing the exhibition for the afternoon. Films on news report had to be finished, the drawings and picture were nicely laid out to show the three stages of the butterfly method. The teachers helped out and finally the exhibition could start. The films on 'learning inside, learning outside - which one is better?' were shown on the big screen in the main hall and the students cheered them on, laughing and clapping after each one.

Finally we all went to St. Ives to see the beautiful beaches, eat fantastic pasties (or whatever was left of it after the seagulls had had their turn) and enjoy the cosy streets of the town.

At their host homes, students from France, Germany, Spain and Denmark had to pack up their stuff for the last time in this Comenius project before heading home. Hopefully lifelong friendships have been made on these visits to the 5 countries.

Comenius project Opening Doors
For complaints, questions, comments regarding the Comenius project contact: udolegner@gmx.de ,
regarding this site contact: richard@richardhwinter.de