Wednesday, 27 December 2017

7th Transnational Project Meeting, 6th Joint Staff Training Event and 4th Pupils' Exchange

The third and final project year started with new experiences, challenges and adventures for our international Erasmus+ Metaminds family in Portugal where 18 pupils and 24 teachers from partner schools gathered on 9 - 15 October for 7th Transnational Project Meeting, 6th Joint Staff Training Event and 4th Pupils' Exchange.
The meeting was hosted by Agrupamento de Escolas No 1 de Serpa, which is the central school of the school group, located in Serpa, a city in the central Portuguese region Alentejo, 220 km from Lisbon and 30 km from the border with Spain.
On Tuesday, the meeting began with a warm concert of Portuguese students, who, together with their teacher, sang and played not only traditional local songs and tunes, but also surprised the guests, performing typical musical pieces of their home countries. Then, the senior students took the visitors, divided in teams, on a tour around their school, which functions in two buildings situated in the same campus.
Soon, after the acquaintance with the school premises, staff and pupils, followed the conference, during which the TEIP Plan at Serpa School Group No 1 was introduced by Lucrécia Fernandez. It was a useful sharing of experience and measures, taken to improve pupils' performance, prevent early school leaving and deal with the problems, faced by Portuguese educators at present.
Later, while the project committee were having their first work planning session, and the pupils, together with their buddies, were having classes, Cândida Santos, a Portuguese teacher, presented a fun way for visiting teachers to relax and cope with stress - laughter yoga. The entertaining event was appreciated and enjoyed by all.
In the afternoon, all project participants, together with the hosts, attended a reception at Serpa Municipality and were welcomed by the town authorities as well as traditional local singers. Then, everyone was invited on a guided walking tour around the town and admired fantastic views from the top of Serpa castle.
In the evening, teachers were introduced to rich Portuguese culinary heritage. The region of Alentejo is known as the country's gastronomic soul and it also produces almost half of Portugal's wine. So, educational wine tasting event with a professional wine expert Joao Pereira Santos was another experience not to miss!
Next day, visiting pupils and their buddies were involved in art, music and dance workshops. Meanwhile, teachers were engaged in a conference, during which the pupils’ protocol – fundamental skill to learning to learn - was presented by Claudia Sabatano. 
In the afternoon, after a few job shadowing sessions,  a public presentation of the teachers' protocol was organised. 
To relax and to reflect on an eventful day, evening in Quinta do Quetzal winery was a perfect choice as we had an opportunity to see beautiful vineyards, to take part in a wine tasting combined with typical  Alentejo wine snacks and to visit an impressive contemporary art centre.
Thursday was dedicated to exploring Évora, one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns with its unique historic centre - UNESCO world heritage, Roman ruins - Temple of Diana, and the Macabre Chapel of Bones. We also visited Monsaraz, a nice walled town on top of a hill overlooking the Alqueva Dam waters.
On Friday, while the Committee were planning the remaining tasks of the project, visiting teachers and pupils paid a visit to the Vocational School of Rural Development of Serpa. Later, the visiting pupils showed what they had learnt during the week: pupils' performance included dancing, singing and acting. The meeting ended with Claudia Sabatano's insightful conference on conflicts and metacognitive strategies to cope with them.
Finally, on Saturday, it was time to bid farewell to hospitable hosts of Serpa and, before going home, to visit the capital of Portugal - Lisbon. It was great fun to admire historical neighbourhoods Alfama and Mouraria comfortably going up and down the 7 hills of Lisbon on board of a Tuk Tuk!
Overall, it was another fantastic meeting of great educational value. Moreover, the visitors from England, Denmark and Lithuania were able to enjoy a week of delightful summer sunshine, having left dull autumn weather back home. All the teams are grateful to the Portuguese partners and especially to João Pereira Santos for this amazing experience!

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