The Yago School Department of Teaching Innovation began years ago in order to investigate which methodologies best fit our classrooms when carrying out curricular enrichment projects, complementing the rest of the content and learning strategies. After much consideration, teacher and professional consulting, school staff training, and the implementation of different methodologies, we have decided to to carry out learning experiences in two-week periods focused on the development of Project Based Learning (research), better known as PBL.
These globalized projects are different depending on the cycles and stages, allowing us to encompass other important methodological strategies, such as Multiple Intelligences, Thinking Skills, Problem Based Learning, Critical Thinking, Cooperative Learning, and Action Based Learning (Learning by Doing), and different types of assessment tools that allow us to get to know our students better and adapt to their ways of learning. We aim to achieve the most globalized, meaningful and cooperative teaching-learning processes as possible, based on student exploration and research.
After the first fantastic project experience during the 2018-2019 academic year, we decided to connect the projects to the different socio-cultural aspects that characterize major English-speaking countries (the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya) this year. Our students will learn interesting content about people, buildings, animals, gastronomy, scientists, sports, history, leisure, landscape, art, cities, and music typical of these countries, organized by themes according to the cycle or stage.
In this way, students in the First Cycle of Primary (P1 and P2) will develop their knowledge of different English-speaking countries through the topic “Homes”, including the buildings and structures, or architecture, of each country and, above all, what represents a home for different people. Students in the Second Cycle of Primary (P3 and P4) will focus their research on “Games & Sports”, discovering that not all countries practice the same sports, the origins and implications of such practices, and the social aspects of sport. Last but not least, students in the Third Cycle of Primary (P5 and P6) will face the most complex aspects of “Travel” through an adventurous trip around these countries, investigating different forms of communication and financial systems, as well as geography and culture, which will be essential to know in depth in order to finish the trip successfully.
Later on, in the second trimester, our Infant students will find out about the gastronomic culture of each English-speaking country, becoming familiar with the main foods from these places and their cultural implications.
We emphasize that the project activities are focused on student research guided by teachers to achieve more complex and global reflections, as the solutions are not always obvious. We work with high quality content in order to obtain the solutions to the hypotheses (meta-cognition), encouraging questions about topics such as the social meaning behind buildings, culture produced by sports, the reason for differences in the economic systems of countries that use the same language, etc.
With these special projects, our students will have acquired greater knowledge of English-speaking countries in all its elements after passing through all the cycles of the Infant and Primary stages. This dynamic is characteristic of an important idiosyncrasy of our School, giving special relevance to the knowledge of English culture and the acquisition of this universal language.