Statistics and You: European Quality Schools

Juan Luis Salguero Rodríguez, from I.E.S. “Campos de San Roque”, who was awarded the European Quality label for a math project, conducted in English, explains;

The project:“ Statistics and you “ involved three schools: Gimnazjum im. Jana Pawła II w Krempachach, Poland, Scuola Media Statale „L.Sinisgalli” Potenza, Italy and IES “Campos de San Roque, Spain.

quality statisticsThe aim of the project was to use Maths in everyday activities and to improve the level of students’ English competence. Furthermore, for enhancing students’ media competence and better knowledge of culture in other countries in the EU.

Pupils from each partner school was to collect data about themselves, and other students like themselves. Hereafter, they collated it in simple statistic surveys. This, was then exchanged with their partner schools and evaluated. This way, we could apply mathematics to the everyday life of the students, their surroundings and family background, hereby developing a better understanding of each other. English language was to be used to develop the project, and learning about the use of this language, as a means of communication.

The project was divided in three steps:

First step was for the students to elaborate the questionnaires that they wanted to administer at a selected sample of students. Secondly, the statistical data, based on answers of 50 students in each country, was analyzed and interpreted. But it was also printed for presentations, by all of the schools. Third; on the 27th March we made a short movie called “One day of my life”. Time of each scene was proportional to time in a real life: 12 seconds = 1 hour. Allowing us to show and to compare a timetable of the student’s day in each country.

All the results were shown to the rest of the students, parents and other teachers during public presentations which took place in Poland and Spain on 29th April, and in Italy one week later.

European Quality Award, Continued

Click here for part 1 of this article.

eu quality awardMarián Reguera González and her students from IES Valle de Piélagos who has received the European Quality Award for the project:  “So different, so similar”.

Aiming to motivate the students, by getting in touch with other teenagers in Europe.  Beginning with students from Spain, Poland and Greece, and later incorporating students from Germany and Italy.

First step was to exchange some familiar information on-line: Individual presentations, environment, national highlights etc. After the first year it was time to do further work together, so we developed a the title of the project by producing a questionnaire covering different areas of the life of a teenager today. So at this point  to improve the quality we added the two final partners; Germany and Italy.

Using the computer lab once a week we produced Power Point presentations of results and the students sent their work to the teacher to upload. The graphics was produces with the use of MS Excel and Power Point. At the moment we are working on a video to be uploaded to TwinSpace, where the students have and interactive forum and can comment on posts etc. Knowing about other students and their life has been one of the benefits and having new friends, in other European countries.

Using a foreign language in the project has been the most innovative aspect of the project. It has been a 17-month project with excellent results, both for our students and the teachers involved in it. Students now feel how they are taking part in shaping a common European citizenship.

They have been learning a lot while using one of their favorite learning tools; the computer.

Boarding Schools and Parents

Here is an article regarding Boarding Schools and the Parent – School relationship.

The boarding school doesn’t replace a parent.  The school is more like a sibling, or a mentor.  Partnering with parent, the school reinforces the parent’s voice. On the other hand, the boarding school can relieve the parent from having to constantly “enforce the rules.”  This may enable the parent to relate from what both parent and student find a more pleasant position.

A single parent, in particular, may find boarding school a mutually attractive option. Yet, the single parent is often most concerned about the appearance of this suggestion.

How, the single parent worries, will child will see it? The parent doesn’t want to be seen as wanting the child “out of the way.”  Or as saying the child “interferes” with the parent’s job or social life.  The parent may even feel guilty. Not wanting to appear insensitive, to the single parent it can seem there is no appropriate way improve the child’s educational opportunities. The child’s counselors and boarding school itself can help work though this issue. Often the parent is far more concerned than the child is about such appearances.

Where the child lacks a male role  model, boarding schools may enable the student to choose from a wide range of them.

Likewise parents enrolling a child into a specialty boarding school often times feel bad sometimes feeling that they had failed their child as a parent, ironically almost universally the opposite is true these parents are so dedicated to their child’s sucess that they are willing to spend Harvard tuition rates to give their child the professional assistance that they need. Some specialty boarding schools have excellent motivational and awareness coaches that conduct workshops and educational seminars for the parents of these once struggling teens the parents are not spectators in their childs growth and development they act as active participants. As the child progresses they parent (s) and child have opportunities to re-bond and oftentimes the student will thank their parents for holding them to higher standards and sacrificing much energy, financial resources, time for their behalf.

European Quality Award

Nuria Batlle Irigoyen from IES Montserrat:

eu quality award“What we could say is most innovative in this project is its structure and
the way the students have worked and have developed their creativity”.

In 2007 the students of Ulenhofcollege, in Doetinchem, Holland and the students of IES Montserrat, in Barcelona, Spain, exchanged features of personal life and cultural heritage. This to learn from one another by communicating about their respective cultures. Comparing Dutch and Spanish/Catalan culture through group work and discovering what they share and what they do differently.

In this, the first year, teachers contributed with typical traditions from their home countries.

In 2008 the Catalan and the Dutch students created imaginative stories and tales. They learned from each other by communicating and working in groups by doing shared tasks. And here they had the opportunity to discover what they agree on and what they do differently. Writing 22 very imaginative stories, ranging from science fiction, fantasy, love story, historical event to real horror and thrilling adventure. Each story is based on a common structure and has been developed differently according to the specific way that the participants have chosen to build it. The contents of the project in both 2007 and 2008 are different but the procedures and the general aims are the same. We wanted the students to be well informed about the objectives of the project, the tools to be used, the tasks and assignments to be carried out and the pattern and order they should follow. Enhancing their ability to work collaboratively in international groups. But also to be autonomous, creative and having fun.

Our aims also included the improvement of the students’ skills in reading and writing English. Promoting respect and consideration.

In the second year, the teachers added an illustrated story of their own, created beforehand. A work constantly progressing. Teachers continued to work on their story as did the students.

Click here for part 2 of this article.

825 Euros per Child: Returning to School Costs

school costsThe beginning of the new school term is a period which many parents in Spain both dread and look forward to. On one hand, they get their little ones out from under their feet and back into some kind of routine, but on the other hand, each year, the return to school implies a great expense for parents.

The study took into account data from both state and private schools. However, it does conclude that choosing between a private and a state school could mean a difference of about 200 euros per child.

Books have increased in price by three per cent and they vary depending on the different levels, e.g. 86 euros for infant school, 175 euros for primary, 199 euros for secondary and 260 euros in higher education. However, in Andalucia, books for many levels of education are completely free.

Other necessary items of school material like satchels, notebooks, pens, etc exceed 100 euros. Clothes and footwear also take up a great part of September’s expense, ranging from 135 euros to 330 euros in private schools. On top of all that, you have to take school lunches into consideration. Having your child stay at school for lunch could cost you approximately 109 euros per month extra. Transport, mainly by bus, also ranges between 70 and 100 euros per month, as the global increase in oil price has significantly affected these rates.

If your child goes to a private school, he or she will need 250 euros on average just for enrolment. If you choose a state or state-subsidised school, enrolment will cost you nothing.

Breaking this report down by regions, Madrid is by far the most expensive city for parents who have children in full-time education. The capital city is closely followed by Cataluña and Valencia, which both proved to be extremely expensive when compared to Galicia, Aragon and Castilla- La Mancha, the cheapest communities. But this difference is due to their different funding system, as these three communities (together with some others in Spain), issue free books during the whole school period. They have put into practice a borrowing system that is good not only for your pocket but for the environment. Other communities have chosen a ‘cheque book’ system or the granting of subsidies according to factors such as the size off the family and its gross income.

It comes as no surprise then, that the period when children go back to school is known in Spain as the ‘cuesta de septiembre’ or September slope. Some tips offered to make it a little easier to survive are as follows:
* Apart from the regional subsidies, apply for the state grants (becas) that the Ministry of Education awards every year to purchase books and school material.
* Avoid quick loans as they will only make your debt higher.
* Get information about the different activities that your council offers, in case you want your child to do any extra curricular activity instead of choosing private services.
* Diversify and stagger the purchases. Not everything is necessary from the very first day.
* Use the discounts that the law recognises for primary and secondary education books.
* Not buying popular brand name clothes could mean a 30 per cent saving.