Candidate Personal Narrative
| HISTORY (10 points)|| TOP|
I have been teaching EFL in Brazil for thirty years, but have been a student
of foreign languages since I was born. Although my surname “Dieu” sounds
very French and "omnipotent", I am a local teacher and owe it
to my Belgian husband. I was born in Brazil of Polish parents, with whom
I regularly travelled. Thanks to this accidental combination and exposure,
I now speak four languages: Polish, Portuguese, English and French.
I started as a student- teacher while still preparing for the Cambridge Proficiency
Exam in 1973. At the Cultura
Inglesa, a language school associated to the British Council, I taught
teenagers, adults, businessmen, prepared students for the Proficiency
Exam and developed a conversation course for advanced levels. In 1981,
I went back to university to complement my studies. In 1983, I entered
Pasteur, the Franco-Brazilian school in São Paulo, where I have been
preparing secondary school students for both the French baccalaureat and
the national certificate.
During my teaching and learning experience, I have been in contact with and
trained in a wide variety of methods. I have been very fortunate to interact
in a multicultural milieu that has shaped my values and perspectives and
taught me a lot both personally and professionally. Therefore, when I
discovered that online shared learning gave me the opportunity to extend
this individual experience to my classrooms and open them to other communities
and cultures, I did not hesitate in taking it up.
I organized my first
project in 1997. My school was neither properly equipped nor connected
and I did not know much about computers either. The French program directives
our school follows had not yet implemented the use of current technologies
or the concept of collaborative learning. Workshops for teachers were
sporadic and costly as they involved disruption and displacement. Besides,
they generally focused on specific software and were mostly aimed at the
science department so they did not meet individual pedagogical needs.
I craved for more. The Internet provided me with tools, leading examples,
permanent access to topical information and contacts abroad. I knew educational
innovation was under way and that our kids could only benefit from it.
The support I received from the people I collaborated with, students’
reactions, and parents’ satisfaction at the outcome of USA
Connection Project stimulated me to blaze a trail in spite of lack
of structural and financial support. Management was indifferent and many
teachers were not prepared to abandon their routine. I missed interdisciplinary
work and responsibility sharing with colleagues, time to get together
and discuss, and more flexibility, which was very difficult within the
conservative system we are in. The network and contacts established through
international collaboration in these six years helped me partly overcome
this barrier and became my most invaluable allies in encouraging communication,
enabling classroom cooperation and promoting change.
Today, I represent This
is Our Time project, for which the Lycée Pasteur has become home base
both for French and Portuguese speaking countries. I am responsible for
organizing the Time
Classroom Twinning Activity for students and teachers around the world.
I participate actively in various professional development communities
online, discussion forums and lists through which I get informed of the
latest developments in my area, exchange information, share knowledge
and present projects through online chats. I also help colleagues in their
everyday practice at school and online. I have designed and maintain my
own website, and published articles about my experience with ICT.
In 2002, I gave a workshop on This is Our Time project for Language Teachers
in Bordeaux, France. In 2003, I was nominated for the Global Schoolnet
Award, which listed me among the 11
finalists . I was invited , the same year, to give a presentation
on international collaborative projects for Children's
Day in Brazil and Global
Learn Day VII. In February 2004, I gave a
chat on blogging for Evonline 2004 and am participating in a work
group whose aim is to form an online CoP to train and write materials
for Brazilian EFL state school teachers. Today, after looking back and
analysing what I have done, I feel I have come full circle. I am about
ready to venture once again outside my comfort zone and fly a new loop.
| PROJECTS (10 points):|| TOP|
Since 1997, I have contributed to, developed, jointly managed a number of projects
and collaborated with many different people and institutions around the world.
In the link below you will find all activities online I have engaged in until
Among the projects, six deserve particular attention: USA
Connection , Twinsite 2000 , The Copabacana Club (already
completed), This is Our Time, WKTO and Europe in Brazil (ongoing
or developing). A more detailed narrative/ outline can be found through the
links and under the collaboration rubric.
1997 – 1998 USA Connection
Narrative URL: http://www.members.tripod.com/the_english_dept/projects/files/usaconnection.html
This was the very first collaborative project I conducted online.
In 1997, it brought together seventy of our 8thgraders and students
from nine schools all over the United States. It aimed at making them discover
the American/Brazilian culture and way of life and these countries’ human and
natural environment through reading, writing, social studies, biology and technology.
The students learnt about young people their own age and discovered the similarities
and differences between themselves and their new friends, their living conditions,
the teaching they received. They used and practised English in a communicative
context through e-mailing. The second year, e-mailing continued with three schools:
Sycamore in Gridley, a rural area near Sacramento, CA
Valley High School, in Sanders, a Navajo reservation near Phoenix, AZ
Lowell, an urban school in San Francisco, CA
A two-week trip to the west coast of the USA took place in October
1998, involving 43
students and 4
teachers. During the trip, the students visited the places they had studied.
We exchanged presents with the teacher in Phoenix while in San Francisco we
and spent our day on Pier 39 and had diner at the Hard Rock Café with the
Gridley key pals and teacher. We also spent
a morning at Lowell, where the American pals hosted the Brazilians and took
them to class with them. The whole trip was documented live online through the
website created for this purpose.
Website URL: http://usaconnection.tripod.com/Project/Project.htm
1999-2000 – Twinsite 2000
Website URL: http://twinsite2000.tripod.com/index.htm
Narrative URL: http://www.members.tripod.com/the_english_dept/projects/files/intro.html
The aim of Twinsite2000 international competition was to team
up a teacher and group of students from a Dutch school with another group abroad,
agree on a topic and build a site following given criteria. The
team: three voluntary 12th graders and I joined Patrick Holmes
and his team from Lyceum Berlage. After three months of intensive communication
and collaboration (e-mail, MSN messenger and file exchange on server), we entered
the competition with the site: The
Time of Your Life, ranked among the first four.
2001-2003 The Copabacana Club
the Virtual Village in Ardèche is a dynamic online writing project created
by a team of educators including Christine Nucci, Benjamin Friess et Jérémy
Royannez from the CDDP de l'Ardèche and Philip Benz, English teacher at the
Lycée Astier in Aubenas, France.
In 2001, I discovered the village on a surfing trip and read
we could ask for a building permit in the town hall. In class I suggested the
idea to my 75 9thgraders, who fell in love with it and we started
working on this new project. By interacting online with the graphic department
responsible for the village in France, our students in Sao Paulo imagined and
created a whole new area: The Copabacana Club. In the first semester 2002, they
hosted the club and exchanged messages with participants from schools in France,
Martinique and the USA in the different forums they had helped to design. You
can see the results in the 2001/2002/2003 archives in sports,
park. They also participated in The
Copabacana Restaurant food quest designed to animate the restaurant. Later,
more classes joined the project and exchanged ideas with their peers about the
in the forums around the village.
1999-2004 This is Our Time
Time is an annual global school project managed by e-linQ
Educational Technologies and organized in cooperation with UNESCO
Associated Schools Project network and ten Time
home bases around the world.
Throughout the year, students and teachers worldwide work in
class on global citizenship, cultural diversity, environmental issues and aspects
of ‘time’. Participants have a wide range of structured lesson plans to choose
On Time Day, schools from all time zones and both hemispheres
get together for 24 hours in a virtual platform. There they race against time
in the Unite the Nations rally, communicate, search, create and divulge what
they have done, sharing invaluable cultural contributions and insights.
When we first participated in 1999, the discussions for Classroom
Twinning were so productive and the kids had so much fun in the Unite the Nations
game that I decided it to include Time in our everyday life.
Discussions on Time Day and classroom twinning forums are usually
based on UNESCO annual themes, so the outlines below show the progression I
established for my classes every year, the number of students, the aims, the
activities the classes participated in and the concrete results.
Towards a Society for All Ages (1999)
Connecting Through Peace (2000)
Dialogue Among Civilizations (2001)
Respecting Diversity (2002)
Intercultural Dialogue (2003)
As a result of our classes’ active collaboration and involvement,
the Lycée Pasteur was invited to become Time multilingual home
speaking countries), which I represent. In this role, I act as liaison between
headquarters and countries in these areas; invite, select and support schools;
organize activities, help teachers in the use of technology and am slowly translating
the educational material into French and Portuguese with my classes.
I am also responsible for the Twinning
Activity. Together with the other teachers involved, we are gradually incorporating
it into day-to-day teaching. We have virtual meetings at Tapped In, exchange
ideas and I post links and lesson plans in the collaborative community I opened
for this purpose at European Schoolnet.
TIME CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
Communities: Classroom Twinning and School Projects
2003 - 2004 WKTO Multilingual Electronic
WKTO, the electronic schoolbag, is a communication platform
installed on a server designed to support school activities. Bernard Garcin
and Mary Vernet from the Lycée l'Oiselet (Académie de Grenoble,
France) invited us to participate in project
E20. Using this platform, 30 of our 10th graders were paired to classes
of approximately the same number of students from Japan, Sweden, Romania, Spain,
Italy and France, accessed shared resources and worked together around a common
theme: Sustainable Development. The students wrote about themselves and their
way of life, exchanged information with students about
their cities and countries, through text and photos they took, digitalized
and uploaded; translated a questionnaire from English into their mother tongue
(at school, French and Portuguese); conducted a survey in their community; organized
and classified the resulting data.
2003 - 2004 Europe in Brazil
Classes involved from our school: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades
This project was presented to European Schoolnet at the occasion
in Europe 2003 event. We want to contact and work with secondary school
students around common themes. The project federates several sub-projects as
we collect information about the influence of Europe in Brazil and work with
different partners. The aim is to develop students awareness to their family
roots, identity and debate about what the European enlargement may represent
for them. The website is a gateway through which teachers from other countries
get in contact with us. It showcases all the material resulting from the students'
research, work and exchanges.
During the first semester 2003, the project was launched. A
class of 10th graders (30 students) took part in the Spring in Europe forums.
They introduced themselves and wrote to their European colleagues, contributing
with ideas and opinions about peace and human rights. 9th
graders (75 students) introduced themselves to other European classes, identified
their family origins and cultural background. They also researched the European
influence in the city of Sao Paulo, contributing with photos and information.
This year, our 12th graders (15 students) will interview local
representatives from Britain, Poland, France and Italy on issues concerning
the European enlargement. They will then discuss the issues raised with their
European counterparts in special forums hosted by European Schoolnet.
Garibaldi - Exchanges, Breaks and Continuities
In the second semester 2003, the English teacher from the Liceo
Clássico Garibaldi, an Italian school from Naples contacted us through
the Europe in Brazil website. After brainstorming for some time, we decided
to work on Giuseppe Garibaldi and his time.
20 Italian and 20 Brazilian high school students have started
interacting and introducing themselves in a common blog:
while teachers have outlined their ideas, plans and are keeping
a log of the development in a teacher's blog
More Italian schools have made contact and plans for this year
- interdisciplinary lesson plans between classes and collaborative
group work on the blog.
Envisaged themes: what makes a hero/a rebel (from different points
of view, how the same character is portrayed in history in Italy, France and
Brazil), English/American/Italian/French women during the Risorgimento, immigration
and cultural adaptation/influence.
- interview with immigrants from both countries and exchange
of material and questions through the blog.
- a trip (an Italian group of students is planning to visit
us next July)
- a common website where the exchanges, photos and different
phases of the project will be published.
USA Connection (1997- 1998)
E-mailing was the main technology used in this project. Through it,
we maintained contact and corresponded with the schools involved during
all the phases of the project. At Christmas time, we all experienced a
very special moment sending and receiving “culture boxes” (book about
the country for the school library, postcards, photographs, and little
gifts to respective e-pals).
project between Sycamore School in Gridley, CA and our school consisted
in each class writing stories that somehow involved their pals or their
countries. These stories were shared digitally by e-mail, published online
and later compiled to become part of each participating student's and
each school's libraries. The video project between the two classes was
also an exciting way to promote collaboration. Students were not only
involved in writing their own script based on a
common plan but also engaged in teamwork when producing the film.
They exchanged their creation with the American school by mail and the
teams from both countries compared their way of life and commented on
their similarities and differences.
A digital camera and cyber cafés along the way enabled us to document the trip
live online on the USA
Connection website so that Brazilian parents and American students
could daily follow our adventure and communicate with us during the trip.
Twinsite 2000 (1999-2000)
At the beginning, e-mailing was used for introductions and to report/sum
up the main points. ICQ and MSN messenger were used for brainstorming
and in the building phase when we exchanged ideas on how to put the material
together. After visiting an exhibition on the Dutch influence in Brazil,
my students collected data and material on the Internet, scanned pictures
from books and showed through a
timeline how Brazil and The Netherlands met in history. Following
instructions from experts, one of the students created the Flash flag
that illustrates the timeline. The Dutch team chose to represent every
day examples of how time can be fast
and slow. We also searched the net and books for quotations to illustrate
page and articles about time, which we read and discussed in class.
We used Dreamweaver and Front Page to build the site while Tripod server
hosted “ The Time of your Life”.
The Copabacana Club (2001 – 2003)
In 2001, my three classes of 9th graders mustered all their resources
in order to create the
Copabacana Club in Viva
Village. The void space, with all the possibilities open before us,
invited us to get out of the beaten track and leave the rigid limits of
tradition to embark on a virtual adventure. The English classroom became
a building site where students discussed their projects and decoration
As the graphic team was not on the spot, the students had to communicate their
ideas, describing exactly what they wanted either in the forums or through
“In the happening part of the Copabacana Club, we imagined 2 rooms: the
Hall and the Event room. In this last one, concerts, award parties,
plays, fashion shows and all kinds of parties could take place. The
walls in the room would be dark red and there would be a stage in the
front, with technical equipment on it. There would be many tables with
chairs around them facing it. And in the end of the room, there would
be a bar on the right side.
In the Hall, the walls would all be covered with play posters and top
There would also be boxes made of glass with awards and costumes from
parties like Carnival inside.
In the Happening part we could talk about fashion shows, award parties,
concerts, plays and parties.
We could ask these questions:
-Do you like going to plays?
-Have you ever attended a folkloric party in Brazil or in your country;
what was it like
-Have you ever been to a fashion show?
-Do you have a favourite top model?
-Do you often go to concerts?
-Have you ever been to an awards party? If you
have, what was it like?” (Mariel and Candice 9th grade)
The students also sent visual material they drew or collected on the web with
suggestions on how to decorate the forums. Every time a building or a
modification appeared on the screen, they observed and gave their comments:
"I think that in the Copabacana club park, there should be more
colours: trees with flowers of different colours like yellow, red, blue,
pink...You could also put different animals like birds, butterflies,
Brazilian panther (yellow with black spots)"(Stephanie).
This interaction made us taste the wealth and strength of the creative mind
and allowed students to exercise their communicative skills in a real
life situation. In the forums, I have inserted custom-made activities
to provide students with the opportunity to pair with others and discuss
their opinions. I also designed the Copabacana
restaurant food quest to animate the restaurant
forum so that students from different schools could practise the vocabulary
in class, search the net for information, discuss their points of view
and post them on the restaurant forum.
This is Our Time (1999-2004)
Time is our flagship project, the structure around which I weave most
of my class activities and find inspiration for other projects. What I
find fantastic about Time is that it offers students and teachers alike,
an unlimited scope for local and international teamwork and development.
Themes like global citizenship, the environment and the concept of time
not only fit easily into any school curriculum but also go beyond it,
opening up opportunities for cross-curricular work at school and among
partners. By fostering an atmosphere of collaboration, enjoyment and support,
the activities lead to active participation. We share our group and individual
successes online through multilingual
sites which have become a meeting point among cultures.
For the Unite
the Nations rally, students have prepared questions with their Portuguese,
History and Geography and Social Studies teachers and then translated
them into English. I have helped translating questions sent to us in French
by schools in Africa to include them in the rally as well. On Time Day,
high school students have monitored younger ones, helping them search
the net, making telephone calls to experts (consulates, immigrants of
different nationalities). They also negotiated (by e-mail and on forums)
with other countries involved to get the answers to the difficult questions.
In the classroom
twinning activities, which now take place all year long, students
have regularly e-mailed partners in Mexico, Indonesia, Italy, Belarus,
Russia, Canada, The Netherlands, France and Finland. They introduced themselves
and their country, met their pals in chats organized during the year and
exchanged views on global issues both in groups in the classroom and later
on online forums. Some of the material collected from the discussions
on the themes resulted in newspaper
articles for The Classmate or summaries
of discussion. I have been posting lessons on diverse themes like
identity, stereotypes, celebrations and coaching teachers on how to use
the net and interactive forums with their classes.
activities were also organized. The first year our students interviewed
elderly people while in 2000, the
Peace Manifesto was used as backbone for many of the 9th/10th
grader activities. For the first time at school, we had year- long interdisciplinary
teamwork, gathering teachers and students around a common theme. In 2001,
a forum was set so that students worldwide could express
their views on the September attack. Some wrote poems
for the Tolerance newspaper to voice their feelings.
As our school offers instruction in five languages (French, Portuguese, English,
Spanish and German), I realized we could open another communication window
by using our linguistic assets. Working with a team of voluntary students
and teachers, I have helped to translate some of the educational activities
We have also started doing it in Portuguese
so that English does not act as a barrier for wider participation. Together
with other FL teachers, I organized a Language Day to raise awareness
and promote the international day of languages and the 2001 dialogue among
civilizations year. Groups of 9thgraders taught 4th/5thgraders
to introduce themselves, say their age and where they were from in English,
Spanish and German.
In 2002, I contacted local NGOs and youth centres and one
has already contributed with drawings for Design
a Clock activity, which we have scanned
and published online. Plans for the future include trying to open
our school to the local community to raise our students’ awareness of
the social context they live in. I would like to engage them in positive
action so that they use their skills and knowledge to help less privileged
schools participate in the project.
In February 2004, I was invited to participate
in a seminar to share my experience in international collaborative projects online
for a project sponsored by the British Council, BrazTesol and the University of
intercultural ELT materials online for use by state school teachers".
On this occasion, I presented Time project and Classroom Twinning and gave an
example of a
lesson plan, explaining how Brazilian teachers can adapt it to their classrooms.
WKTO - Multilingual Electronic Schoolbag
Schoolbag is a digital workspace, a communication platform installed
on a server of the Académie
of Grenoble, France. I was invited to participate in project
E20 in the 2nd semester of 2003 and my class of 30 10th graders was
paired to 4 different classes around the world (France, Japan, Italy,
Spain), forming mixed groups of 16 to 20 students (minimum 2 and maximum
4 per country). Each group had a classroom with its own code where they
could upload documents (photographs and files), a training area where
they could leave messages for the teachers to correct and the main exchange
area (Wiki Wiki Web), where they posted their final material. The teachers
involved had a similar room where they introduced themselves and could
exchange information and chat.
The common language was English and the project was developed during class
time. My students were divided in two groups of 15 and each group had
access to the computer room once a week to post what they had done together
in their sub-groups, read their peers' comments and report their impressions
in class. Their work was to:
- introduce themselves to the participants of the other countries.
- introduce their
country/ city /district and upload pictures to illustrate what they
a document ( a survey on sustainable development) from English to
their mother tongue.
- conduct the survey (each student had to interview 20 persons).
- organize the data and collating the results of the survey in class.
- send the data to the others on Excel through the platform.
- compare and contrast the common data. Each group had to prepare a one-page
report to be included in the communication area of their virtual class.
In this report they had to send the conclusions they drew from the survey
and to develop one of the points which they considered to be particularly
- share the report with their local community.
The project is well-structured and trains the students to work on a common
assignment in a collaborative platform respecting instructions and deadlines.
They have to distribute the tasks within the group, search for information
on the net and in their neighbourhood, take photos, digitalize them, upload
them, read about students in other countries, compare, contrast their
experience and report back in class. They also had a taste of how to conduct
a survey and gather the data on an Excel file. Unfortunately, due to our
school summer holidays, we did not manage to complete the two last assignments
in the project, which were discussing and comparing the data collected
with the other groups,writing a report and presenting it to our community.
We will try to catch up with it when we go back to school beginning of
February provided the other students are still online.
I was invited to organize and lead, together with a teacher from Finland and
from France, one
of the projects in August 2004.
Europe in Brazil (2003 - 2004)
During the "Spring Day in Europe" event, students exchanged information
and discussed topical issues in the forums provided by European Schoolnet.
They also presented the material they prepared through the website set
for this purpose.
Through the website, an Italian school in Naples contacted us and we decided
to start the Garibaldi project. We started exchanging mails but
decided to provide a more dynamic and efficient environment so that students
from both classes could interact. The Italian students and teachers were
invited to join our blogs and we coached them through the process. First
exchanges and plans are taking place at:
We are planning to carry out common lesson plans and will probably use a virtual
environment to meet and exchange ideas. All material will be collected
and later published on a common site.
| LEARNING REQUIREMENTS (10 points): || TOP|
Local and global awareness, flexibility, critical thinking, teamwork, and cross-cultural
competence are some of the essential skills for the 21st century citizen.
By fostering the use of foreign languages, encouraging and enabling communication
and reflection, these multi-classr
oom projects have promoted creativity, responsible action, collaboration, respect
for others, and developed a better understanding of the complex world
we live in. I believe these are (or at least should be) the main learning
skills and objectives to attain in any school curriculum around the world.
As far as EFL learning objectives and official programs are concerned, these
projects have followed:
By participating in these projects students have also been preparing for the
recently introduced French:
B2I (Brevet Informatique et Internet/écoles et colleges) pdf file in French
TPE (Travaux Personnels Encadrés).
Text on L’engagement des jeunes URL:http://www.education.gouv.fr/botexte/bo021128
The projects have increased students’ learning opportunities and cooperative
skills, maximized their exposure to the target language and promoted students’
- Improved the students’ communicative competence in the language as they
were given practice in more than vocabulary lists and grammar (they
were engaged in conversation, had to provide and obtain information,
write, read, negotiate, express feelings, emotions and exchange opinions);
- Made them use the language both within and beyond the school setting (trip,
Time forums and e-mailing, construction of Twinsite and Copabacana Club,
interview with elderly people);
- Reinforced and furthered their knowledge of other disciplines through the
target language (history, geography, global issues like peace, violence,
environment, human rights);
- Facilitated collaboration and exchange, making them gain knowledge
and understanding of other cultures (correspondence and discussions
with USA, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Belarus, the Netherlands,
- Engaged them in critical thinking (problem solving, comparing and contrasting
through web quests and discussion with different partners);
- Helped them develop an insight into the nature of language and culture
(translations from English into French and Portuguese for Time Project);
- Gave them more autonomy (students have been increasingly encouraged to
do work in the target language on their own or in small groups, under
- Enabled direct experience and participation;
- Made them learn by doing and enabled them to see the result and value of
| ASSESSMENT (10 points): || TOP|
In every project, we participated in or developed, students (and teachers)
were given tasks to accomplish and clear instruction on how to proceed.
In the Time Classroom Twinning, students’ introductions to the rest of the
community culminated in burning questions and personal reflections. After
debriefing, group discussions on given themes were summarized in group
reports, or sometimes resulted in creative writing like a newspaper article
An important component of online collaboration is the discussion and reflection
that occurs during task engagement.
- Garibaldi Project
(conversation between teachers establishing connection and planning
- Beeonline (students
interacting on various themes and establishing contact with their peers
and other teachers)
Students were assessed on their performance individually and in groups as to:
- their performance in language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
- presentation of work (oral and/or written)
- group work (collaboration skills, synergy)
- final production (building a site, posters for USA Connection exhibition)
- weekly reflection in a personal blog and contributing to a collaborative
Before I started working with collaborative projects, I tended to concentrate
more on their performance in language skills according to pre-established
criteria in class (fluency, accuracy, organization). I did not yet have
access to rubrics online. Individual work was always marked, while group
presentations received a comment on how to improve based on a holistic
scale. After the trip to the USA, parents and students were given a
feedback evaluation sheet and I wrote an
article (in French) for the school newspaper on the students’
and participating teachers’ impressions.
Nowadays, I assess individual work per se, individual work within a group,
group synergy and Internet skills. I compose my own rubrics according
to the task to be performed and use PBL checklists, Rubric Maker and Rubistar.
For oral presentations (Time project or Viva themes), we usually have peer
feedback at the beginning and in the middle of the year. Students note
down the strong and weak points of a series of (previously prepared) presentations
by voluntary students, while I note down the language problems. When the
presenters finish, they comment on their performance and the other students
and I complement. A discussion ensues and criteria are established together
for the summative assessment presentation in the middle of the year, which
may be pre-prepared or ad-hoc. According to what was established, I compose
a rubric and distribute it to the students. After the first summative,
we check if the goals have been accomplished and if we can move to another
level the second half of the year.
Last year I tried a portfolio with my 10th graders. In the second
semester, they were assessed on the work done in class and at home, their
attitude, linguistic skills, subject knowledge, organization of material
and self -assessment. They were given rubrics on how to proceed and were
marked accordingly. Rubric:
I believe it is extremely important for us as teachers to consider and ask
for students’ feedback on their learning process and get to know their
perspectives and points of view. Therefore, at the end of the year, students’
evaluate what they did throughout the year and give suggestions according
What I liked (why);
What I disliked (why);
What I did not know;
What I learnt;
What I may improve.
“The things that I enjoyed the most however wasn't the time spent in class,
but rather the internet projects such as the forums and the e-pals.
It was an interesting activity that allowed us to meet new persons and
cultures. It was a pity that we couldn't stay in touch for very long
because of the different hemispheres and school holidays. But anyway,
I liked it while it lasted.
Another thing I liked were the classes we had to do an Internet search
for information and with it answer several questions from other countries.
I think those were the classes most persons participated and, well,
I just think they were nice.
I wasn't very keen on the classes when we used the book. However, this
is only my personal opinion and as I already knew most of the vocabulary
we learned they seemed rather boring, not because they actually were
boring but rather because I didn't learn anything new.
I think that the best classes were those were we used the computer and
communicated with people from other countries. I believe that this is
the best way of learning, actually using the language. So, I guess that
this is my suggestion, to use English rather that just learn it, because
I believe this is how we really learn.” (End of year evaluation, Catarina
C., 9th grade)
I only started assessing students on their Internet performance last year when
we finally got a fully-equipped computer room. Only then was technology
incorporated into the curriculum and evaluation criteria follow French
standards (B2i), which are slowly being implemented.
According to official instructions, students and teachers are expected
to find out how to operate and interact using the new technologies. (Netiquette,
copyright, safety issues, search on the net, provide reliable sources).
Students have a series of checklists and practice the different points.
Once they feel they have understood the modus operandi and know how to
perform a certain skill, they should ask their teachers to validate their
competence . This may be done formally, with the students demonstrating
what they have learnt and/or informally, during class.
Collaborative projects give me the opportunity to make the whole process more
motivating and meaningful for students and involved teachers. They acquire
the skills according to their needs and tasks presented and learn by being
plunged into action instead of just reading or being told about it.
Teachers and Home base Evaluation:
Time project home bases send in reports to headquarters at the end
of the year, assessing their students’ and school participation.
In the Time Classroom Twinning activity, for which I am responsible, participating
teachers evaluate project development and outcome by posting their report
on the forum in the collaborative community. This year we are planning
to meet every fortnight at Tapped in to discuss individual problems and
offer support to teachers.
In Viva, we exchanged ideas on the Teachers’ Forum, Tapped In, Yahoo groups
or by e-mail.
| AFFECTIVE AND OTHER OUTCOMES (10 points): || TOP|
Collaborative projects bring people together and make them interact in a more
relaxed atmosphere so learning becomes more significant and entertaining. Students
have more freedom to express their views and discover their teachers from another
“…Another thing I liked was the Twinning Project. It was
a good assignment because we had to write and search the meaning of our names
and read about the others. The second part of the assignment was good too
because we had to search information about Brazil to give to our friends.
We could conclude that we did not know very much about the country we live
I don't know what suggestion I can give ... The only thing
I think it is important to continue with all these projects that make the
school more fun...” (Candice N., 10th grade on Time Classroom Twinning)
"...All the student were happy because we went to
the computer room to continue our project ( to do a blog ). There the teacher
taught us how put a link in the blog. It is good! We could add what we wanted.
It is so cool to go to the computer room, because we do different things and
not normal class when we learn grammar. I learned new things about the teacher
as well, she is learning Polish!!! I think it must be difficult.
Today when I was coming home, I listened to many songs in English. It was
good because I could train my ear a little bit. "
(Mariana A., 10th grade on Blogging)
Students who do not usually participate or feel excluded because
the traditional way of teaching does not respect their needs or learning styles
are encouraged to perform in the different contexts provided and find out that
even if their grammar or vocabulary are poor, what they have to say or produce
is important and valued. This restores their confidence and stimulates them
to improve. Examples of two students’ messages left on the 2002 School forum
at Viva Village. Their task was to tell the others about their school and how
they imagined school in the future.
“ Yo man, We are Georges and Guilhem. We are in 3eme3.
At school, we like the internet class and the sports class. Shur, we hate
physics, mathematics and all the other boring classes (when the teachers talk,
talk and we sleep). But English it’s diferent. It´s very cool.”
“I like my school because we have the choice of studying
Latin, it’s much fun!!! I like physics because it’s more practical than theoric.
I dislike this school because food is horrible and we don’t get modern installations
like those in 1st world schools. The future school will have a computer for
each student and classes will be divided according to each ones capacities
Example of an end of year evaluation:
“Well, this year I have learnt a lot of things in English
that I have never seen before with my others teachers in France. For example,
the way that you use for teach us is very interesting: the Copabacana Restaurant
and the Time project let us use the computer that is a nice thing because,
we, teenagers, like to use it. However, I realize these projects were very
difficult because it wasn't always easy to find the needed information. I
like English but I think that I'm not very good at it especially in the oral
part. I understand almost everything that you say but I don't know very well
express my thought. But I think that will come with time.” (End of year evaluation,
Chloé 10th grade)
Collaborative learning environments online provide a democratic
platform that facilitates social interaction, allowing students to express their
feelings and beliefs freely and receive comments from their peers. The feedback
is extremely important for them to progress as they are required to question
and make sense of their world by comparing, contrasting and checking their knowledge
“I liked very much the "This is our time" project,
we worked with students of all grades. I am very sociable so I am very fond
of working in groups with people I don't know yet. I also liked very much
describing the pictures because I like expressing my ideas and speaking. The
classes given in the computer room were fun and dynamic; we are freer in front
of the screen…I think we should participate in more projects that involve
pupils from the different classes and countries. The "game" against
time is not usual at school so we enjoyed it very much.” (Milena, 9th
grade on This is Our Time project)
“First of all, I want to thank all of you for answering
me back. I see you are all interested in the situation of the homeless people.
That gives me the hope to continue fighting for the human rights, because
I can see that, like me, many people are also fighting. I think we all know
that the world has many problems and that it is difficult to solve them all.
But part of those problems is not that hard to solve. The first step is to
make people aware of those who haven't got anything and they can help. Little
by little, with patience, we will be able to make a difference. I count on
you all. Don't ever give up.” (Melanie S. 11th grade in the Squat
forum at Viva village)
“Continued human mismanagement of water, population growth
and changing weather patterns contribute to the crisis we face today. Here
in Brazil, lots of people use water indiscriminately, and after, complain
that they don’t have enough water. Don’t you think that environmental education
should be part of the school curriculum?” (Ariane 11th grade in
the Science Lab Forum at Viva Village)
"Hello everybody!!!! I'm back!!! This is my first
post here in 2004!!!! Happy new year for everyone!! (I know that is a little
too late!!) Well!!! I hope that this year will be as good as 2003 here on
beeonline!!! Our discussion about religion, movies and so one were good!!!!
I hope I'll know more about the people from Italy, their lives in Italy!!
A little question for Italians: Do you celebrate carnival there? How do you
celebrated it??Well, that all!!! See you!!!
Rê!!" (Renata, 11th grader, Bee Online Blog)
Students feel the need to be inter- active and communicate their
“Hi! My name is Julie and I am a Brazilian fourteen-year-old
girl. I study at the Lycée Pasteur, a French school here at São Paulo. Something
that pleases me about this school is that Lycee is a great school, and you're
able to learn many languages very well. But I dislike the fact that everyday
we leave school at about 4pm, or even sometimes 5:20pm... (cause I study Latin,
and next year maybe Greek)... I believe the ideal school in the future would
be one where you could learn having fun, and have serious discussions with
your friends about controversial topics. Nowadays, we aren't allowed to talk
in class, and sometimes it's a bad thing, because classes would be much more
interesting if you were able to talk about them!”(Julie, 9th grader about
Communicating at School in School Forum at Viva Village)
“I think it's a great idea to build the Copabacana Club
because we can show to people abroad a different idea of Brazil. Because this
country isn't only beaches, girls, parties and carnaval; Ok we've got that
but it's also a country that has it's culture, traditions, arts, history...
A population with a past that involves much more things than people abroad
think and know. With the Copabacana Club we, Brazilians, have the opportunity
to talk about the Brazil we know and live in and we will not only exchange
and discuss ideas with other countries, but also learn about them. That’s
what I think about this new project, and I can't wait until the club is ready
to meet everyone....” (The Copabacana Club Hall, Annie, 9th grade)
Welcome back!! How are you??
And (this is more important) DID YOU ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS!??
why don't you all tell me how you spent holidays?
'Cause I miss traveling too much and so I can dream and travel by your narrations!!
I really hope that your new school year will be a good one!!And I hope that
beeonline will be again full of discussions, ideas, opinions and friends (we
missed you :-P !)
with much love,
*Sara* (Bee Online, Sara, Italian student)
| PROFESSIONAL IMPACT (10 points): || TOP|
I believe I have never learnt, produced and shared so much like in these
last seven years. Being involved and fulfilled energizes me contributing
to students' motivation and teachers’ growing engagement in the projects.
satisfaction and the students’
high degree of involvement when participating in the projects added
to the excellent results they obtain in final exams (both in the French
baccalaureate and Brazilian vestibular), and their easy insertion in other
schools and college make me feel very enthusiastic.
with other teachers and teaming up with communities other than my
own has also made me develop the awareness of a larger
educational context in which I can learn, help and mentor, independently
from hierarchical constraints and bureaucratic unresponsiveness.
This has been an extremely enriching experience. I have collaborated with professors
conducting a research, interacted with colleagues from all over the world
in communities online, submitted articles about my work, brought
people of different levels of expertise together, assisted
colleagues in their first steps and met a lot of people from all walks
of life, with whom I regularly correspond and exchange experience and
Today, I do not come to school only to teach my students and attend scheduled
meetings. In addition to my 23 teaching hours a week, I have been trying
to foster an open communication channel among all members. As a volunteer
- coordinate the foreign language department encouraging colleagues to use
collaborative learning techniques, offering support in technology and
promoting information sharing;
- take part in the newly formed ICT committee. I have helped to plan the
new computer room by making contacts with experts and visiting other
schools to find out what worked best. I am working on implementing the
usage of new technologies in the classrooms and urging
teachers to experiment;
- belong to the pedagogical committee. I regularly exchange ideas with colleagues
and management about the need for:
- larger teacher interaction with students, parents and the wider community;
- flexibility ,freedom to experiment and reflection on results obtained;
- adapting and adjusting the students' and teachers' timetable efficiently
so as to make collaborative learning possible;
- opportunities for innovation and professional growth.
We need permanent access to knowledge, exposure, interaction and opportunities
for advancement in order to fight burnout and inertia, feel inspired and
improve. If we are not actively engaged in learning, do not receive support
to carry out our work, invest in ourselves and progress, how do we expect
our students to do otherwise?
For teachers from developing countries (like many of us who
participate in This is Our Time project), who often suffer from lack of
information and opportunities to interact and progress, collaboration
projects help reduce isolation and enrich our experience. Further communication
and exchange in communities of practice widens our horizons and through
our involvement, we challenge the core of conservative and bureaucratic
practices that thwart autonomy, creativity and enterprise.
As we gain autonomy, we become more active, spread out our wings, encompass
much more responsibility and have a larger vision of what and how it can
be done. We start participating in more and more events and presentations,
sharing with others our experience
and expertise, and help others in their professional development.
IMPACT (10 points):
I do not regret a single moment the course I have taken. By starting from scratch,
experimenting, facing all the stumbling blocks and scepticism met when
incorporating change, I was made acutely aware of my weaknesses and strengths.
It has not been easy, as we do not benefit from any grants or teaching
time discharge to plan and develop this work. When setting up these collaborative
projects, I also had to put to practice a whole array of management and
organizational skills which are not usually required in traditional classroom
teaching. I believe I have grown both personally and professionally.
During my own evolution, while figuring out how to use the new technologies
and include them in my teaching, I was constantly reminded that learning
takes time and is not linear. Each individual has her/his own rhythm,
needs and style. We are all at different stages of development and we
do not necessarily learn and understand what we are taught at a particular
moment. However, we certainly learn better when we are given responsibilities
and are involved in activities that are meaningful and productive. I have
also felt how important it is to be heard and trusted, receive support
and encouragement to keep confident and move forward.
This re-construction of the learning process together with close observation
in-action and reflection on-action has given me a deeper insight and a
wider outlook on my classroom practice, students'/teachers' motivations
and community needs.
The journey has by no means come to an end, and I believe it never will. There
will always be room for improvement and change, students and teachers
to help and encourage, a quality issue to fight for, and new ideas to
try out. This is exactly what makes this collaborative learning – teaching
- learning so creative, productive and exciting. You never learn so well
as when you have to teach … and you never teach so well as when you learn.
I also found out that keeping trace of discussions, ideas, what we did,
how this was received and communicating the whole process to others, like
for instance I am doing now, makes you (and others) see clearer and progress.
| PROMOTING YOUR PROJECTS (10 points): || TOP|
In order to promote This is Our Time Project I
- distributed Time booklets introducing the project to parents, local community
- invited (by e-mail and on community forums) parents and other teachers
- sent e-mails with calls for participation and explanation of the
project to schools, NGO’s, associations in France, Africa, Portugal
and Brazil, listservs, newsletters and mailing lists;
- submitted information to be linked from other teachers
sites and organizations;
- showcased the project and our students’ activities on my website;
- sent a press release to educational
portals and publications
- introduced and discussed This is Our Time project and Classroom
Twinning Activity at the Euro Language Forum at Tapped in;
presented the project and gave a workshop at Cyberlangues2002, in
- invited Joe Sheik, responsible for the video-conferencing activity,
to give a presentation
at Tapped In.
As participant and host of the Copabacana Club at Viva Village I have
- presented the project during a workshop for teachers at school;
- sent a call for collaboration to build a web quest to be added to the project;
- prepared a
web quest to animate the Copa Restaurant;
- presented the web quest and the Copabacana Club at Tapped in and Escola
do Futuro chat;
- submitted a link and information about the project to educational
- invited other teachers from different countries to join the project.
- invited Phil Benz, project coordinator, to give an online
presentation in Brazil
For Europe in Brazil I have
- created the website
as a meeting point.
- sent a call for collaboration to other schools around Europe through the
Schoolnet newsletter and Education Forum.
- opened a blogger
which keeps track of the conversations held about one of the projects.
Examples of International Collaborative Projects Online were presented
on Children's Day in
Brazil and on Global Learn Day VII worldwide
and have talked about them again in a
seminar for Brazilian state public school teachers in February 2004.
| DIRECT PROJECT ASSISTANCE (10 points): || TOP|
The most important assistance is the permanent contact, the open communication,
information and support channel you establish with the partners involved.
I have used:
E-mailing: to invite, give general information about the projects, point
out activities which may be more appropriate for this school or another,
clear doubts, correct students’ work, comment on it and give them advice,
mentor and guide individual teachers in technical or pedagogical issues,
give support and remind partners of timelines.
Forums: to discuss different themes and project outcomes so that everyone
can have access and go back to the threaded messages at their own time.
Time Classroom Twinning Community: to leave suggestions to/from different
participants, exchange folders, organize lists of students and classrooms
in cooperative groups, post lesson plans, tips on twinning, instructions
on how to enrol in forums, post news and keep a timeline.
Tapped in – to bring people together in a friendly environment and discuss
plans and points of view, present projects and develop activities.
Website: translation from Time in English to French
so that all schools can have permanent access to the project: information,
activities and contributions. I also maintain my own website on which
I post instructions to students and lesson
Blogger: to keep students
and teachers in contact
with the latest news of the project and make them interact. Instructions
are given online on how to open, join and post
on a blogger. Comments and reflections on the different phases are
also posted, revealing the ups and downs and envisaged solutions.
Our students’ enthusiasm and involvement in Viva Village, for instance, has
generated a spark that activated a lot of teachers and ideas. The Copabacana
Club is the result of interaction among the students with the graphic
designers and different partners. I offered direct assistance to the project
by working together with students and teachers on the different forums
provided in the village. I posted questions
for them to answer and suggested
In addition to this, I participate in discussion
lists with other teachers and have moderated Tapped In meetings to
share the experience I am having with my classes.
| EMPOWERING OTHERS (10 points): || TOP|
Institutional resistance is the most common obstacle in such projects.
Colleagues (and students) working in bureaucratic and authoritarian environments
are the ones who are the most exposed to stress, anxiety and bitterness.
Their contributions are systematically ignored, their initiatives curtailed
and their creativity mocked so many feel that change is not worth it.
How to respond to colleagues who write:
"Sorry I didn't take part in the project you suggested last summer
but things are rather difficult in my school and individual initiatives
are not well considered. It is a very stuffy atmosphere !"
I believe that the first step is to listen to them and encourage communication
and interaction so that they can vent their feelings and difficulties,
share their successes and get positive support. As this is sometimes impossible
in the workplace due to time/program constraints or unfavourable conditions,
I introduce them to mailing lists, communities of practice or professional
development platforms online. There they become acquainted with what other
teachers are experimenting with at different levels of expertise. There
they can contact others who may have faced similar situations. There they
will find an atmosphere of mutual trust where people respect each other's
When you start contributing informally with what you know without being
scorned by "experts", you feel more self-assured and willing
to involve yourself. From a grumpy, frustrated order taker or overwrought
support seeker, you gradually learn to learn, become more sensitive to
other people's plights and start giving assistance. As you begin valuing
your own voice, you become more autonomous, more creative and more motivated
to engage in transformation and acting to make it happen. This applies
to all learners, be it students or teachers.
Besides encouraging colleagues to include the collaborative dimension
in their learning and teaching, I have formed a group of teachers and
students interested in translating the educational material of This is
Our Time project into French and Portuguese.
By facilitating the contact of other schools, they are introduced to
the material and how to use it in their everyday teaching. The satisfaction
and pride in seeing that what they know may help others, and that their
work is real, recognized and valued, motivates the students and encourages
teachers to develop collaborative work in their classrooms.
Outside school, I participate in and contribute to various online forum
communities and lists.
At Tapped In
- Inform other teachers and get informed of the latest developments
in EFL and related areas of interest (Euro Language Forums, Library
of Congress, Summer
- Introduce and discuss projects and activities (This is Our Time,
Classroom Twinning Activity, The Copabacana Club, the Copa Restaurant
food quest and Navegar é Preciso web quest).
- Share my time and do some beta testing for the new TI platform.
- Hold meetings at my office with other teachers and project participants
to listen to and discuss problems that arise, give support and solve
- Invite other people to present their work (eg. Internet in the Classroom,
Poems in the Classroom, Job Swap, Safety on the Net, Distance Education,
- Invite and help other teachers to discover the community and its
At European Schoolnet
At Escola do Futuro Web quest Chat
about my experience with web quests in EFL
- Invite people to talk about their projects (Viva)
- Co-moderate some chats acting as translator (Bernie
Dodge, Phil Benz)
- Help EFL teachers in France to integrate ICT to their classes by
sharing resources, lesson plans and the information I have.
At Webheads in Action:
In February 2004, I was invited to present international collaborative
projects in a seminar held in order to develop intercultural material
online for Brazilian state school teachers.This is the first step towards
sharing my experience with teachers in my own country what I have managed
to do abroad.
As the cyber path unravels before us, we share and produce more, facilitating
the access of schools with fewer opportunities and resources. We create
and build with more quality with the partners involved and the colleagues
who join us, motivated by good practice and support.
I would like to thank all with whom I have travelled along this road.
Some prodded me when I was weary; others offered me their expertise and
trust. They have all contributed by sharing instead of hoarding. I have
tried to follow their lead.