C-4 LTT ACTIVITIES IN OLHAO, PORTUGAL
THE LINK TO THE MEMORY BOOK
The C-4 Learning Teaching and Training Activities took place in Olhao, Portugal from 23th to 27thSeptember 2019 and were focused on VOLUNTEERING ON ENVIRONMENT.
We were all welcomed very warmly by the hosting school Agrupamento de Escolas Professor Paula. The teachers, students and their families took a wonderful care of us throughout our stay and provided many external possibilities for meeting together and exploring the region.
On the first day we were officially welcomed by the local authorities. We could also meet the participants from another Erasmus+ project realized by the school. The local authorities, who are pro-European, thanked us for our participation and our work on the project, which helps to build stronger Europe. Then the participants took part in a city tour with the app Actionbound, which they enjoyed a lot. After the lunch at school, we did the tour of the school with hosting students as leaders. We liked a lot of things at the school. For example, there was a big canteen and a buffet. The students cleaned after themselves, putting the rests, cutlery and plates in the right places. Before entering the canteen, the students and teachers could wash their hands in washbasins located in the corridor just in front of the entrance to the canteen. We also liked the art classroom with a lot of students’ works exhibited on the walls and shelves. The teachers had a long discussion regarding the teacher’s work, and especially duties, in each partner country. We all felt very jealous of Portuguese teachers, who are responsible only for the teaching process, whereas the teachers from Finland, Poland and Spain have to look after the kids during the breaks, be the school’s psychologist, councellor, nurse and everything that a kid needs. The main coordinator of the project, Katarzyna Baca, shared with us what she learned during her KA1 Erasmus+ Learning To Learn training in Bournemouth – the English teacher also do the teaching only. They don’t watch the kids during the breaks, they don’t make the materials for lessons. There are special people employed by schools who make the copies and prepare handouts, check the attendance, watch the kids during the breaks, practise material with the weaker students, communicate with parents. It seems like a paradise to all of us, teachers.
In the afternoon on the first day, the hosting students did their presentations: Presentation of national education system, "National volunteering associations of my country," "Our regular voluntary service in a social service field'', "The history and values of my nation". We all liked the presentations and we learned a lot of new things about volunteering and history of Portugal.
On the second day the participants worked hard in international teams, volunteering in the Algarve Food Bank and their Biological Farm in Faro. We packed the food and planted lettuce. It was very impressive to see at the end of the day the whole field of lettuce planted by our small group! We all liked that experience because it made sense for us.
On the third day in the morning, the participants visited the fishermen in the markets in Olhao. The markets are famous for their wild fish, seafood, organic vegetables and fruit. Then, we went on a boat cruise to Armona and Culatra Islands to enjoy the time with the nature, but also to work as volunteers in international teams – this time we cleaned 5 km of the beach from Culatra beach to Farol. There was a lot of rubbish, mainly plastic, and we were really sorry to see how much harm a man can do to nature by producing and using too much plastic and not using the rubbish bins. We can spoil even the most beautiful landscape. The participants climbed up the lighthouse in Farol, swam in the ocean, played with their peers, talked and enjoyed the ocean breeze , the sun and stunning views. They collected shells and other natural materials for the collage.
On the fourth day, we all went to Lagoa for a hiking activity in “Vales Suspensos”. We walked a 7 km path above a beautiful part of the Algarve coast. The views were amazing. The participants could exercise their legs, talk to each other face to face, appreciate the contact with nature, admire beautiful caves and rocks. Then we had lunch in a school in Albufeira. In the afternoon the students in international teams had Aborism activity in an adventure park in Albufeira. They had special equipment with which they could climb trees, cross suspended wooden bridges and do many other challenges in the open air eucalyptus and pine forest. They loved it!
On the last day in the morning, the participants went to the local animal shelter in Moncarapacho, to do volunteering work with the street dogs. They have brought handmade toys and food for the dogs. The dogs were very excited and happy when they saw the kids. Each dog wanted to be touched and hugged. We were heartbroken to see sixty young and cute dogs longing for a human family. We walked some of the dogs and hugged and played with as many dogs as possible. The toys were a hit – all the dogs wanted to play with them. It was a very valuable experience for our students to see the dogs and feel their suffering. They got very sympathetic and emphatic with the dogs and wanted to adopt them all.
After saying good bye to the street dogs, we went back to school and made the project collages from natural elements collected during the walk on the islands. The students worked on the collages in 8 international groups and did a great job!
Then we took part in a voting on the best photo representing Algarve nature using mentimeter app ( international photo competition) and did the What I have Learnt Questionnaire online.
In the afternoon the students had activities with their hosting families and we met at 6 pm at the local cultural centre in Quelfes, Rancho Folcrorico, to watch shadow theatres prepared by all the countries. Each country presented their shadow theatre on protecting nature for the public. There was a big audience and we all enjoyed the performances. The Portuguese students presented the seminar “Let’s fight with pollution” and handed out the brochures they made about simple ways to save water.
Then we had certificate ceremony and the prize for the winner of the international photo competition was awarded to Ilka from Finland.
In the evening we all had a surprise dinner, which was a real Portuguese barbecue prepared by the Portuguese families and teachers. We all sat together, eating, talking and enjoying each other’s company. The boys from all the participated countries formed two international teams and played football together. It was very hard to say good bye to our new friends from five countries.
During the five days of the mobility, we did a lot of activities:
a- Presentation of national education system, "National volunteering associations of my country," "Our regular voluntary service in a social service field'', "The history and values of my nation"by host pupils.
b-Portuguese course to all participants by low-skilled pupils, Portuguese-English digital dictionary,
c- A charity work for disadvantaged groups (preparing and performing a Shadow theatre on Protecting Nature ) by all partners
d- A ferry cruise to a desert island/a beach walk by the ocean-observing wild nature, collecting shells and seaside plants, creating a Project Collage from natural products
e-Volunteering activities for environment: cleaning the beach, working in the Algarve Food Bank (packing food) and on the Biological Farm (planting lettuce) in Faro, playing with the dogs in the shelter and walking them
f- Donation- bringing handmade toys and food for the dogs in the local animal shelter (Moncarapacho)
g- Me and My Family photo exhibition- by all participants
h-A seminar to public ''Let's fight with pollution“
i- Brochures to Public "Simple Ways To Save Water and Care for the Ocean"
j- Aborism - adventure tree climbing
k- hiking activity - "Vales Suspensos"
l- city tour - Actionbound
m - a visit to the fishermen in the Markets in Olhao
n- dinner with teachers, students and hosting families
o- Project Memory Book
u-Questionnaire of What I Learnt
p – international photo competition
The participants were students and teachers from 5 countries (59) hosting families, teachers and students from the hosting school: about 150 people.
We worked in international, mixed teams.
- we drew public attention to natural and environmental problems, encouraged people from all nations to be sensible, respectful and friendly and active for the nature
- people developed love and respect for the street animals
- we learned about Portuguese cultural values and history, Portuguese regional associations on volunteering, a different educational system
- we developed the sense of solidarity, team spirit, engaged learners in voluntary work in the open air, practised and improved creative artistic intelligence-collage-shadow theatre, raised the awareness and respect to one's own identity and the identity of other participants, developed the awareness that each of us is unique and has a unique life story, a place where they belong (Me and My family), developed sensitivity towards the "different" and "others".
The planned actions were related to the hosting school's project called Eco Schools which promotes actions that aim at sustainability on Earth and develops students' critical, collaborative and supportive spirituality. All the involved schools undertake similar actions in their local communities during the whole school year, involving contests and community actions like for example: raising bottles’ caps, cleaning the neighbourhood, helping in animals’ shelters, collecting medical boxes contest- the school that collects more boxes, wins.
THE BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPANTS:
Appreciating the beauty of nature
Understanding that an activity in the open air with friends is more enjoyable than playing on a tablet at home, Getting students to move and to talk face to face.
Greater awareness of EU cultural diversity and learning respect to other cultures, values and beliefs
Breaking prejudice, stereotypes about different cultures
Learning about Portuguese culture and history
Connecting to my and other partners' cultural heritage - providing a sense of unity and belonging within a group, understanding my and other partners' roots and where we come from (Me and My Family)
Learning about a different educational system and curriculum, exchange of teaching and learning approaches, comparing them to our own
Sharing good practices connected with volunteering and social inclusion, getting new ideas
Increasing the level of motivation to learn foreign languages and participate actively in the school life
Social inclusion and promoting intercultural and civic competences of learners
Integration of the local community and International integration.
Increasing creative, manual skills
Learning about healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Feeling of being useful and discovering a potential to help others and change the world, a sense of purpose in life
Becoming a friend to animals, improving creative artistic intelligence, strenghtening the sense of solidarity, increasing social and entrepreneurial skills
Contribution to compensate for disparities in educational attainment of pupils, especially those having learning difficulties or at risk of premature falling out of the education system. All participating students, including socio-ecomomic-educational disadvantaged pupils - gaining social ,language,creative,ICT skills and Key competencies which are conceptualized as contribution to a successful life and a well-functioning society.