WEBS is a current best practice Erasmus exchange project between four bilingual schools from Spain, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands (www.bilingualschools.online.) In the almost two years we have been working on WEBS (2018/ 2020) we have learnt a lot about the participating schools and their countries, about the way bilingualism is tackled in Europe. Our students have made long-lasting friendships and improved their intercultural skills, as well as their second or foreign language skills and their ICT competences by writing 'old-fashioned' penpal letters, editing videos and designing posters, as well as participating to quizzes. Besides, the teachers have been sharing and exchanging teaching materials, thus enriching and easing our teaching job.
WEBS has helped us realise that there are two different approaches of what is called 'bilingual system' in Europe and that there is a difference between what we call bilingual and the CLIL system. A difference not only in the teaching methodology, but also in our bilingual students' and teachers' identity. Being a bilingual school ourselves, we would like to exchange our best practice with other bilingual students who share this hybrid identity. It is indeed important for our students to meet students from other European countries, who feel like ours claim to feel: German when in Spain and Spanish when in Germany. Meeting pupils who feel the same will give them that feeling of belonging and understanding of this new European generation with a completely new identity.
Our projects’ main goal is the exchange among four bilingual schools with focus on teaching/learning about common European roots and the way it affects bilingual identity. Our students shall share their knowledge and ideas with one other through pen-pal letters, they will film and edit videos, short movies and podcasts in English and in all the languages they speak, they will edit a digital magazine in English, an e-dictionary and a Must and Never Code on cultural behaviour. They will participate to short-term learning and teaching activities, too. In doing so, they will improve will several key competences, such as communication in their mother, native and foreign tongue, communication in foreign language, digital competence, intercultural awareness and expression. We will also focus on the numerous common and different cultural behaviour and our common roots.
Our non tangible results include the improvement of the communicative competences in the native, mother and foreign languages and ICTs skills of the target groups, the awareness about the special identity of bilingual children, the enrichment of our knowledge and of our intercultural competences and the identification of common European traditions and values. This is one of the horizontal priorities our project has: the social and educational value of the European cultural heritage.
Besides, our tangible results include videos, e-dictionaries, padlet entries and the design of greeting cards. Probably the most important material result is the Must and Never Code about appropriate cultural behaviour, whose compilation requires very subtle feel for various nuances of same cultural behaviours. In compiling the code, the students will tackle various aspects of the bilingual identity and will develop a better understanding of the other cultures involved in the project too. They will identify common European roots, traditions and values, which is the main priority of our project.
The project will help students and overall participants realise that there is this whole new hybrid identity European generation with multiple roots and that belonging to it is such an enrichment. Raising awareness about the enrichment of diversity through bilingualism will also lead to more respect and tolerance towards the different European cultural values. Finally, WEBS Common Roots is a follow-up of the original WEBS, whose aim was the connection between numerous bilingual schools, which is strengthened and expanded by this new project.