The Vice-Principal of Lisneal, Susan Wilson, says a collaboration with a school in the suburbs of Johannesburg has helped enrich pupils’ understanding of “our own situation in Northern Ireland by learning about the difficulties of another post conflict society.”
She made the comments as Lisneal helped launch a new global education programme called ‘Connecting Classrooms.’
The programme, which will be delivered by the Nerve Centre from 2015-2018, will focus on the professional development of teachers, with an emphasis on core skills such as digital literacy, critical thinking and student leadership.
Lisneal College have been involved in the Connecting Classrooms project for the past two years, working on conflict and resolution with schools in South Africa.
Mrs Wilson, said: “Our participation in Connecting Classrooms has brought so much to Lisneal. Alongside priceless professional development for our teachers, our link with South Africa has given a dynamic dimension to the study of our own Civil Rights at Key Stage 3 and allowed our pupils to look at their own history in a clearer way.
“The resources developed by the Nerve centre are second to none and alongside developing digital capabilities, pupils are enriching their understanding of our own situation in Northern Ireland by learning about the difficulties of another post conflict society.
“The pupils’ communication with the South African school has given them a wider context in which to view our own difficulties in Northern Ireland. We plan now to embed our link with Vlakfontein school through a wide number of subjects and are very grateful to the British Council for giving us this opportunity to develop both staff and pupils through a highly enriching school link.”
As part of the launch of the new programme, schools who have achieved excellence in international education were awarded British Council’s International School Award.
The award is a badge of honour for schools that do outstanding work in education, such as through links with partner schools overseas. Twenty-three schools achieved the full award in 2015, including Good Shepherd Primary School and Nursery in Derry~Londonderry.
David Alderdice, Director of British Council Northern Ireland said: “Today’s school children are tomorrow’s global citizens and the more they can learn about the world, the more they can shape it. Connecting Classrooms also gives young people the chance to act as ambassadors for Northern Ireland internationally and grow into well-rounded, creative and critical citizens, ready to engage with an increasingly global labour market and shape the future for themselves and future generations.”
John Peto, Director of Education at the Nerve Centre, said: “The Nerve Centre is delighted to be the delivery partner for Connecting Classrooms in Northern Ireland. Through our education and learning programmes with the Creative Learning Centres we are already a major provider of professional development training to teachers in Northern Ireland.
“The Connecting Classrooms offer builds on that and gives schools the opportunity to develop practical new skills in their teachers and to do so in a global context, reflecting the world we live in today.”
For more information on Connecting Classrooms or British Council Northern Ireland, visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org or https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/develop-your-skills/professional-development-courses/teaching-the-core-skills