Thus ends the international project Erasmus+ TEACHING AND LEARNING TOWARDS AN INCLUSIVE DIGITAL SUSTAINABLE WORLD, 18 months that allowed the mobility of twelve students, two teaching assistants and six accompanying teachers and a social worker on a job shadowing basis.
The experiences were multiple and spread over three host countries – Turkey, Slovenia and Italy – respectively examples of multiculturalism, sustainable development and environmental preservation and the dematerialization of book resources – for a “senza zaino” school (without backpacks).
In all mobilities, students, teachers and non-teachers, were given the opportunity to observe and/or share good practices, experience different didactic-pedagogical intervention strategies, relate, learn a new culture based on communication in English and in the observance of other habits and ways of being.
MONTEROTONDO, ROME, ITALY, INSTITUTO ESPAZIA | MAY 8-12, 2023
The week began with the joyful ceremony of welcoming the visitors to the school. About a hundred students welcomed the visitors by singing the different hymns and offering bags with souvenirs and work material for the week. A moment of closeness among peers and of celebration for this meeting.
The activities took place collaboratively with a focus on programming and robotics practices, exploration of digital learning support applications for “senza zaino”, creation through art, research and knowledge sharing among peers, a lot of respect and solidarity.
Students were able to work in multicultural groups, recognizing the need and value of mastering a common language – English – allowing their rapprochement and communication; teachers were able to observe teaching and learning situations in mathematics and Italian classes, corresponding to the 2nd and 3rd cycles, reflecting on the practices implemented by partners, drawing lessons, enhancing their technical skills and, above all, sharing strategies and methodologies during the joint reflection sessions. The social worker observed dynamics of support and inclusion of students with difficulties and/or immigrants, comparing realities and practices, as well as concluding on their application in the Portuguese social and educational contexto. She also shared good practices in progress at AE Aver-O-Mar and intervention policies of our country, leaving the desire in their counterparts to, in the short term, to visit our school.
There was time to promote the creativity of the participants in a plastic production session and theater workshop led by professionals in the field. The experience was unique! We learned the importance of managing and transmitting emotions, the scenic “tricks” used by actors to stage scenes of violence, drama, or friendship, always reiterating the values and social obligations underlying human behavior. Another excellent example of the role that the art of theater can play in the formation of young audiences.
Finally, we visited the iconic city of Rome and the Vatican. Two days of cultural visits that allowed direct contact with the famous Roman monuments, centuries-old works of art, and the history of humanity that we all learned about in history classes.
Before our eyes, then, was the famous Colosseum of Rome – imposing and full of stories; the Roman Forum – ruin of the largest “commercial center” in the world at the time; the national monument to Vittorio Emanuele – the first king of unified Italy; the small statue of the She-Wolf of Romulus and Remus. Regarding this statue, legend has it that:
“… once a very cruel man attacked the father of two twins, imprisoning him and kidnapping his two children who he later abandoned in the forest, leaving them to their fate. However, the children’s cries attracted the attention of a she-wolf who “adopted” them and suckled them as if they were her own cubs. One day a peasant was passing through the forest and found the two children nursing from the she-wolf. He decided to take them with him and named them Romulus and Remus. Many years later, as adults, Romulus and Remus went in search of their father, and found him, freed him, and punished the man who had imprisoned him. Then they returned to the place where the she-wolf had suckled them, on the banks of the Tiber, and decided that this would be the site of a new city. The name chosen was Rome.”
We continue our tour walking along Via del Corso and its imposing baroque-style buildings, Via dei Condotti – one of Rome’s most elegant streets, containing numerous fashion stores, such as Gucci or Bvlgari, and fine coffee shops, among which the historic Caffé Greco (1760) stands out; the famous Scalignata di Spagna, the famous staircase in Piazza di Spagna, the traditional meeting place for young people, tourists and the indispensable street artists, who usually gather around the Fontana della Barcaccia; the church at its top is called Trinità dei Monte, built in 1495 and containing numerous works of art inside.
Finally, the Pantheon of Rome or Agrippa – “Roman temple of all the gods”, built in the 1st century; the Trevi Fountain – a project by Nicola Salvi that has Neptune flanked by two tritons as its central figures, this place marked the end of the Aqueduct of Aqua Virgo that channeled water to the new spa resorts of Rome (the relief on the second floor, shows a girl named Trivia, to whom the fountain owes its name); the Piazza Navona, the social center of the city of Rome with its three Baroque fountains.
And here we said goodbye physically to our Italian friends, certain, however, that the digital contact will endure among those who “met” each other in this adventure.
Last but not the least, Saturday, the day of our return, there was still time to visit the Vatican City.
The famous Vatican Museums and the world-famous Sistine Chapel, home to Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes. There are miles and miles of luxurious galleries, filled with art and palatial decoration and where we glimpse the decked out soldiers of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Finally, St. Peter’s Square – designed by Bernini and built in the 17th century – and St. Peter’s Basilica.
And it was time to head for Fiumicino airport back home.
“Roma non è una città come le altre. È un grande museo, un salotto da attraversare in punta di piedi.”
(Rome is not a city like all the others. It is a great museum, a room to cross on tiptoe – Alberto Sordi).
In fact, Rome is seen on foot, and this group did just that. We spent two pleasant days visiting this magnificent city. Many of the monuments had already been seen and studied previously in a group activity at the eSpazia school, a moment that answered the double objective of using the digital tool Google Maps and researching and knowing Rome but, mainly, preparing the visitors (students) for an informed visit to the city!
As coordinator of this Erasmus+ project, I thank the whole team for their dedication, the students for their commitment and interest, the parents for the trust placed in the school, the City Council for the institutional collaboration, and the management for their unconditional support to the initiative. Thank you!