Languages Connect How-to-Manual-for-School-Exchanges - Flipbook - Page 9
A successful school exchange can benefit both language teachers and nonlanguage teachers.
It can contribute to good working relationships between staff. The language teacher might
provide cover to the nonlanguage teacher while they do an activity with the exchange
students, and the nonlanguage teacher might provide cover while the language teacher is
abroad. It can encourage teachers to look at each other’s subjects through new eyes. It can
reduce the workload for the language teachers, if nonlanguage teachers are willing to host,
go abroad and or get involved at whatever level suits them. It is a great opportunity for any
teacher to jobshadow in another country. One teacher mentioned that a school exchange
had led to a teacher exchange, which was a wonderful opportunity. Hosting is an opportunity
for all teachers to make friends, just as it is for students. Language teachers need to keep their
language skills up to date, so a school exchange is an ideal opportunity to practise the Target
Language. A whole school approach where a number of staff are involved makes it easier
to run an ongoing and successful exchange. The video clip from Lucan Community College
includes very positive feedback from nonlanguage teachers, so do encourage teaching staff
to look at it.
Exchanges work really well when students are enthusiastic, have a positive attitude and
are openminded to experiencing a new culture. It is important to engage with students,
inform them of the benefits and keep them motivated. Students who have just completed
an exchange should be allowed to promote it to the students in the year below them,
as they are more likely to be persuaded by other students than by teachers and parents.
Some schools like to restrict the exchange to small numbers (e.g. one school keeps it to a
maximum of 12), and others prefer to have large groups, there are pros and cons for both.
There are students in the video clips with very positive feedback, so do show the clips to
Some schools are willing to let an exchange take place during term time, and others insist
on it happening during the holidays. It is important to bear in mind that it is a cultural
exchange, school is a big part of students’ lives, so an opportunity to see what school life is
like in a partner school in the TL country is invaluable. It also means you will have colleagues
to help with the cultural programme you will have to plan. A PE teacher to help with Gaelic
football and hurling, a Music teacher, and somebody who has experience with Irish dancing,
to help with a céilí, a History teacher to help with a local history tour, a Geography teacher
to help with a tour of whatever is unique to the area, a Home Economics teacher to do
brown bread and a full Irish breakfast with them, there is a lot of scope for nonlanguage
teachers to assist with the programme. If it takes place during the school holidays, it will be
a very different experience, and some teachers (MFL is predominantly female) have to cover
childcare during the holidays which makes it more difficult for them to get involved.
Some towns are twinned with a similar town abroad, find out if your town is twinned and
if it is, find out if the schools abroad have exchanges in place. If your town is not twinned,
there is European Commission funding available under the “Europe for Citizens” Programme.
For more information see: https://www.europeforcitizens.ie
Town Twinning can benefit individuals,
groups, businesses, tourism, schools,
etc., it might be worth looking into,
or even encouraging a relevant
local group to look into it. The video
clip of Carndonagh Community
School is a good example of this.
How-to Manual for School Exchanges