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Anne Jakins

international collaboration for Sen students

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I know I am preaching to the converted on this forum but I would like to advocate international partnership projects between groups of SEN students. I am currently working with a school in Scandinavia which has a similar unit to mine. This has created enormous interest and enthusiasm amongst our students. We started with a simple question and answer cultural exchange and have environmental projects planned. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had experience with this sort of collaboration and can recommend successful projects. This seems to be a very effective way of enhancing literacy and ICT skills and what is more important it is great fun.

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We started with a simple question and answer cultural exchange and have environmental projects planned

How did you get round the language divide, Anne? If you used English as the medium, did the Scandinavian students with SEN respond directly in English, or were their responses rendered into English by their teachers?

I believe there's also a lot to be gained by teachers in different European countries sharing their knowledge and experience with SEN across national borders. Because I know German, I am able to tap into what working parties of SEN teachers in German-speaking Europe are doing. There's a lot of interesting and innovative practice in German-language reports online which deserves to brought to the attention of the English-speaking world.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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My partner school is in Finland and the language has not presented a barrier. Apparently some of the students are fluent in English. You are right though, others require help from the teacher. I started by putting up a display of maps etc in the classroom in order to involve the whole department. The students communicate via a forum. I have noticed that the students take particular care with the quality of their work knowing that other students are going to read it. They also have to adjust their use of language to the specific audience of students who have English as a second language. In my recently written development plan I made sure that this international dimension to our work in SEN is embedded in our teaching of literacy and ICT and is not seen as an ' add on'.

Some useful examples of successful projects can be found at

http://www.britishcouncil.org/montageworld.htm

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You may not be aware, but we have Princess Mary fever hitting us at the moment - she's from Tasmania and is presently here on an official tour and our papers are full of her, hailing her as the new Di. However, the good outcome is that our DoE has seen it as an opportunity to link Tasmanian and Danish schools and have put some money into helping to set it up.

For students here who are relatively isolated from Europe, it's a good way to get them interested in the "outside" world.

Also, if anyone there wants to link with a Tasmanian school, I can probably help you.

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