Connecting Classrooms and Communities
CONNECTING CLASSROOMS AND COMMUNITIES support learners in making informed and ethical contributions to a more sustainable and equitable world. With the increasing globalization of economies, technologies cultures, societies and indeed education itself, learners need to understand both the nature and impact of these powerful and complex forces on human development and the environment. Learners also need to acquire the skills and altitudes to become active citizens contributing positively to their economy and society. The goal of the school partnership project is to explore sustainability, diversity, healthy living and interdependence, making people more aware of their responsibility as world citizens in ensuring that their lifesyles become more sustainable.
WHAT IS CONNECTING CLASSROOMS AND COMMUNITIES?
Connecting Classrooms and communities is a programme by the Cameroon Association of Active Youths a non-governmental organization that creates partnerships between clusters of schools in Cameroon and others around the world. These partnerships bring an international dimension to young people’s learning, to improve their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and prepare them for life and work as global citizens.
Connecting Classrooms and communities partnerships are supported by local authorities’ schools and the ministries of basic and secondary education of Cameroon and district education offices/ministries of education in other countries. This endorsement, in all countries, provides a platform from which broader, strategic links can be formed between areas or districts in the partner countries.
To ensure sustainability, clusters of schools participating in the programme are also co-coordinated by their local educational authorities, municipal authorities, parent teacher associations and school management committees.
Partnerships typically last for five years, depending on the countries involved.
THE GOAL OF THE PROGRAMME
The overall goal of the program is to bring local municipal authorities, communities, schools, professionals, groups and individuals in working actively to promote friendship cooperation, peace, sustainable development, human rights, solidarity and democracy. To enable learners acquire knowledge, attitudes, skills and values necessary for social economic and cultural development
GLOBAL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME
1- The desire to provide a diverse range of experiences for pupils, students, communities and the educational community in general.
2- To facilitate project-based learning through the exchange of pupils, students and community work and on ongoing pupils, students and community communications.
3- The desire to provide authentic contexts in which pupils, students and community can develop and practice second language skills.
4- To create a medium to emphasize communications among pupils, students; schools, classrooms and communities through the exchange of letters, emails and visits between communities and countries.
5- To expose pupils, students and communities to cultures that they may not otherwise come into contact with, and strengthen links amongst communities and individuals with common interest, backgrounds, beliefs, cultural or religious identities.
6- To provide an outlet for teachers, pupils and students to enact global change.
7- To improve health and social sector interactions for enhanced community outreach and development
8- To create a medium for environmental awareness, arts, general outreach; technology transfer, tourism promotion and enhanced business cooperation.
HOW IT WORKS
In Cameroon, we facilitate the programme by educating and sensitizing interested schools and communities about the programme. .interested clusters of schools from a given community and municipality manifest their interest in the program with a letter of commitment and endorsement. The co-coordinating body identifies a partnership co-coordinator to serve as a focal point between the schools and their communities and with their international partners;. And help the schools in the cluster to develop and manage their international partnerships.
Once we find clusters of schools interested in the project out of Cameroon, an information seminar is organized to discuss the relevant issues concerning the partners with their local partner schools in Cameroon
1- We provide assistance to establish links between partners in Cameroon and others out of Cameroon.
2- We facilitate the partnerships and support schools, classrooms and communities to make their partnerships stronger.
3- We educate, sensitise and select interesting schools and municipalities and help with first contacts and communications, implement partnership activities with schools and all other stakeholders involved in the project.
4- We serve as focal point between schools, municipal authorities on the one hand and their counterparts out of Cameroon.
5- We serve like a focal point for international organisations, community groupings, gather and decimate information, mapping interested parties and assisting in establishing contacts.
6- We give advice on all kind of questions concerning the partnerships, inspiring schools, communities and other stakeholders on how they can build their partnerships
7- Supervise, monitor and evaluate the partnerships and its related projects and activities.
WHERE WE WORK
We work in both the English and French speaking regions of Cameroon
WHAT TYPES OF SCHOOLS CAN GET INVOLVED?
In general, Connecting Classrooms and Communities is open to any school in any participating country interested in having partnerships with Cameroonian schools.
Schools do not need to have experience of working with international partners, but there does need to be a firm commitment to the programme, particularly from the head/principal, and from the supporting body.
WHAT DO SCHOOLS IN CONNECTING CLASSROOMS AND COMMUNITIES DO?
All schools involved in Connecting Classrooms and communities
- work with partner schools on collaborative curriculum projects, which enable learners to interact across geographical boundaries to enhance their understanding of each other’s societies, languages and cultures.
- receive professional development for teachers and school leaders, which builds capacity to support international partnerships and to lead the school in an international environment.
- are supported to work towards full International School Award accreditation, which recognizes the school’s commitment to forming international partnerships and developing global citizens.
- become part of a global online community that enables teachers to network with one another in a range of teacher forums, and offers guidance in the use of ICT tools that develop and sustain partnerships.
BENEFITS FOR THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Learners of all ages and abilities benefit from direct interaction with their international peers. Working together on joint projects improves communication and ICT skills, encourages language learning, and deepens their understanding of other societies and cultures – as well as their own. It can also have a positive impact on motivation and achievement.
Teachers and school leaders gain from experiencing educational practice in different countries, sharing good practice with national and international counterparts, and benchmarking against standards in other countries. International linking enriches the curriculum and helps educators to meet the objectives of core educational strategies and priorities. In Cameroon for example, an international partnership can help satisfy objectives for community cohesion, or language learning.
Schools extend their community of learning beyond the school gates by engaging parents and building connections with local businesses and community groups. Business leaders are often keen to support local schools that are working internationally, and may offer resources, staff time, advice, sponsorship, work experience or placements.
Local authorities, schools and educational authorities are able to work strategically with district education offices and ministries of education in other countries to address the needs and concerns in their area and the schools under their control. In so doing, they help to deliver government strategies in education and international education, at a local level. Furthermore, Connecting Classrooms partnerships widen participation within schools, raise standards, build social cohesion and help local authorities and ministries of education to meet other strategic goals for education and children’s services.
Communities benefit from greater social cohesion because young people not only develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of cultures and societies in other countries, they also gain a better understanding of different cultural backgrounds within their own communities.
How do Connecting Classrooms and communities help schools to fulfill their objectives?
Connecting Classrooms and communities meets Cameroon educational priorities and curriculum aims – For schools in the Cameroon, Connecting Classrooms and communities has been carefully designed to enable schools to use their international partnerships to achieve goals within core educational strategies as well as national strategies for internationalizing education. We have also consulted closely with the Cameroon curriculum authorities to ensure that the learning outcomes for students are in line with curriculum objectives, so that the work carried out within a partnership can easily and effectively be integrated into the curriculum
Connecting Classrooms and communities has the support of ministries of basic and secondary education – We have developed Connecting Classrooms and communities in consultation with national education ministries, local education authorities or districts, and educational bodies such as curriculum authorities. Participants can be assured that the commitment within their school or local authority to working internationally is recognized and endorsed at ministry level.
Connecting Classrooms and communities offers more than an international link – Schools not only work together on curriculum-relevant projects, they also benefit from professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders, and become eligible to earn International School Award accreditation.
Connecting Classrooms communities provides flexibility to meet local educational needs and objectives - such as social cohesion, or specialized language learning – through further partnership opportunities. By involving local authorities and other co-coordinating bodies in Cameroon and internationally, the programme ensures that partnerships have a broader strategic relevance and address concerns and priorities that are shared locally. Connecting Classrooms and communities also offers a variety of themes for joint curriculum projects to suit the interests and priorities of schools in all countries.
Connecting Classrooms schools and communities work with other schools nationally, as well as internationally – Partnerships are formed of clusters of schools in different countries working together. This means that schools link not only with international counterparts, but also with schools in their own country. A cluster might comprise a combination of secondary schools, primary schools and special schools; or schools with different faith bases.
Connecting Classrooms and communities is a truly reciprocal global partnership programme for schools and communities – Mutuality is one of the guiding principles of Connecting Classrooms and communities. All schools within a partnership have access to the same opportunities and funding, and work on projects that meet their own curriculum objectives as well as those of their partners.
THEMES AND CURRICULUM ACTIVIES THAT MAY BE USED BY CONNECTING CLASSROOMS AND SCHOOLS IN THE PROGRAMME.
Connecting classrooms and schools support learners in making informed and ethical contributions to a more sustainable and equitable world. With the increasing globalisation of economies, technologies, cultures, societies and indeed education itself, learners need to understand both the nature and impact of these powerful and complex forces on human development and the environment. Learners also need to acquire the skills and altitudes to become active citizens contributing positively to their economy and society.
A global dimension is seen as a way of extending pupils; student’s views of the world by exploring their perceptions and connections, and helping them recognise and think critically about different cultural, economic and political perspectives. The global dimension can be understood through eight concepts that provide a conceptual framework for thinking about issues and building them into the curriculum.
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: gaining the knowledge, skills and understanding of concepts and institutions necessary to become informed, active, responsible citizens.
DIVERSITY: understanding the nature of conflicts, their impact in development and why there is need for their resolution and promotion of harmony.
HUMAN RIGHTS: knowing about human rights including the United Nations convention on the rights of the child.
INTERDEPENDENCE: understanding how people, places and environments are all inextricably interrelated and that choices and events have repercussions on a global scale.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: understanding the importance of social justice as an element in both sustainable development and improved welfare of all people.
VALUES AND PERCEPTIONS: developing a critical evaluation of representations of global issues and an appreciation of the effect these have on people’s altitudes and values.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: understanding the need to maintain and improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for future generations
These concepts provide opportunities to develop classroom activities and whole school projects where the views and experiences of each partner school will enrich teaching and learning by bringing to them an authentic global dimension.
To be able to achieve the objectives we have set out for our organisation we need all kinds of supports from individuals, private foundations, government agencies, charities, business agencies, cooperation’s, donor organizations and bilateral organizations in the areas of information exchange, technical cooperation and financial aid. We are therefore appealing that you please enter into partnership with us, to enable us cost – effectively and swiftly actualize our mission in Cameroon
WHAT WE NEED
Computers,mice, scanners, photocopy machines, key boards, modems, network cards, hubs ,switches, Digital cameras, laptops ;video projectors, office stationeries, school stationeries, financial and human resources