What Relationships Mean in Our Lives

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Meetings: Gebze

 

group photo

group photo (in front of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul)

 

From 23 to 26 March, 2012, the first project meeting for students and teachers took place at Gebze in Turkey. 23 students and 15 of their teachers from five of the six schools on the project travelled to Turkey. The students stayed in the families of students from the host school, Gebze Süleyman Demirel Anadolu Lisesi.

On the first day of the meeting, a spring festival held at the school was the main point of the programme. The festival included all of the students and teachers at the school, many of their parents, and of course the guests. There were various sports activities in which the visitors joined, as well as music, dancing, and of course some speeches. The guests were able to experience some aspects of Turkish culture.

 

festival in school grounds

During the spring festival in the school grounds

 

Another day of the visit was spent with joint international workshops for the students, organized by teachers from several of the schools, which centered on the topic of the first stage of the project, families. These workshops were designed especially to make the students collaboprate on tasks that were connected with the project topics. In this way, several of the aims of the project could be reached.

 

students writing scenes

International group of students writing a scene for the role playing

 

There was a role-playing workshop during which the students, in nationally-mixed smaller groups, designed short scenes about family life in general and particularly about conflicts in families. They then acted out for the others what they had written. They used English as their working language both for the writing and for the performances. The scenes highlighted typical problem situations that teenagers come across in their family lives, and solutions to such conflicts.

 

role play: performance

Students performing what they have written

 

A further workshop centered on another creative activity: painting images together. The students were first introduced to some characteristics of abstract art and about its means of expression. They then again formed groups in which the various nationalities were represented. Each group had the task to produce a painting together which was showing what their families meant to the students. In a first step, they planned the picture; then they painted it jointly. At the end, as their third task, the group had to explain to the others what the painting was showing and how it expressed what the students in the group wanted to show.

 

Planning a picture

International group designing and producing a painting

 

Here, as in the role play group, English had to be used as the language of communication. We can say that it worked very well; there were few inhibitions, and all participants managed to use and develop their language skills during the work.

 

painting 1

painting 2

Two of the resulting paintings during their presentation by the group that made them

 

While one day of the project was left free for activities of the host families with their guests, another day was used for a joint visit to Istanbul, to give the students the opportunity to see some of this fascinating city and experience its various aspects.

 

Ayasofya

At the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), Istanbul

 

At the end of the meeting the guests, students and teachers, warmly thanked the Turkish hosts for their wonderful organisation of the meeting and for their hospitality.