By Ms. Renata Orosco
Being a language teacher in a public school in Brazil is a huge challenge that I accepted 14 years ago. I made the decision to leave the private educational sector as I was inspired by the “new” public educational politics in my country at the time.
Since then, I have looked for and worked with methodologies and approaches which could make my classes meaningful to my students. I did my best so that my students would be able to have a foreign language experience as related to their reality as possible. During this process, I encountered many difficulties such as the lack of appropriate material and technology. Some of those problems were almost overcome while others were not even close to being solved. However, I have realized that these challenges are my “driving force” to keep moving forward.
At the end of 2017, Mr. Lemes, EE Maria Luíza Fomozinho Ribeiro High School principal, suggested a challenge for his school teachers and students to participate with other 4 countries (United States, Tunisia, China and South Korea) in the Global Classroom STEAM Challenge project. The project was to foster intercultural competence and led by IVECA International Virtual Schooling, directed by Dr. Eunhee Jung. We were asked to find innovative solutions to issues in our community and that are related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Mrs. Boim, Mr. Nunes and I, along with 15 Senior High School students had the experience of our life. We worked in partnership with a High School from Alabama, USA to find creative solutions to problems that our community is suffering from by using STEAM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
We enjoyed working together on the Global Classroom STEAM Challenge project that also involved participants’ culmination on February, 2018, at the United Nations in New York. We had the opportunity to speak about implementing our solutions sustainably for a global impact. We presented innovative elements of our solutions and how they could benefit all. We also shared the final prototypes of our solutions to achieve the SDGs.
Since then, our school has continued to join IVECA intercultural project every semester. In collaboration with high school teachers - Mr. Delgadinho, Mr. Luna and Mr. Aleixo, we have been working with students from South Korea which has been having a positive impact on our school community.
IVECA strives to build respectful and compassionate relationships among people, schools and countries, and makes a positive impact with its intercultural curriculum and activities for global citizenship. IVECA's program provided a great impact on our students’ learning not only in relation to their language proficiency but also in terms of social-emotional competence.
I appreciate that IVECA virtual intercultural program transforms the educational system toward a value-based education which is essential for the 21st Century society. I would say IVECA is the school of the future as it enables teachers and students to share their experiences around the world through the intercultural virtual exchange platform and live video conferencing.
IVECA has been making my students familiar with global citizenship. It has been helping them understand themselves, their individual perspectives, actions, values, practices and impact on the local and global society. This experience helped us expand our global perspective and made learning more meaningful to my students in a way that my students and I would be able to have language experiences as related to real situations as possible.
Undoubtedly one of the most valuable and greatest opportunities of our life!