Thursday 11 May 2006
Marketplace Theatre, Armagh
The Northern Ireland Chief Inspector of Schools, Ms Marion Matchett, and the Deputy Chief Inspector of the Republic of Ireland, Mr Gearóid Ó Conluain, will open a Day of Celebration to bring to a conclusion the 2002-2006 Pride of our Place cross-border primary schools project in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Thursday 11 May 2006. This EU-funded project has brought together primary schools from Armagh, Tyrone, Down, Louth and Cavan to study key environmental features in their localities and to explore them in the company of their cross-border partner schools. The Day of Celebration will see the participating pupils presenting their work and learning from the project by using display boards, video and powerpoint presentations, drama, music and storytelling.
INTRODUCTION, AIMS AND OUTCOMES
Pride of our Place (Phase Two) is an exchange project between teachers and pupils from 12 primary schools in the border regions of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which has focussed on studying the schools’ local environment. It has been running since 2002, and followed on from a pilot project of the same name in 2000. The partners in the project are the Southern Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland, the Department of Education and Science in the Republic of Ireland, and the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh, which manages the project. This four year project is funded by the EU Peace Two Programme through the Special EU Programmes Body.
Through the project the pupils and teachers have had a range of opportunities to explore aspects of their local environments in a pro-active way and to share their learning experiences with their partner schools. Teachers and their classes studied a key building or other feature in their locality by looking at it both historically and geographically, and then presenting it to and exploring it with their partner schools. There was also an emphasis on learning ICT skills in order to link partner schools. Each year of the exchange involved 9-12 year olds and their teachers in day-long cross-border visits (one in each direction) to their partner schools. Principals and teachers came together once a year for a two day ‘residential’, involving training, lectures from visiting experts, and exchanges of experience.
In the four years of its existence, the project also expanded into joint music, art, history, horticulture and story-telling activities.
The aims of the project were to:
- Engage teachers and pupils on focussed studies of elements of their local environments and the environments of their linked schools
- Improve mutual understanding between schools, teachers and pupils in a north-south context and facilitate inter-school networking
- Facilitate pupils to explore the local and wider histories of different parts of Ireland and of different social, cultural and religious communities
- Engage pupils in activity-based learning experiences in which they had opportunities to develop and apply important historical, geographical and other skills
- Foster the development of pedagogical skills by assisting teachers to identify suitable topics within local studies, and to acquire teaching techniques which promote activity-based learning
- Examine the practicalities of pupil and teacher exchange at primary level
- Provide increased opportunities for the use of ICT in the study of history and geography
- Enrich the professional perspectives of participating teachers through providing experiences of the school system in the other jurisdiction.
See the briefing paper [83 kb].