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What is Class Twinning?[top]
Co-operation Between Schools
Class twinning, in essence, attempts to stimulate appreciation and curiosity for other people and cultures through active co-operation between multiple schools. It is not a new idea. Educators have been doing it for years. The exchange of letters and materials between children from different schools is seen as one of the best ways to overcome cultural differences and facilitate inter-school collaboration.
The World Wide Web as a Communications Channel
The advent of the Internet has introduced new technologies
such as email, chat, online forums and a host of other innovative tools
to bring people from all over the world closer together. Thus, the concept
of online communities, such as schoolmaster.net, naturally lends
itself to the encouragement of classroom twinning.
How to Get Started: Two Simple Steps [top]
Class twinning is an activity that can be started at almost any time you want. It can either be short term or long term, and is best utilised as an ongoing project so that students are able to build on relationships. Findaclass.net has made the process of registering and searching for class twinning programmes as easy as possible:
One: Register for an account by providing the following details when
Two: After registering, you are able to login as a member (click on
'Sign in'). Once logged in you are presented with an accounts summary
page (home) listing:
Searching for the Right Class to Partner [top]
Findaclass.net allows you to search for class twinning candidates using a number of search criteria including: subject, type of project (email exchange, chat, online discussion), age, language and geography.
Educators can pick and choose from a wide range of activities in order to engage students in debates and discussions on current affairs, participate in multicultural dialogue, compete in online games and quizzes and build ongoing relationships through class twinning.
How to make the most of Your Class Twinning Projects [top]
Once you have registered for Findaclass.net, and any additional online communities such as schoolmaster.net, the fun really begins. Before the first emails are exchanged between students, there are a few things you should do to make the class twinning experience complete:
Designate a space in your classroom that will be used for this project. Use the space to make announcements, display letters, photographs and drawings, as well as objects that might be sent to you and anything else that might be generated in the framework of the project. Creating an 'offline' display area will entice all students to participate.
Display a large, clear and updated map of the world so that students will be able to get a sense of where they are geographically in relation to their new friends.
Prepare a letter to parents explaining the project and its multicultural learning potential. This is particularly important if you intend to involve them.
Hold weekly discussions with students about your ongoing projects and begin thinking collectively about questions to ask project participants as well as how to keep the relationships fresh and interesting (trivia competitions, photo and art projects, games etc.)
Explore how each mode of online communication - email, chat, discussion forums, web pages, project publishers etc. - can be used to facilitate your class twinning projects. Each channel has its own unique properties and offers specific advantages. Email exchanges are good for transferring and sharing attachments, chat sessions are excellent for language programmes and discussion forums are good for developing exchange threads. See what works for you. Ideally, you want to be able to use as many Internet tools as possible. There are few services besides schoolmaster.net that offer a complete suite of Internet tools.
More Helpful Hints: Things to Think About [top]
When and How Often to be in Touch?
The key to a successful twinning relationship lies in being realistic about what to expect. Once the relationship grows and each group of students becomes important to the other, communications may occur quite frequently. It is up to the two twinning teachers to determine when they would like the exchanges to occur and how often, so involvement is key!
Similarities, Differences and Unique Features of Each Group
One of the goals of class twinning projects is to help students to appreciate how much they have in common with their peers. Although differences will naturally emerge, it is the similarities and unique features of each group that should be stressed. Practically speaking, that means that educators need to think in advance about how the exchange around certain topics will highlight similarities but also illuminate uniqueness.
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