Colégio Dom Diogo de Sousa is a private Catholic school, situated in the northern city of Braga, Portugal. Besides being the third largest city, it is also a city with a young population. As a result, it was the European Youth Capital in 2012 and this January, 2018, it was nominated the European Capital of Sports. Our school was founded in 1949, therefore, it is a school with a great deal of tradition and history. The school has a total of 1992 students from pre-school to grade 12, in other words, many of the students begin at age 3 and leave at age 18 to enter university. It is a school that not only promotes academic success, but also invests greatly in the well-being of its students providing them with modern, well-equipped facilities, from science laboratories, an auditorium, to two indoor swimming pools, synthetic football fields, among many others. In addition, it has a stable, experienced and dedicated staff of 163 employees, from teachers to assistants and directors, whose sole interest is to help students develop in a holistic educational system (intellectually, culturally, and socially) with values and principles that respect all human beings as equals. The foreign language department will be in charge of the project, but will count on the participation of enthusiastic teachers of a variety of departments like history, geography, arts, math, biology, etc. It is the teamwork among staff and students that is the key to the success of our school, which has been in the top national ranking positions over the past years. Furthermore, our school has given great importance to the fluency of foreign languages. Besides being a Cambridge preparation centre where students start English at 4 years of age, Latin is introduced at age 8 and a second foreign language (German, Spanish or French) is initiated at the age of 10. In fact, we consider that belonging to a global society and being a member of the European community, which is in constant evolution and change, demands fluency in as many languages as possible. This will be one of many vital tools for the future that will enhance our comprehension and acceptance of other cultures, with different values, beliefs and ideals. We strongly believe that participating in this project will be a wonderful opportunity to expand/develop our teaching methodologies and experience new realities that otherwise would not be possible. It will be without a doubt a challenging experience since teaching is traditionally teacher centred and through this project we aim to help students become more self-motivated, self-disciplined and take charge of their own learning process through teamwork, as well as becoming a conscious European citizen who is eager to take an active part in their own learning process. What is more, we strongly believe that this project will help students use the knowledge they possess to its full potential, as they will become more aware of their capacities and how to apply them. With this project we hope to achieve two main targets: the improvement of students’ academic success through PBL (Project Based Learning), teamwork, autonomy and self-confidence; in a teacher’s perspective, the development of innovative teaching methods/strategies, the chance to visit schools in other countries and compare them with our own. Moreover, we hope all the participating students and teachers may ameliorate their cooperation, teamwork, planning and social relation skills.
Rua Conselheiro Bento Miguel, Braga, Portugal