Connecting Classrooms 2019

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is a UK government and British Council education initiative. The programme enables a teacher from a UK school to take part in an exchange visit with a partner school from Africa, Asia or the Americas and for the schools to work on classroom-based projects together, with the aim of giving young people a unique and hands-on international learning experience. 
Wales and Lesotho have been twinned for 34 years and with the help and support from the charity Dolen Cymru, partnerships have been set up between many schools in the two countries and opportunities provided for strong links to be established.
Read more about the visit in this Caerphilly Observer article here 
Following a successful cluster project application, five teachers from St James Primary, Hendre Junior and Ty’n y Wern Primary visited their link schools in Lesotho during half term. Hendre and Ty’n y Wern were based in their schools just outside the capital city in Mazenod and St James visited their school in the rural area of Mohales Hoek. Each school provided very different experiences, some having no water or toilets, others with very few resources. It certainly provided challenge when teaching lessons! Each school participated in activities with their link school learning about the similarities and differences in both education and way of life between the two countries. Teachers from each of the schools in Lesotho will visit Wales in June in order to further strengthen the partnerships. Projects like these allow teachers to make learning more relevant and meaningful for their pupils and as a result pupils begin to understand and accept different cultures through first hand experiences.
Selina Edmunds visited Thabana Tso'oana Primary School:
Everything made it an amazing experience! The people are so accepting and welcoming. You are made to feel at home..and not a visitor. The resiliance, determination was just unbelievable. The want for learning in both staff and pupils is something to be celebrated. They are very proud people and display strong community spirits through both church and the school. When both our schools came together on the last day...speechless. we all felt as one! It all cemented the links, the sense of strength and determination all all sides came alive. New friendships have been formed which was lovely to be apart of. Exciting times lie ahead, the oppurtuntity to raise the profile of the links, widen the communication within the schools with different members of staff.
Serena Bounds visited Mofumahali Primary School:
One of the highlights of my visit was the beauty of the country. Our school was in the countryside - no road leading to it - and the setting was just beautiful! The sky was SO blue and the air was so clean. I slept much better than I do at home and I’m convinced it was all the fresh air, sunshine and fresh food. Most unexpected for me was how much we can learn from the Basotho people about how they live life at a different pace, not obsessed with time like we are, they are far more spontaneous and don’t seem to make plans past the next day. We learned there is no word for “late” in Sesotho. You get there when you get there! No need for ‘mindfulness’ in Lesotho. 
Bethan Jones visited Mofumahali Primary School:
The highlight has to be the people. Everyone was so interested in us and so proud of their culture - parents, other principals, staff, staff at the convent.
For me the most unexpected part was the welcome on the first day and the singing and dancing that was just a way of life. It absolutely blew me away and I’ll never forget it. Now I am trying to lead a simpler, less stressful life and be more Basotho!
Glyn Willams visited James Makhobalo Primary School:
I was welcomed into the community of Mazenod and HaJamisi with so much warmth by N'tate Lekholoane (Headteacher of James Makhobalo Primary School) his Board of Governors, staff, pupils and parents during my visit to Lesotho and working alongside these individuals to teach and celebrate our cultural similarities and differences as well as good health and well being was a privilege. The visit has been an incredible experience with memories made that I will treasure forever.  It is exciting to be able to discuss with school communities both in Wales and Lesotho in how we can further connect our classrooms globally and build on successful futures for all.
Jane Baker visited Thabana Tso'oana Primary School:
The highlight was seeing how grateful the children were for us being there. Their singing and dancing filled my heart with joy. The most unexpected part of the trip was the excellent use of English by the younger children. They were so good!! In Welsh too. I feel so lucky to have experienced this amazing trip - the children, staff, school community and even our host in the accommodation that we stayed in made us feel so welcome and were so generous. Really looking forward to sharing our experience with our school community and the reciprocal visit. 
For more information on Connecting Classrooms for Global Learning follow this link or for more information about linking your school to Lesotho email our Education Officer here.

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