Otilia Moldovan teaches English at “Ioan Bob” School, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In this article she describes an activity she and her colleagues organised during the “School Day” event, which took place on 30 November 2006. The activity was a competition and made their school “a European Culture Knowledge Centre” for one day. The competition consisted of a 30 question quiz on Europe, in three languages: French, English and Romanian.
The anniversary of our school, on 30 November 2006, a day before Romania's National Day, joined teachers and pupils in a variety of events: the official ceremony, which reviewed the history of our school and remembered the name of its patron, the bishop Ioan Bob, followed by workshops, contests and exhibitions.
One of the contests was organized by a team of six teachers. The title of the activity was "The School - the European Culture Knowledge Centre". The initial idea was to devise an activity in English and French, which could help the pupils for "The Linguist Kangaroo" contest. At the stage of its creation, we added the Romanian language to each question because two of the teachers could not understand the two languages quite well.
When the quiz was ready, it was the pupils' turn to build their teams of seven members. I instructed them to choose the most skilful two of them at the computer search machines, another two of them good at selecting information in encyclopaedias, another two who could read the map and look up the unknown words in the dictionary, and one, the group secretary, who was to circle the right answers on the quiz paper. I stressed the idea of teamwork, which implied collaboration and patiently considering their team's opinions. Only when they all have finished checking, could they mark the answers.
The aims of the activity were to get the pupils to learn:
Facts about the European countries;
About the diversity of cultures;
About their Romanian identity in this diversity;
The importance of learning more European languages;
About the European Union, to which Romania was about to adhere (the activity took place in November 30th, before the 2007 enlargement);
To develop team building, team cohesion, decision taking;
To disseminate the experience which I acquired during the teacher training Comenius course in Exeter, Great Britain (2006).
The quiz took an hour and demonstrated that, the teachers and pupils managed to accomplish the main goal, namely raising European awareness by sharing ideas and feelings through a cross-curricular, cross-cultural and multi-linguistic activity. It also showed the pupils the role of learning European languages in order to better understand the European cultures. The feed-back came that very day, when one of the pupils asked “What would Wales/ le Pays des Galles/Tara Galilor be called in other languages?”