Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
"I have never travelled by air. It was such an exciting experience for me. In fact, the entire trip was like a dream to me!” said Samia Islam Suchi from Willes Little Flower School when asked about her experience of a visit to the UK under British Council's Connecting Classrooms Project.
Recently, five students from five Dhaka schools have been to their partner schools in Isle of Wight, UK from 4-11 July as part of their international school partnership work Connecting Classrooms. British Council is supporting this kind of partnerships for the last two years along with another more 17 cluster partnerships across the country. In this visit one student from each school, Farhan Muhtadi Rahman from Govt. Laboratory High School, Sunehra Tasnim from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Fariha Reza Khan from Udayan Uchcha Madhyamik Bidyalay, Samia Islam Shuchi from Willes Littles Flower School and College and Mehnaz Hossain Antora from Agrani School and College, got the opportunity to visit three different schools in the Isle of Wight. The three schools were Green mount Primary School, Mayfield Middle School and Ryde High School. The teachers who accompanied these students on the exchange programme were Najmus Sehar, Assistant Teacher from Viqarunnisa Noon School and A.K.M Abdul Matin, Assistant Teacher from Udayan Uchcha Madhyamik Bidyalay.
On returning to Bangladesh, the students of these schools were asked to share their experiences in UK with the teachers, students and friends of their respective schools. Each one had something to share or implement into their school's education system. They talked about the education style in the UK schools, how the students interacted in class, their classroom environments, etc. Further on, they spoke about how they prepared and presented papers on their own schools in the UK schools they visited. Samia from Willes Little Flower School and Fariha from Udayan Uchcha Madhyamik Bidyalay prepared power-point presentations on their schools. On top of that, they participated in cultural programmes in the three schools which further strengthened their bonding with the students of their partner school. Moreover, they also shared power-point presentations on the issues history and culture as part of their ongoing collaborative curriculum project.
“They were so surprised to see Henna, they all wanted to decorate their palms with the beautiful colour of Henna”, mentioned Sunehra Tasnim of Viqarunnisa Noon School. In addition, they also talked about their visit to famous places like, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Globe Theatre and many other places of astonishing beauty and historical significance. At last, when these students were asked about how they could implement the UK education techniques (which they experienced) into the Bangladeshi education system, they shared a handful number of points. They suggested on building a friendly student-teacher relationship, enhancing the quality of teaching-learning by interactive group discussions, implementing multimedia and visual aids for better understanding and improving the classroom environment.
The Connecting Classrooms project aims to provide a platform to students for collaborative curriculum projects through which they will develop the skills necessary for the challenge of 21st century, the professional development of the teachers, school leadership, policy dialogues and social action are other aspects of Connecting Classrooms project. It also harbours a thriving cross cultural relationship between students through the means of a website titled 'Bangladesh Project' where the Dhaka and Isle of Wight students can create blogs and write on various issues. Such exchanges enable students to develop creative ideas, exchange of experiences and implementation of wide range of ideas for the betterment of their county and education system.