Inter-school correspondence is more than a mere pedagogical technique as it places the children in a position of real communication. The resulting school assignment is no longer some arbitrarily imposed homework but a human activity motivated by peer exchanges.
School correspondence requires as well as creates some kind of welcoming climate, an atmosphere of listening and tolerance that the cooperation and interaction between every pupil in the class encourages. It gives the children the opportunity to look at their own environment with a fresh and critical eye and from various perspectives: social, cultural, political and ecological. School correspondence fosters natural learning while allowing the child to open up to the outside world. Our young children use all the forms of communication available today with internet and the new media.
It is in this context that the Thai team of La Chaîne de l’Espoir has initiated an exchange between two year 4 classes of Ban Thanon school in Thailand and Louis Moreau elementary school in Massy (Essonne, France). The main objectives of this pilot project, which could later be extended to the other partner schools of La Chaîne de l’Espoir in Thailand, are as follows:
- Foster cultural openness, opportunities to share, listening skills and sense of tolerance
- Practice the English language learned (situation of real communication)
- Further develop an interest for writing and reading
- Encourage a positive use of media among young people
A couple of exchange sessions have already been organised between our young pen pals. The programme included:
- Powerpoint presentation of the two schools and the services they provide (canteen, sickbay, library, sports equipment...)
- Individual presentation of the children in English using a self portrait
- Basic notions of the geography of both countries
- Verbal exchanges in English on French and Thai culinary traditions illustrated by a favourite dish
Exchanges will continue all along the school year according to defined objectives while adapting to the needs and desires of the children through varied activities such as hand-written letter, videoconference, role plays or song learning in English.