Saturday, 6 February 2010

A brief programme summary

We had a very packed 3 day programme during our visit which allowed us to explore the Basque Education system as well as see a quite stunningly beautiful part of the world and learn a little of the culture. All presentations are available on the blog. We have literally hundreds/thousands of photographs and lots of children in the schools which for obvious reasons cannot be posted here.

We visited:
  1. The Government centre in Lakua, Vitoria where we had a presentation from the Director of Educational Innovation, Luisa Garcia Gurrutxaga and Mikel Zalbide, Head of the Basque Service within the Educational Innovation Directorate. Whilst a formal presentation had been prepared Luisa established an ethos which encouraged us to ask questions and engaged us in discussion throughout the morning. We learned a huge amount from this session and it gave us a firm foundation on which to continue our learning. Equally important the warmth of our welcome helped the group come together and focus on the key aspects of our visit.
  2. Aizarnazabal Primary, a smaller rural school with composite classes
  3. Eguzkibegi Ikastola, a Model D secondary school in Galdakao
  4. Zuhaizti Primary School, San Sebastiana model D (total immersion) children age 6 months to 12 years
  5. Aitor Ikascola Primary, a Model D as above in San Sebastian
  6. A Teacher Training Centre, Artazu Goiko in Bilbao - IRALI programme
  7. Barnetegi of Segura - a "hostel" centre where children can spend a week totally immersed in learning Euskara, this is at no cost to the children's families. Here we participated in a delightful activity with the children where group members showed their individual artistic talents....there was much noise and laughter.
In addition we also visited:
  • The Church in Getaria - a beautiful 14thC Church
  • A Tourist Centre in Getaria where we learned about El Cano, the first man to sail around the world
  • The Txakoli Wine Cellar - a wine unique to the area of Gateria (only 9 hectares)
  • The Zerain Mines where Iron Ore was extracted and sent to Scotland as well as other parts of the world - a new team uniform was introduced here - see pics!
  • Dinner in a Sagardotegi in Astigarraga, a traditional Cider House named Petritegi. This was a totally unique experience for most of us.
Throughout our visit we were accompanied by Miren Jule Azurza from Unibertsitate eta Ikerketa Saila who had arranged the whole programme and was with us from early morning till we returned to the hotel late in the evening. She was most professional giving us all the necessary background as we travelled across the region but she also gave us so much more about the culture, history and the life of the peoples of the area in such a delightful friendly manner which endeared her to the whole group.

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