Externato de Penafirme, a Catholic school historically and juridically dependent of Seminário Liceal de Penafirme, was founded after the Portuguese Revolution in 1974 with the purpose to serve the educational needs of the population of its geographic context, a rural area 60 km to the north of Lisbon next to the Atlantic Ocean, at the extreme south-western tip of Europe. In order to do so, today the school offers lower and upper secondary teaching, complementing scientific-humanistic courses (preparing for university) with professional courses. In 2017/18, there are 1701 students (349 in Upper Secondary), 137 teachers and 73 non-teaching staff members. In its educational
project, updated in 2015, Externato de Penafirme defines its mission as providing students with a personalized, demanding learning process in which education for solidarity and for local, national, European, and global citizenship occupy a central place. In order to put into practice this mission, the school has carried out European projects over the past 15 years, improving continually their quality and gaining expertise. A significant number of teachers has gained skills in the area of work with intercultural groups and organizing LTT-activities. The fact that the school defined education for
citizenship on all levels as part of its mission is a clear indicator of the strong impact of this experience on the institution as a whole. New waves of immigration to our area made us aware of the urgent need not only to find improved ways of integrating those students, also in Upper Secondary, but also new and more effective ways to help our students become truly European, democratic, critically thinking, active citizens: here we hope to learn with and from our partners. At the same time, our recent European projects, centred on innovative pedagogical experiences, have profoundly challenged our own teaching practice and motivate us to further develop this area. The pedagogical
approach of this new project (problem/challenge based learning) will build on this experience. A core group of 3 experienced teachers will be in charge of the project; they can count on about 10 – 15 colleagues with some expertise and on the support of the director and non-teaching staff. Should the coordinator have to leave, one of the core group can take over. Our specific contributions: a Southern European perspective; expertise in creating blogs and vlogs with students; expertise in organizing solidarity projects and projects of European cooperation. We have experience with certification via
Europass (Mobility) and one teacher in the core group participated in an online course about e-twinning.