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JEARN20周年記念:ご挨拶   記念ロゴ >   シンポジウム   Article Series "Real Voices" 世界をつなぐ!教員ネットワーク
Article Series
"Real Voices" No.1  ROMANIA
Connecting the World! Teachers' Network News
Real Voices of iEARN Teachers Around the World
The year 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of JEARN established as an official NPO in Japan.
To celebrate this memorial year, J
EARN launched a monthly interview series "Real Voices" to deliver the real voices of iEARN teachers from around the world. Each article introduces school systems of each country and region, daily efforts of teachers and staff, and the development of students for global competence and citizenship.
Folk Costumes Around the globe iEARN project

Cornelia Platon

iEARN Teacher

Public High School English Teacher


Ms. Cornelia Platon from România

What school or organization are you working at?
Alexandru Papiu Ilarian High School in Dej, Romania.

Alexandru PapiIlarian High School Dej Romania

ENO Tree Planting Day project
How many years of experience do you have as a teacher?
32 years of teaching.
What subject do you teach?
English Language.
What is the compulsory education system in your country? At what age does compulsory education start and end?
Ages from 6 to 16 are compulsory.
When does the school year start and end in your country?
It depends, usually it starts in September and ends in June.
Is Alexandru Papiu Ilarian High School a public school or a private one?
It‘s a public school.
How many students are there? Any diversity in ethnicity, cultural background or native languages?
There are around 600 students, almost all have Romanian nationality, Romanian language being their mother language.
What are some characteristics of the school? 
The school has middle school classes (5-8) and high school classes (9-12). There are classes with intense English teaching specialty and sports specialty for middle school. “Sport specialty” means that besides the normal curriculum, the students practice every day volleyball (boys) and basketball (girls). There are 2 classes/level. At high school there are two different profiles: theoretical and vocational. The theoretical profile covers 3 types of classes with different specialties: A. Intense teaching of computer science, B. Natural sciences with intense teaching of English language, 3. Bilingual French language teaching. The vocational profile consists in a class with 2 different sports: volleyball for boys and basketball for girls. The students are very good at these sports, our teams being national champions at all age categories.
What are some of the options for students to consider after graduation? 
Most of the students continue their education at different universities, very few start working and even those continue their studies online at university
How many years of experience do you have in iEARN? What iEARN projects have you done with your students? 
26 years in iEARN. Many projects: Folk Costumes Around the Globe, Laws of Life, Aspects of Love, A Vision, Lewin, Special Places, Local History, Recipes Book, Medicine in My Backyard, Teddy Bear, Christmas Cards, iMagzz, etc. and many Learning Circles sessions. 
Which ones are most popular among your students?
I have participated in many iEARN projects during the years, so many of them were important for my students, as I could integrate them into curriculum at my English classes. Yet, some of the most important ones are: Folk Costumes Around the Globe, Laws of Life, Holocaust/Genocide, Flowers and Symbols, Lewin, Aspects of Love, A Vision, Year 1945, Special Places, Local History, My Hero, iMagzz, Girls Rising, Recipe Book,  and many sessions of Learning Circles. 
ENO Treeplanting Day
Which ones do you feel are most successful?
All mentioned above were successful because they could be integrated into my curriculum, the students could be evaluated for their work and the projects offered the students a chance to do research, find out interesting things directly from the real sources (their partners) and they could interact with one another, could give feedback to their project work, and the entire project work took place on the projects' forums. All these covered all the characteristics of a real project work and cultural exchanges.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your school or your students?
Yes, since March 2020 till June 2020 we were online, from September 2020 till June 2021 we were online and hybrid, according to the rate of infection. 2021-2022 was normal school with presence, excepting 2 compulsory one-week vacations when the danger of a new wave of covid appeared.

Folk Costumes project Zoom meeting

Yukata Origami workshop in partnership with students from Tokyo

Regarding the use of ICT, is One-to-One PC being done in your school? Do your students take those devices home? Do you use them for online classes?"
The students who needed devices were given tablets and they could keep them until the end of the school year. Now all the students have their own PC, laptop or tablet. We don't have online classes now.
Were there any major changes after the pandemic?
Yes, there were important changes, both for students and teachers. I may say that there are changes in the students' habits, behavior and attitude towards learning. Some of them find quite difficult to cope with the requirements of the teachers (too much homework), heavy curriculum, too many classes per day (6-7), and the pressure of the national exams. Even to stay so many hours in their desks is demanding, but gradually they are getting used to it again.
The teachers have to cope with the students' change of attitude, the pressure of the exams, the old and heavy curricula, the change of the school year structure starting from this school year, and many other challenges.

What do you feel are some advantages or disadvantages of ICT use in class?
There must always be a balance in using the ICT in the class. According to the type and the objective of the lesson the teachers can choose how much ICT is needed in order to make the lesson more attractive for students and to motivate the students to be more involved in the lesson. Also it might depend on the subject, some subjects can become better understood by students if the ICT is properly used, while other subjects need more explanations and added value given by teachers, however the teacher is the one who can decide according to many factors that come together and become particular according to the class, students, etc.
Did students like online classes during the pandemic?
Most of the students didn't like online school for many reasons. The most important reason was the lack of socializing with their colleagues, the difficulty they had in understanding the subject taught online, the lack of human interaction in all ways. Some of them didn't have good devices and a reliable internet connection, which led to a lack of motivation to some of them.

What are your current challenges in teaching or managing ICT-led classes?
I retired last September, I only work with students in online projects, as a volunteer. While I was teaching I didn't encounter any challenges, because I have used the new technologies since 1995-1996, when integrating them into curriculum was in its pioneering phase. Also, being a teacher of English I had a lot of resources offered by British Council and other institutions, so for me using the ICT was easy and enjoyable.
Could you give any messages to teachers in Japan?
My deepest respect and the best regards to all teachers in Japan.

The iEARN Teacher interviews are part of a series of articles by JEARN entitled "Connecting The World! Teachers Network News" starting with the January 2023 issue in a Japanese monthly magazine for educators, Cresco (Otsuki Shoten Publishers here).

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