The High School Grandis in Cuneo (North West Italy) includes a Technical School for Tourism and two state vocational schools: the Vocational Institute for Social and Sanitary Services ( courses: commercial, social-sanitary and opticians) and the Vocational Institute for Industry and Craftmanship (courses: electronics, mechanics and electrics).
The project lasted two years and it was mainly directed to students from the 4th and 5th year of the commercial and tourist courses of our Institute (about 90 students, two thirds of which took part in the mobilities). The methodology of the project fostered an active learning through practical and professional aspects and stimulated towards the acquisition and use of ‘problem solving’ strategies in real or simulated business situations through work based learning experiences .
The project carried out a total of 66 mobilities in Ireland (8 of which were performed by disable students), including:
-42 mobilities for LEARNERS (3 weeks) which represented innovative forms of work based training in the form of simulated business: the Irish partners organized job experiences and workshops useful to gain good practices and to understand the concepts of responsible business and sustainable tourism in action; furthermore business simulation activities provided cultural, technical and operative tools useful to define a students own business plan (in particular the business ideas) in the field of social business and sustainable tourism.
-16 mobilities for LEARNERS (each 8 weeks long) for internships in the field of sustainable tourism and in businesses which integrate sustainability and social responsibility to deliver long term business. Those mobilities were assigned to students attending the 4th year and to newly graduated students from our Institute, as they both needed to gain knowledge and vocational specific competences, together with interpersonal and linguistic competences, which can all help the transition to the labour market.
– 4 mobilities for STAFF (teachers) for short term job shadowing activities in responsible businesses and sustainable tourism organizations.
The experiences held in Ireland contributed to increase the awareness and sensibility towards responsible business and fostered an entrepreneurial and more responsible role through the proposal of positive models; at the same time the activities of business simulation and the analysis of innovations and opportunities involved represented an opportunity for the students to reach personal assertiveness, thus proving to be a learning method focused on the different students’needs/competences/wishes.
Once come back to Italy from their mobilities, students carried out some business plan group works where they applied their competences and knowledge in practical cases. These activities were also performed with the cooperation of some experts from two important local organisations: Conitours (tourism businesses consortium) and Industrial Union; in this way students developed some entrepreneurial ideas of responsible businesses and sustainable tourism, applying them to features and needs of the local environment.
All this represented an integral part of the students’ formative course and some CLIL lessons (business economics and tourist management in English) were carried out on the examined subjects.
Teachers, after their mobilities, have been involved in experimenting and implementing CLIL courses intended to students of the Institute. They also created some literature (e-clil teaching units on sustainable tourism) that has already been shared and that can be later used by other teachers interested in CLIL method teaching.
The experiences carried out abroad also allowed teachers to make their didactics relevant and to conform it to the labour market.
This has allowed to add an international dimension to our School curriculum also in the “daily” didactics with a great personal and professional enrichment for students, teachers and all the school community in general.