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Comenius 1 Film Meeting
(Gyor, Hungary, 05-11 June 2004)

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SchoolThe film meeting was organised and attended by teachers and students from the following schools:

1. Mora Ferenz Altanalos es Kozepiskola, Gyor, Hungary
2. Lev Tolstoi Prim. & Sec. School, Sophia, Bulgaria
3. Lingva Language School, Valjevo, Serbia and Montenegro

The meeting was successfully organised by Tunde Fustos, who did not spare herself in satisfying all the different needs and requirements of her guests, and her own students and colleagues. She prepared a substantial program of presentations and on-site familiarizing with the Hungarian places of historical and cultural importance. Serbian students were accomodated at the families of their Hungarian peers, so they had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Hungarian lifestyles.

Presentations were held for the audience which consisted of students and teachers from Mora Ferenz school as well as from another Gyor partner school, in addition to Bulgarian and Serbian participants. The first presentation was given by Bulgarian participants, headed by colleague Iskra Angelova. They presented films about Sofia, Monastery of Rila, and a classroom theatre film in which students used Barbie dolls in a skit on a famous fairy tale. Iskra and her students also talked about their experiences in film shooting, and her colleague Vili, a history teacher, commented on the historical background of some of the issues covered in the films. It was amazing to see how many films Iskra has already made with her students, and as it was impossible to see all of them, our Bulgarian colleague generously gave us the CD copies and printed material so that we could watch them and use in our ELT at home.

The next presentation was a series of films under the project ''Green Impulses from Valjevo – Attachment to Nature in Lifestyles and Customs of Valjevo''. This film project comprises seven films made by 10 primary and secondary school students aged from 14 to 16. These films follow the first film project of self-protraits made by 20 students in autumn 2003, which were also sent to the project partners to be used as ELT teaching aids. The unifying theme of the ''Green Impulses'' is the close connection with nature Presentationof people from Valjevo as manifested in two major holidays of Christmas and Easter, and the family patron feast of Saint Tryphon, as well as in the traditions of hiking and picnicking in the immediate countryside, with the accent on developing awareness of the need for their preservation (Petnica Recreation Centre, Petnica Lake, the River Gradac and Pećina Park). The presenters in Hungary were three 14-year and one 16-year old student of Lingva Language School in Valjevo, in addition to their English teacher, Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlovic. The first film called the 'Yule Log' (showing celebration of Christmas by a Serbian family in a village setting) was presented in the form of a ELT demonstration lesson; Hungarian and Bulgarian students were given worksheets with activities to be done during film watching. The purpose was to see how it works as an ELT aid with students from different countries. There proved to be no major differences with respect to domestic conditions – both Hungarian and Bulgarian students of appropriate language proficiency responded to the tasks readily and effectively. The remaining films chosen for presentation were about the popular leisure facilities in Petnica and the river Gradac, which is protected by the state as natural treasure. The films got a warm reception from the audience.

The final presentation was held by the Hungarian participants. They presented a series of documentaries about the town and region of Gyor, in addition to more individual artistic creations by some of the upper secondary school students. The films covered a broad range of topics – landscapes and lifestyles in the countryside, historical and cultural monuments, local tradition in arts and crafts. Besides films, a great number of power-point presentations could also be seen. Hungarian students also made self-portraits, either in the film or Power-Point formats. A lot of special video effects were successfully used in the creations and the presenters who were chosen from among the group of more than forty students covered by the project did not conceal their pride at being given an opportunity to present their impressive worIn front of Hungarian Parliamentk to students and teachers from other countries. Their teacher Tunde Fustos, the project leader can also be proud of her students' and her own achievement in the demanding area of multimedia ELT. After the presentations, participants were received by Principal Horvath Miklos and Deputy Principal Zuber Titusz who extened their warm welcome and familiarised us with the organisation of their school. They made a point of the usefulness of international projects in which the Mora Ferenz school has taken part and expressed hope that similar projects will be continued in the future.

The other part of the programme comprised visiting the Gyor places that were presented to us in students films, including the complex of Pannohalma Benedictine Abbey. On our way to each of the places, Tunde Fustos distributed handouts of her students PP presentations so that we could learn in advance some basic facts about the places in question. The third stage was an educational tour round the towns of historic importance round the lake of Balaton. In the first town, Veszprem, formerly the place of bishopric and today of archiepiscopal importance, we were welcomed by colleague Csibi Erzsebet who kept her promise of meeting us given in Tyszafured a week before and who was so kind to take the time and tell as first-hand details about the history and present status of her town. The Serbian students immediately liked her expansive way of talking and did not hesitate to directly ask her about the things they found interest in. She had taken care to prepare a lot of brochures about Vesprem and Hungary, which she kindly gave us as a present. In addition to Veszprem, we visited Tihany, Badacsony, Szigliget, and Keszthely. The following day was dedidated to seeing Budapest and we were privileged to go on a guided tour inside the Hungarian Parliament. The guide presented us with a choice of relevant facts, in a very comprehensible English language. The rest of the day was spent in the Matthias Church and in a walk round Buda. We also attended a ballet performance and Hungarian folk dance show in Gyor.

In addition to familiarizing with the places giving testimony of the centuries of civilisation that we have also partially shared through our Vojvodina, we had a fruitful exchange of specific everyday EFL teaching issues with our colleagues Tunde Fustos, Czibi Erzebet, English language teacher Christi and German language teacher Gisella. We were introduced into a broader picture of the position of foreign languages, EFL curriculum and state examination in Hungary by Kollarne Fekete Agnes, who wrote an article about our cooperation in the school newspaper called Moraszosz.

At the end of our visit we were overwhelmed with the amount of information we received about Hungary. Serbian students had an opportunity of getting deeper insight into the way of living of Hungarian families of different social backgrounds. Our main host, Tunde Fustos, was flexible and always ready to adapt the programme to suit any particular interests of Serbian students, and she has easily gained their simpathy and respect. She proved not only to be an innovative and effective English language teacher but an educator of high ethical standards, who takes special care to give the opportunity to her underprivileged students to get involved in stimulating projects in which they can assert themselves and gain self-confidence for the future.

Tunde, Iskra and I agreed to continue our cooperation in the film making project by exchanging our multimedia materials and making new films with an emphasis on town festivals. As well as continuing to benefit in the fields of English, their own history and culture, our students will thus continue to benefit from sharing other people's cultures, ideas and attitudes and develop into more knowledgeable and broad-minded persons.

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