Language oriented bilateral school partnerships involve two schools from different participating countries and seek to encourage the use of European languages by giving pupils the possibility to practice their foreign language skills and acquaint themselves with the language of a partner country. Pupils involved in a bilateral partnership are expected to learn at least the basics of the language used in the partner institution. Usually pupils use a third language as their working and communication language. During the project, pupils and teachers in both countries work together on a common theme and produce a joint end product. Each participating institution must carry out a class exchange to its partner institution of a duration of minimum 10 days each and involving pupils aged 12 or older. During the class exchanges, pupils work together at school and are hosted in each others' families. The cooperation should not only be limited to the exchanges but activities should cover the whole project period.
The general aim of Comenius School partnerships is to enhance the European dimension of education by promoting joint co-operation activities between schools in Europe. The projects give pupils and teachers in different countries an opportunity to work together on one or more topics of mutual interest. School partnerships help pupils and teachers to acquire and improve skills not only in the topic or subject area on which the project is focused, but also in terms of teamwork, social relations, planning and undertaking project activities and using information and communication technologies (ICT). Participating in a partnership with schools from different countries also gives pupils and teachers the opportunity to practice foreign languages and increases their motivation towards language learning.
A reciprocal class exchange is mandatory in this project type.
Examples of other activities that can be carried out in bilateral Comenius School partnerships:
When choosing the theme of a School partnership, schools are strongly encouraged to choose any topic of interest and importance to the participating institutions, as it will be the motivating force for co-operation and learning within the project. Bilateral school partnerships could deal with thematic areas such as arts, sciences, languages, environmental education, cultural heritage, European citizenship, use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) or the fight against racism. Project activities should ideally be integrated into the regular activities of the schools and be included in the curriculum of participating pupils. Pupils should be able to be involved in all phases of the project, including the planning, organisation and evaluation of activities. If the language of the partner school is not on the curriculum of participating pupils, the school must organise language preparation of minimum 20 hours.