MFLCraft Pages

Saturday 26 December 2020

Let's teach for the BIG MATCH: Let's keep ERASMUS!

I am a passionate MFL teacher and I love teaching my native language, Spanish, but most, importantly, I am an educator. I influence lives and MFL is a wonderful vehicle  to instil tolerance, cultural awareness and break barriers among my students. MFL helps to educate global, tolerant citizens.

I see my job as a sport coach, say football: my lessons are the training sessions leading to the big football match. What is the big match? Real life experiences that allow students to put what they learn in lessons into practice. My job is to create these experiences! Why? Because we do not tend to remember our training/ coaching sessions, we remember the big real event: the football MATCH.

I believe that my students' big matches are real life situations when they will be required to put their linguistic skills to the test and learn from the experience! How do I create these experiences in the educational context? How to create experiences that are 100% memorable? Via  ERASMUS Plus supported by eTWINNING.

I have been involved in several eTwinning projects over the last 20 years and every single one of them has made a difference in my students AND my teaching.

In 2018, my school and two of our partners in Spain and La RĂ©union decided to apply for an Erasmus project. It was a one-year project, based on the heritage of our three countries and the teaching of MFL (French, English and Spanish). THE PROJECT WAS OUR SCHOOLS' BIG MATCH AT THE TIME. We did not only learn MFL in our language lessons, but we embedded our project, United in Diversity, in the delivery of such lessons. As a consequence the learning curve, motivation and impact in our students, teachers and parents were phenomenal. WE CREATED MEMORIES, FORGED FRIENDSHIPS, OPENED HORIZONS AND BROKE MISCONCEPTIONS AND BARRIERS! 

See this video footage to see it by yourselves

Or this one!

Or the parents' response to our project

The experience was so positive that we applied for a second project: The Village, which was approved for funding in September. This time a two-year project involving the teaching of the SDGs via MFL.

That's why I was in shock when I heard from our Prime Minister on Xmas Eve that Britain had willingly decided not to take part in the Erasmus scheme anymore as it is too expensive to run for the UK. Instead, he confirmed plans to launch a domestic scheme, the Turing Programme, to help British students to visit universities around the world. 

In my view, this is catastrophic news! We surely cannot duplicate a 34 year old scheme from scratch, on our own, and expect it to be cheaper and at least of the same high calibre that Erasmus is. Referring to the Turing Programme, Boris Johnson was talking about University students, benefiting from visiting the best universities around the world, not just Europe, but let's not forget that Erasmus Plus offers funding for projects involving not only higher education but also vocational education and training, schools, adult education and youth, while providing extra funding for those with disabilities.

Erasmus Plus also offers funding for activities and projects under three Key Actions: Mobility of individuals, Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices and Support for Policy Reform.  That is a big umbrella and a lot of projects and actions to benefit from! To emulate this, as effectively, sorry Mr Johnson, would require a monumental effort and capital injection and still we will be 35 years behind what we have achieved so far.

Having the Turing scheme involving, potentially, projects with the whole world, not just Europe, as attractive as it may sound, could not possible deliver the same highly wide range of activities, currently available under the three Key Actions. It seems that Boris Johnson is just focussing on Key Action 1: mobility of individuals and only under the context of higher education.

The concerns raised from a potential British scheme to substitute Erasmus were presented to the Lords Committee back in 2018. This was the summary. Such summary concluded that Erasmus presented good value for money and its strong brand, trusted reputation, and common rulebook for partnership agreements could not be fully replicated by a UK-only programme.  

It is a huge loss! Our British students, who overwhelmingly voted for Remain, are being punished by the system. School aged students will be the biggest victims. The Turing Programme may well, eventually, reach the standards of Erasmus Plus, but it will take years and years to do so. We will be failing our students in the process. We are taking the experience of the big MATCHES OUT OF OUR BRITISH SCHOOLS, especially those schools in the most deprived areas, which depend on the big MATCHES to turn lives around.

Let's act on this. We must spread the word and make a big deal of the situation: WE MUST NOT FAIL OUR SCHOOL STUDENTS, WE MUST TEACH FOR THE BIG MATCH, WHICH IS ALREADY HERE: ERASMUS.

Let's take action: share your Erasmus experience, contact your local paper and MP. Let's fight for the big match!


  1. Totally this Esmeralda..we must fight and be not do would be a bigger crime.

  2. This is very bad news for British schools and children. I heard about eTwinning and Erasmus and I totally agree with you Esmeralda!