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Comenius COTTAS



COTTAS – COMENIUS Meeting – October 6-10 2013 – Fermo Liceo Scientifico T. C. Onesti



Sunday, 6 October 2013

I. Tour of Fermo area: Montefalcone Appennino – Fossil Museum, Smerillo, Monte San Martino – Crivelli Polyptycs, Servigliano

Welcome dinner

Monday, 7 October 2013

I.       Participants welcomed by Headmistress and local  authorities.                          

         Tour of Fermo

Tuesday, 8 October 2013:

I)   Interdisciplinary (Mathematics – Philosophy) CLIL lesson ( Giovanna Guidone-Massimo Cupelli): “The Paradox of Infinity”


from Giovanna’s reflections: Many times during the first part of the CLIL methodological course I attended “I asked myself whether the CLIL approach to teaching could be effective in assuring high standard theoretical levels. It’s necessary to micro teach  to achieve this goal. Massimo and I  chose the logical paradoxes of the Eleatic school and the problem of summing up an infinite quantity of numbers.

We first tried to build a balanced path, interchanging some abstract talk (about ancient Greek philosophy and mathematics) with some more practical activities

Along the morning, we skipped some of the things which we had prepared, trying to adapt our path to the incoming requests. We had  surprisingly good feedback from the students, except for the fact that they were very shy when it came to talking. After the first experience, not only were students eager to have their lessons in English but they were also quite proud of it.”

II)  Partner feedback

In the afternoon, we met our European partners and we talked about their impressions and opinions about the lesson. Here I would like to summarize them. PROS: 1) they had been very impressed by the skills of the teachers and the level of the lesson; 2) they had very much appreciated the connections between mathematics and philosophy; 3) they were also impressed by the cooperation and balanced interaction between the two teachers and their enthusiasm; 4) teachers were patient and flexible; CONS: 1) the level of the language in the video was too difficult for the students, a script should have been provided; 2) the whole lesson was too long; 3) the background colour of the slides in the power point presentation was too dark; 4) sometimes, teachers gave the answer to their own questions instead of helping students to take their time to think.

We found the exchange of ideas with the European teachers very useful. As for the students, they proudly reported to other teachers that they had been very interested and pleased with this new way of learning.


  1. 1.   Does interdisciplinary teaching help abstraction processes

Yes, it broadens  students’ thinking/reflecting

broader approach

more connections to abstract themes

Interdisciplinary teaching helps because students are pushed out of their comfort zone Abstract thinking- linking to “practical” subjects

  1. 2.   Do interactive learning and cooperative learning help abstraction processes?

understand the way another person approaches a problem, make it your own, rearrange

interactive yes, but there’s a risk of “free riders”

It might be the same abstraction level if a student cooperates with other students, instead of teachers

  1. 3.    Can the teacher foster the ability of abstract thinking by arranging activities? Which kind of activities?

Force students to interact, to be active/contribute

Memory: puzzles, word games, riddles, mind maps, role play

The awareness of one’s own ability is an abstraction in itself.

This activity helps to change type/code of information (from verbal to symbolic or from abstract to concrete)

.-examples- something they know will start their (students’) thinking process

  1. 4.    Are mind maps useful in boosting abstract thinking abilities?

mind maps:  visualizing different approaches

yes, if you teach students how to use them and why

help organize ideas and show connections between different parts

-guide them through a step-by-step process (mind maps)

  1. 5.   Are there some disciplines more fitting than others to promote ability of abstract thinking?

              some are obviously more fitting, but all are possible

–             maths, physics, chemistry

–             literature, languages

–             sports_ connect two halves of the brain

All disciplines can be abstract or not

–             you must consider the different character and abilities of each class. In more active class less active games might be more useful and vice versa.

  1. 6.   Is multilingual teaching useful in improving the ability of abstract thinking?

It forces teachers and students to concentrate and bring it to the point

It can release teachers/students from being afraid to use language as a tool

It depends not on the multilingual presentation,  but on the subject. Multilingual teaching does not add too much abstraction

Multilingual teaching can boost communication abilities

Students must be able to understand all the words- pre-teaching vocabulary is essential,otherwise the “message” will not get across and students may lose motivation.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I)      Highlights of Meeting in Akranes

II)     Italian Protocol and Legislation (Pdpregarding students with special needs (Antonella Buonaiuto-Paola Ammazzalorso): 

         presentation, discussion

III)    PLA: Strategies used with students with specific learning disorders

           It is important for students to be aware, to know how to do things

           Why don’t students use their abilities in school?

           They are not so self-confident

            We have to motivate them

            We must build self-confidence by applying simple methods over and over .   

          This leads to success.

Sometimes students are taught to do things one way (rules).  In upper secondary schools students should be encouraged to try different ways to do things. They need to try “their” way.   

IV)   Enhancing Cognitive Capabilities (Edelvaise Totò)

         Presentation, worksheets

 V)   Conference:  “Textual Analysis: The Pragmatics of Reading and  the skill of Abstraction”     

Prof. Giuseppe Nori – University of Macerata

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Meeting Round-up: Feedback from Partners




  • Adventure of bilingual team teaching

           -  effort, courage to prepare and present

  • Clouds and rain
  • Edelvais’s lesson
  •  Little time for PLA questions and discussions
  • You were always by our side fulfilling even awkward wishes & kept smiling
  •  Subject of lecture did not really cover COTTAS 
  • topic
  • Good organisation


  • Excellent food






  • Giovanna & Massimo’s class
  • Too detailed, too long guided tours
  • Paola & Edelvais’s intro and activities
  •  Prof.Nori’s lecture
  • Togetherness/meals/food
  •  Keeping time schedule
  • Guided tours
  •  Long hours
  • Good work (-PLA work)







  • Bilingual interdisciplinary lesson
  •  The lecture on pragmatics of reading, textual analysis did not meet expectations
  • Presentations
  •  Missed short “presentation”of every participant at the start of the meeting
  • Organisation of meeting, food, restaurants






  • Different strategies of teaching methods
  •  Free time (afternoon)
  • Good to have insight to a different school system


  • Contact with other teachers


  • Cultural highlights


  • Competent instructors (language)


  • Organisation

- hotel


- food, drinks



Guided tour of Ascoli Piceno

 Farewell Dinner

Photo gallery



News links


Progetto europeo “Comenius Cottas”

Programma Comenius Fermo(It)


Fermo Comenius Team:

Prof.ssa Mirella Mancinelli ( German Language Teacher )

Prof.ssa Paola Ammazzalorso ( English Language Teacher )

Prof.ssa Edelvaise Totò ( English  Language Teacher )

Prof.ssa Giovanna Guidone ( Mathematics and Physics Teacher )

Prof. Massimo Cupelli ( History and Philosophy Teacher )

Prof.ssa Dall’Acqua Luisa ( History and Philosophy Teacher )

Prof.ssa Antonella Buonaiuto ( Italian and Latin Teacher )

Prof. Ruffino Gobbi ( Catholic Religion Teacher )

Headmaster: Prof.ssa Marzia Ripari