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PROF. DR. MUMTAZ TURHAN SOCIAL SCIENCES HIGH SCHOOL, ISTANBUL (COORDINATOR)

Located on approximately 5000m2 area which is very close to the airport and other means of transportation like the underground, the metro-bus line and the bus station, Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Turhan Social Sciences High School, which is a boarding school, consists of a four-storey school building, a theatre hall, a gym, several activity rooms and two dormitories, one of which is for boys and the other of which is for girls. There is a large parking area and a great garden in which students can do sports, walk around and spend some time with their friends all day. In addition to those facilities, there is a “Z Library” in which students can reach thousands of books online to do researches, write articles and surf the internet. This “Z Library” is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., which makes it possible for the students to prepare very well-organized scientific or linguistic papers and researches.

There are about 590 students -223 of them are boys and 367 of them are girls-, 46 teachers, 5 managerial personnel and 24 employees at our school. 4 of our students are visually impaired and having lessons with other ordinary students. There are about 320 students staying at these the dormitories, which enable the students to take part in after school activities like drama, sport competitions and social clubs as well as photography and handcrafts.

There are 26 classes in which there are smart boards and wifi-connection, which enables the teachers to have online lessons. Lessons start at 8:30 a.m. and generally finish at 15:30. There are five preparatory classes where the students have 20 hours of English a week. Two of our prep-classes are also studying IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education), which is an international program and prepares students for both national and international universities. This program lasts two years. At 10th grade, willing students take IB diploma program, which is a continuation of IGCSE and broadens the students’ perspectives. This program also lasts two years. Other students follow the national curriculum and are also very successful at entering national universities as well as the ones attending IB diploma programs. 

Being the first social sciences high school in Turkey, it aims at educating a new generation that is highly-qualified, open-minded, hard-working, in pursuit of scientific explanations for social events and eager to take part in social studies to find solutions to the problems that we have already faced or might face in the future. In addition to academic success, Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Turhan Social Sciences High School also concentrates on making the students spend some time with social activities like sports and art. Therefore, the students are allowed to do activities in the gym, the music room, the studio and the theatre hall both during the school hours and after school. The students also have a chance to deal with photography in the dark chamber.

Bearing in mind the aforementioned objectives and facilities, we -as the teachers and the managers- encourage our students to enquire the facts about the real world and express themselves properly through reading books, articles and papers. To make these objectives come true, since 2006, we have been applying International Baccauleara program, through which the students learn to enquire, question and be creative, become open-minded and self-confident. That’s why the students feel free to take part in any social event and both national and international projects at any time.

To sum up, since our school is a boarding school and a social sciences high school educating students to become a good member of the society, each student is encouraged to take part at least one social or scientific  project so as not to be left behind and forgotten. That is why the staff of our school thinks that growing both physically and mentally healthier generation is on the top of our priorities.  Another top priority is to make our students go to a distinguished university which will serve a function in the same purpose.

Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Turhan Social Sciences High School is a secondary school that has carried out lots of successful national and international projects since its date of foundation. Due to the fact that it is a project school, the key persons to take part in t his project are highly-qualified in terms of projects and have carried out several national or international projects. They have attended some project meetings and webinars and know how to implement a European project.

Our school successfully carried out 26 TUBITAK project, 11 national and/or international projects and 9 social projects between 2008 and 2014. Furthermore, it implemented and finalised 6 more projects between 2014 and 2016. Additionally, in 2016 – 2017 Academic year, it has applied for some national and international projects and projects and is willing to carry out some more overarching and problem solving projects. On the one hand, although our school has carried out lots of projects so far, it hasn’t implemented an Erasmus + project, which -we believe-  is very important for a school to develop multicultural and cross-cultural relations among students and teachers. That is why we would like to carry out this Erasmus + project. On the other hand, with new teachers willing to do projects like E-twinning and Erasmus + and hardworking and eager students interested in European projects and developing friendship with other nationals, we believe that we can implement this project successfully.

As it is said before, the teachers are very eager to help each of our students to get the most benefit from our school in terms of academic success and social inclusion. That is the reason why we want them to have more beneficial and enjoyable lessons and ask them to take part in any social event. However, when it comes to our visually impaired students, those ambitious teachers fail to satisfy, which makes them do more and improve their teaching skills and find solutions to this very basic and vital problem.

Today, we try to help them improve their academic success through some methods like asking them to listen or take notes, which might be called very old-fashioned or primitive. Our visually blind students usually sit in the classroom, try to take notes and speak when they are asked to. In the exams, we ask some other students read the questions and have them answer. As a result, they feel abandoned and lonely. However, we know that there are some very innovative and creative ways of teaching those visually impaired students, whick will make them involved in class atmosphere and have more fun while learning. We want those students to be real participants of the classes and be included in each activity carried out in the class. To do so, firstly, we have to understand the needs of every individual and extend the supply of high quality learning opportunities for our students. Secondly, we need to extend and develop the educators’ competences and provide some ideas and tools to be used in the classes.

 

YILDIZ TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY, ISTANBUL (PARTNER)

Yildiz Technical University is one of the seven public universities situated in İstanbul besides being the 3rd oldest university of Turkey with its history dating back to 1911. It is regarded as one of the best universities in the country, as well. Our university has 10 Faculties, 2 Institutes, the Vocational School of Higher Education, the Vocational School for National Palaces and Historical Buildings, the Vocational School for Foreign Languages and more than 30,000 students.

There are several stages that our university has passed through in its distinguished past.

Kondüktör Mekteb-i Âlisi/ The Conductors (Technicians) School of Higher Education (1911-1922)

The Kondüktör Mekteb-i Âlisi/Conductors (Technicians) School of Higher Education was founded in 1911 in order to meet the “science officer” (known previously as conductors, and today as technicians) requirement of the Municipality Public Works Section. The school was modelled on the syllabus of the “Ecole de Conducteur” and was affiliated with the Ministry of Public Works. Enrolment began on 22 August 1911.

Nafia Fen Mektebi/The School of Public Works (1922-1937)

The name of the school was changed to Nafia Fen Mektebi/School of Public Works in 1922 and the duration of education was increased to 2,5 years in 1926 and 3 years in 1931.

The Istanbul Technical School (1937-1969)

Following the increase in public facilities and the requirement for technical services, a new law was published on 19 December, 1936. According to the new regulation (law no:3074) which came into effect on 1 June 1937 the Nafia Fen Mektebi was closed and the Technical School was established to supply workforce for the gap between technical officers and professional engineers. The school had a 2-year program for technical officers and a 4-year program for engineering. The school was given buildings, which are still in use today, from the Yıldız Palace annexes and moved here.

In the early period the school had Construction and Mechanical Science departments educating students as technical officers and engineers. From the 1942-1943 semesters on, Electricity and Architecture departments were founded as part of the department of engineering. The Law dated 26 September 1941 on the transfer of the Istanbul School of Professional Engineers and the Technical School to the Ministry of Education transferred the school from the Ministry of Public Works to the Ministry of Education. The decree of the Ministry of National Education dated 7 June 1949 founded the Cartography and Land Survey Engineering Department and began education in the 1949-1950 semesters as the first institution for engineers in Turkey in this field. In the 1951-1952 semesters the department for the education of technicians was closed. In the 1959-1960 semesters a department of specialization was opened at the Istanbul Technical School which awarded the titles of professional engineer and professional architect after a year’s study.

Architectural Academy Period (1969-1982)

The school was established as an autonomous higher education and research institution with a new law (Law no. 1184) of State Engineering and Architectural Academies published on 3 June 1969. Law no. 1472 ruled for the closing of special vocational schools in 1971, and engineering schools were affiliated with the Istanbul State Engineering and Architectural Academy.

The Yıldız University Period (1982-1992)

The Istanbul State Engineering and Architectural Academy and affiliated schools of engineering and the related faculties and departments of the Kocaeli State Engineering and Architecture Academy and the Kocaeli Vocational School were merged to form Yıldız University in 1982. The new university incorporated the departments of Science-Literature and Engineering, the Vocational School in Kocaeli, a Science Institute, a Social Sciences Institute and the Foreign Languages, Atatürk Principles and the History of Revolution, Turkish Language, Physical Education and Fine Arts departments affiliated with the Rectorate.

The Yıldız Technical University Period (1992-)

Our university was renamed into Yildiz Technical University in 1992. The Engineering Faculty was divided into four faculties and restructured as the Electrical-Electronics, Construction, Mechanical and Chemical-Metallurgy Faculties and also included the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences within its organization. The Kocaeli Faculty of Engineering and the Kocaeli Vocational School were released from our university to be restructured as Kocaeli University. Today our university has 9 Faculties, 2 Institutes, the Vocational School of Higher Education, the Vocational School for National Palaces and Historical Buildings, the Vocational School for Foreign Languages and more than 30.000 students. There are 3 personnel at the dean’s office, 34 academicians and 21 managerial staff, who are professional at their jobs and experienced in projects.

NEW COLLEGE WORCESTER, WORCESTER, THE UK (PARTNER)

 

We are a national residential school and college for young people aged 11 to 19 who are blind or partially sighted.  We currently have 74 students.

Every student at NCW has a tailored programme, carefully planned and delivered to meet their individual needs in three key areas; academic achievement, independent living skills and involvement in extracurricular activities at the College and in the community.

The opportunities provided to students in these three areas of provision play a crucial role in the development of confidence and self-esteem and preparation for life beyond our College.

New College Worcester provides:

  • Academic focus for students with a visual impairment

  • Expert subject teachers qualified to teach the visually impaired

  • A ‘Waking Day’ curriculum – learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school day

  • An individualised approach for every student

  • An ethos which puts students first

  • A robust safeguarding environment

  • Increased student employability through academic achievement and social skills

  • High aspirations for every person

  • Outreach Service offering training and advice to mainstream settings

The College prides itself on:

  • Providing opportunity for the academically gifted

  • Maximising educational outcomes for all visually impaired children

  • Fitting each student with skills for life that result in them being independent, self-confident and able to lead productive and fulfilled lives

The College accepts students with a wide range of visual impairments and some students have additional needs such as a hearing impairment, Asperger’s Syndrome or have limited mobility. Places are usually funded by the student’s Local Authority.

NCW Students have a wide range of academic ability following the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3, following onto GCSEs and AS/A2 courses. The College offers some entry level and vocational courses in key stage 4 and 5 and some 6th formers follow vocational programmes at a local college supported by NCW staff. Students also have Independent Living Skills (ILS), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mobility, Braille and PE lessons, and some students follow ASDAN courses (personal, social and communication skills).

Accommodation for years 7 to 11 is in one of three junior houses, each with several bedrooms, dedicated residential staff, a study room, sitting room and communal kitchen – staying as full or weekly boarders, or attending daily. Once in sixth form students in the sixth form house or hostel are encouraged to be self-sufficient and independent, in preparation for their journey beyond NCW.

Location:

The college lies close to junction 7 of the M5 motorway and is within an hour of Birmingham airport.  Worcester has two railway stations - Foregate Street, which is in the city centre and close to the bus station, and Shrub Hill which is in the eastern area of the city.

 

SPECIAL THEORETICAL HIGH SCHOOL "IRIS", TIMISOARA, ROMANIA (PARTNER)

Special Theoretical High School “IRIS” from Timisoara, founded on September 1st, 1962, is a school for students with a wide range of visual impairments and blind students. We are the only school for visually impaired students in the West of Romania and currently, 230 students are attending our school, 40 of them being blind students. Also, besides students with visual impairment, in our school are learning and other associated impairments (Down syndrome, Autism, Mental and Physical Disorder). Furthermore, the institution has 75 teachers, all of them being specialists in specific areas. Our students (aged 3 to 19) are from preschool, primary school, secondary and high school. 

In our institution we have different specialist educators and psycho-pedagogues teachers, specialized in preschool and primary-school education, as well as psychologists specialized in different therapies: visual education, school counseling therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and Braille language teachers. Also we have teachers for regular classes (teaching Math, Romanian language, English language, Biology, History, etc.).

The students with visual impairment study the national curriculum, this allowing them to graduate high school and further attending Bachelor studies. We are proud of the ones who have already obtained Bachelor degree in different fields. 

During high school, a few of them have even good results in school competitions. Students with visual impairments and other associated disabilities benefit from adapted curricula and they learn based on individualized educational plans.

Students from our school have classes in the morning and they are doing their home works during the afterschool programme. Also, during the after school programme they benefits from special activities and therapies (occupational therapy, play therapy, socialization activities, personal autonomy development etc.).

Our school has a material base adapted for students with visual impairments: Braille machines, thermoformed printer, 3D printer, various IT software for blind students etc.

We have a generous and well organized space ensuring the safeness of our students.

Besides classrooms, our school has a boarding school, a canteen and a sports complex.

Our institution participated in various international projects:

• "The Global Campaign for Education" (CGE) – aiming at diminishing the global crisis in education;

• "Environmental Online" (ENO) - a global virtual school for sustainable development. The program approached topics in the fields of climate change, ecology etc.

• "This is our time”- schools across the globe performed local or online activities having as main theme “the time”;

• “STEP”, students` entrepreneurial skills development. The students worked in teams (including blind students), to make different handmade products which were sold afterwards.

What are the activities and experience of the partner organisation in the areas relevant for this project? What are the skills and/or

expertise of key persons involved in this project?

Our school is involved in activities and projects aiming at the students` professional competencies development.

Our experience is demonstrated in the following areas:

- Education of the students with vision impairment;

- Braille language;

- Education and mental development by sensorial stimulation;

- Space orientation and mobility techniques for independence;

- Education for low vision students;

- Physical therapy;

- Speech-Language therapy;

- School Counselling Therapy;

- Training activities;

- ICT – Information and Communication Technology;

- Art Therapy and non-formal activities (painting, theatre, puppet theatre, kitchen, gardening, swimming)

     All the activities in our school focus on students' social skills development and social integration. We are very interested in our professional development and in the improvement of our teaching methods. Therefore, being partner in national and international projects is one of our main purpose. We have already taken steps in fulfilling this objective, such as:

- attending the course (in Comenius Program) “Teaching and learning strategies combining games and technology in the classroom" (2013) - Madrid, Spain;

- International experience exchange, through the programme Foreign Academic  & Cultural Exchange Services (FACES), one of our teachers taught students with special needs in the USA during a school year.

 

     Our goal is to develop to our students independent abilities for their life through their own learning experiences. Therefore we have different partnerships with local institutions where our students attend activities like:

- Partnership with Philharmonic Orchestra from Timisoara - the students have possibility to enrich their knowledge about music and to do music therapy;

- Partnership with Aqua Arena from Timisoara – the blind students attend the swimming courses and medical gym;

- Partnership with Horse Emotions – in which the students with visual impairments attend hippo therapy. This helps them to increase emotional, sensorial and physical development.

      Our teachers are  interested in sharing their own experience about working with visual impairments children and, in the same time, they are looking forward to learn by the others experience about the methods and instruments used in teaching.