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Riga Secondary school Nr. 13

Riga Secondary School Nr. 13 is situated in the very centre of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Our school was built in 1951. Our students receive compulsory education and graduating from the Form 9 - they receive a certification for an education. If they want to continue their studies and then receive a document of a secondary education, they can continue education in our socalled "gymnasium" classes (Form 10 - Form 12). Our school is one of the leading schools in Riga. Our staff is able to guarantee a good level of education and usually our graduates enter Latvia and other State High Educational Establishments.Our students are among winners of different subject competitions organized in our district and our country. Our students can gat not only a good education in our school but to develop their creative abilities in music, art, dancing and sports. There is a great variety of out of class activities in our school. The language of teaching not only in Russian but in Latvian, too. Some subjects are taught in state language - in Latvian. Our students have possibilities to study several foreign languages such as English, German and French. Our teachers have good education and continue their education professional competence in different courses and seminars. We have 13 masters of art among our teachers, worked out their Our school is involved in various international projects. Our school can be proud of its traditions. Every spring students of our school take part in a very interesting concert dedicated to Mother's Day. Every December choose the best girl in every form. This action is dedicated to the day of St. Lucia. After the beautiful ceremonial nomination the girls and group of students with presents visit the pansion for orphans or the old persons worked for many years as teachers. Teachers and students organize special weeks of languages, history, mathematics and natural sciences. Students demonstrate their success.

Riga Secondary School №13 – Latvia  In Latvia we have a subject called Social Knowledge in the 1st till 9th grade (age 7-16). Here the students are taught about the rights and duties of a person in the society; to develop in a person the skills to act according principles of morality; to be tolerant and be able to understand the variety of communities. During the process of acquiring the main topics of this subject – the attention of students is focused on understanding of social and political processes in Latvia, Europe and the World. One of the goals is to show the students the variety of activities in social and political life. At the same time one of the aspects is to inform the students about laws, political organization and rules of the Latvian Society.  Ethics – that is the subject for students of 1st grade (age 7). It is only 1 lesson per week. The teacher discusses with the students the main rules of moral (what is good and what is bad). As Latvia is the country where you can find representatives of 3 different churches – Protestant, Catholic, Greek orthodox and at the same time a lot of families are atheists, so at school we do not have lessons in Religion. But during the course of education the teachers of History, Literature, Social Knowledge, Visual art, Natural Sciences discuss the ideas expressed by the church.  The lessons of IT are an obligatory part of the school curriculum from 5 th grade till 7th grade (age 11-13) and from 9th till 12th grades. The main goals of IT: - to teach students to be an equal member of the modern society of information technology; - to be able to acquire the main principles and skills of usage; - to teach students to use IT in receiving experience in intellectual work.

 Foreign languages – English is taught from the 3rd grade. German/or French – is taught from 10th grade (this year we start to teach French from 4th grade (optionally).  School parliament - every class has a representative in the Parliament from 5th grade. The members of the Parliament elect the President of the Parliament. There is also a representative of a teacher’s staff. Their task is to organize: out of class activities, school meeting and parties. Being a member of School Parliament every student has a possibility to master his/her social and citizenship skills.

Citizenship – Globally What is citizenship? Citizenship is a moral position, as expressed in the sense of duty and responsibility of the person before the civil community to which he belongs: the state, family, church, professional or other community, a willingness to uphold and defend against any infringement of its rights and interests. First of all, citizenship means the awareness of their involvement in the homeland, its people, its origins and roots. It is one of the essential moral values of a gentleman who loves his homeland. Local citizenship is the first step towards the notion of “Citizenship Globally”. The feeling of freedom gives a person ability to feel himself as a citizen of the world. And at the same time it gives the feeling of respect – to the laws and public institutions. Another very important moment is that “Citizenship Globally” gives strength for the manifestation of human dignity in all situations and gives confidence in choosing the right targets and legal methods to achieve them. How to develop “Citizenship Globally” at school, what recommendations should be suggested? Manifestations of citizenship in everyday life – at the lessons Constitution (the constitution of each country recorded the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed to citizens), Legislation, Literature, Family Education (citizenship begins with the love of the family), Society (lack of national, racial, religious discrimination in the society), Education (knowledge of the law, history, culture), Work on Yourself (careful attention to itself, the conscious cultivation of respect for the law, the legal and moral norms accepted in a society; interpersonal relationships. These are main points to be included for the discussion with students.


Different age groups could be organized various activities.  Latvia – Ministry of Education together with Microsoft Latvia and European Volunteers Year (EBDY) organized a discussion “Active citizenship and eskills” (1 March 2011).

The aim of this discussion

- to give citizens

possibilities to be involved in the process of accepting political decisions, to attract attention to the volunteers’ work. The group of students of our school attended this event and being inspired with the ideas the organized a project at school – “Join the volunteers’ movement”.  Project weeks dedicated to the problems of citizenship.  Power Point Presentation about actual events in the political and social life of different countries in EU.  Travelling exhibitions – collection of visual materials informing about life, culture, traditions of countries in EU.  The use of IT for exchanging of views and information about current events in different countries (Facebook, Twitter).  “Round tables”, discussions, meetings, students’ conferences on the urgent topics with the invitation of active politicians, scientists, journalists.  International Cooking Day – a day when kids can prepare some traditional food from different parts of the world. At the same time while selling the products they may collect money for those in need and give the money received to the charity.  If it is possible for the school it may organize Foreign Cinema Week. So students for a week or more may watch the movies that are characteristic for a particular country and discuss them. At the same time they may prepare questions to be asked connected with the history or social studies.  Students may try to find more information about foreign kids for whom studying may be a very difficult task and help him/her by collecting money for school equipment and fees.  RECYCLING 

They may prepare an exhibition of their art work and sell the pieces of art to gather funds for buying trees to be planted by the school.

Prepare a leaflet about vandalism.

Prevention of bullying among students Rules and laws All activities aimed on prevention of bullying among students are based on definite legal acts and rules. One of the main official documents at school are – Rules and Regulations of Order at school and Children`s Rights Protection Law. Every teacher is informed about these documents and use it in his/her everyday work with children. It is the task of a teacher to acquaint parents with these documents at class meetings. The message of these documents is – the student should act according to accepted in a society norms of moral and ethics. The student should be responsible for his/her behaviour at school; it is not allowed to act in a such way that it could affect somebody`s honour and dignity. It is forbidden to influence somebody psychologically, to humiliate other students. Once a week (there is a definite day according to the time-table) there is a classlesson in every form. The class teacher discusses different topics with the students and at the beginning of the school-year several class-lessons are dedicated to this problem – “Your duties and rights as a student”, “How to solve the conflict situation”, “You are not alone”. The topics of these discussions depend on the psychological situation in the class, the age of the students, their problems etc. The supporting service – In order to support teachers and administration in their preventive work with the students and their parents we have such specialists at school as: a psychologist, a social teacher and a speech therapist. A psychologist has definite time for individual consultations for students, their parents and teachers. The class teacher could invite the psychologist to meet with the class and to have a lecture/a talk/a discussion on the urgent topic. Psychologist could give professional recommendations to the administration and other interested persons in complicated cases. A social teacher – her role is very important, she is a person who solves the conflicts (student  student; student  parent; student/-s   teacher); she is specially trained, she is confident and

she has definite rights and duties. Social teacher has rights to communicate with the Police. The School Parliament – There is a group of students in the School Parliament – 3 students form 9 – they are those persons who try to solve the problems of students on their own level. The main features for them to be confident and really interested in helping, positive. According to our positive experience of solving the problems of bullying or prevention of bullying we can present the following scheme:

Level of Actions

Solution The conflict is positively settled. The offender

Acquaintance with the situation; talks




feels sorry

a for his deeds and apologizes.

victim, and offender. The conflict is positively settled. The students Talks with members of school solve the Parliament



the conflict by themselves.

offender. The






Talks, individual meetings with a together with psychologist,

the psychologist listened to both sides and


found the right solution.




investigation, The detailed evaluation and analysis. Parents



evaluation – a social teacher, a administration are informed (in written form). class teacher, parents,

In some cases

victim and offender.

the offender could be punished – an official

reprimand. In a very serious situation – the Police is informed.

If we have cases of bullying at school mainly they are solved on the level of class teacher or School Parliament, but sometimes a social teacher is the main person in solving the problem. If we want to have a positive, friendly and devoting atmosphere among students of different age, social status and nationalities, we have to work constantly in explaining the sense of rules of living in a modern multinational and multicultural civilized society.

Social skills in the classroom The school subject “Social Knowledge” is included in school curriculum for 1-9 classes since 2005. The students are provided with workbooks for every class. The teachers acquired additional professional education in order to be teachers of this subject. The students of 1-9 classes have one lesson per week. The motivation and aim of introducing this subject in the school programme – as we live in the modern society which has the tendency to change very quickly and these changes influence the person’s life in the personal and professional aspects. These changes could be positive or dramatic;







economical situation in the country, in the world. One of the most important problem for the young generation is – to be informed about the new social relations and tendencies in the society (especially in the past-soviet society), to find the proper place in the labour market, to be able to offer own knowledge and skills, to integrate in modern political and economical interrelations. At the same time the new generation should not lost the ethical and moral traditions and values. The civil society is formed of socially responsible and at the same time critically thinking personalities. For realization of the conception of “Social Science” as a school subject it is necessary: The professional competence of a teacher His/her readiness to master the variety of study methods applied during the lessons or out of class activities.

The teachers of our school are sure that it is very important to give students possibilities to express their point of view, to use their experience, to demonstrate their skills in analysing, making conclusions and to formulate their own position. The teachers’ task is to create positive, friendly atmosphere during the lesson, be tolerant,









belonging, race), to stimulate students to express their own vision of the world. These are main principles when planning and organizing activities during the lesson and after it. The teachers applied various interactive methods of teaching during the lessons such as: Role-plays Brain-storms Discussions Projects Essays Interviews Excursions PP presentations Participation


events organized by school Parliament, City organizations Student’s portfolio Student’s diary Self-evaluation Student’s Portfolio – is a very popular activity among young students; they include drawings, photos, lists of literature, important notes etc. PP presentations, Projects, Self-evaluation, discussions – these forms are very popular with students of forms 7-9. Offered topics for the discussions: 1-3 classes


My school, my classmates.

We and Latvia. Me and my time. What I wish and what I could. How to understand myself and others. 4-5 classes

- The rainbow is beautiful. My family. How to understand other persons and live together. How to live long.

6-7 classes


I am a part of the world. My rights and duties. We are the same and different. The place where we live and work.

8-9 classes


My inner world. I in the world of values. I am not alone. The rules and laws of the labour market. I and my responsibility. My country in the world.

School Parliament School parliament represents one of the main component of the school body as a whole. If we look back in the history of the development schooling in our country we can state thet such an organization of students always existed starting from the beginning of the 20th century. But what about nowadays and our school. Every year (in September) every class started from 7th are discussing the possible activities that could be realized during the school year and possible candidates who could be the leaders, organizators and ‘souls’ of of these activities. Traditionally every class offers 1-2 candidates for the School Parliament. These persons usually form the School Parliament. We teachers are also occupied with the idea – who could be the adviser, mentor of School Parliament. It seems natural such union of a techer and a group of students – the teacher could formulate the most urgent and necessary activities from the point of view of teacher’s staff and students – to formulate and propose their ideas and views on the processes that take place at school. One of the main moment is to find a compromise and create a strategy of realization of planned actions. The advantages of this union:  The developing of feeling of responsibility in students  The readiness to share solution of problems  To be active, industrious, creative for the welfare of the school  To develop features of a real citizen – to live the life of the community The main activities of School Parliament:  Organizing of school parties, concerts (programms, participants, musical equipment, promoting, advertising)

 Sports events’ organization  To support school traditions – Christmas party, Russian Ball, St.Valentine’s day, Mother’s day, The Last Bell (for students of forms 9 and 12)  Charity activities – concerts and food presents for teachers’ pensioners, for children from Speacial Needs Schools, for the old persons’ pansion.  Consultations for students of our school who have various problems (in studies, in relations with classmates etc.)  Working out recommendations for improving work of the school canteen ( variety of healthy food)  Planning of repairing work in classrooms during summer holidays and decoration of the playground and school yard. The work in School Parliaments is a voluntary work, it takes personal time of a student, his/her energy; so during the school year it could be changes in the staff. At the end of the school year the work of the School Parliament is analyzed and evaluated by the students and the teachers. And new goals for the next year are worked out and discussed by the students. In August we have the traditional meeting of the teachers and administration of the School. The idea of this meeting – analysis of school achievements and problems,



activities School Parliaments are discussed and the role of the



evaluated. Recommendations for the next school year are worked out by the staff and fixed in the school plan.

Encouraging the creativity among students and Implementation creativity in lessons in our school Development of creative abilities of students in our school is carried out in the classroom as well as after school. Depending on the desires and abilities of students they have a choice of classes: music, chess, drama club, math club, visual arts, home economics, dance, etc. We live in the modern society, which has the tendency to change quickly and these changes influence the learning method at school. A few years ago teachers often used the passive method of teaching. This method of interaction between students and teachers provides the teacher is the principal manager of the lesson, but the students play the role of passive subject to the directives of the teacher. This method does not allow students to demonstrate their abilities. Now the democratic society requires people who can think creatively, be brave enough to solve the problems by themselves. The teachers of our school are sure that it is very important to give students possibilities to express their point of view, to use their experience, to demonstrate their skills in analyzing, making conclusions, to express their thoughts competently. So the teachers of our school use the interactive method of presenting new material. Interactive method is a form of interaction between students and teachers, in which teacher and students interact with each other during the lesson and the students are not passive listeners but active participants of the lesson. In an interactive lesson a teacher and students work on equal terms, this lesson involves democratic style of communication. The students talk to each other in the lesson, argue with each other and as a result come to the right decision on their

own. The teacher only directs the activities of students the goal of the lesson. For realization of this conception it is necessary: 

Rather high level of professional competence of a teacher;

His/her readiness to master the variety of study methods applied during the lesson activities.

The teachers, task is to create friendly atmosphere during the lesson, to be tolerant to the opinions of students, to stimulate students to express their opinions.

There are main principles when planning and organizing activities

during the interactive lesson. The teachers of our school applied various interactive methods of teaching during the lesson such as: 

Creative tasks and experiments;


Educational games;




PP presentations;

Brain- storms;

Lab works

Collecting information through the Internet and classification of it.

The interactive lesson consists of several important stages. The Interactive Lesson’s Structure using our teachers in their work Lesson’s stages

Stage’s time


No more than 5% of the lesson’s time

Formulation of learning outcomes About 5% of the lesson’s time Obtain the necessary information

About 10% of the lesson’s time

Execution of interactive tasks the About 60% of the lesson’s time main stage of the lesson

Introspection received



knowledge About 20% of the lesson’s time



evaluation) One of the most important stages is




received by students. At this stage the students examine their new knowledge, how they managed to use




their point of view, to demonstrate their skills in analyzing and making conclusions. Preparing the creative tasks takes the bigest part of time in preparation for the lesson. However, the teachers of our school successfully cope with this problem. For example: 

In maths lessons when the students study symmetry they are asked to recall the symmetrical objects by nature. Students draw dragonflys,



butterflys, chestnut,

lilac flowers. When the students study solid geometry, they make different paper cubes, pyramids, cones, boxes, and then collect the figures of little people. 

In physics lessons the students make a lot of experiments. During the experiments

students learn to work on their own: making up a problem,

putting forward the hypothesis, inventing

the course of the experiment,

making conclusions and then presenting the results. When students study topic “Simple Mechanisms they are asked to make plasticines blocks and build a pyramid as ancient Egyptians did.

The inclusion of students in communicative creative activities helps them to become active, independent and diversified and make them competitive in the labour market in future. In conclusion we can say that it is impossible to imagine modern school and modern system of organizing study process without these main elements of implementation creativity at the lesson. At the same time we understood it needs special preparation from the teacher – “a new glimpse on the structure of the lesson�.

EXTENDED COMMUNITY Our school is situated in the very centre of Riga. This autumn we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the school. During all these years the school demonstrated the high level of education, we are well known in our city. Every school year we have new students not only for Forms 1 but for other forms too. This






students from the age of 7 till 19. The teachers team tries to make the life of the students interesting and various not only at the lessons but after them too. We have created programmes aimed to develop students’ interests, skills and talents in After Lessons Clubs. If a student wants to widen his/her knowledge in study subjects he/she can







Chemistry, Physics), Languages Club (English, French, German). Such Clubs as











group School





Museum, Outdoor Sport Games, Chess are very popular among our students of different age. The goal of these clubs is not only to develop students’ skills, interests but to develop the student as a personality, to help him to find his

future profession. The Clubs give a unique opportunity for students to present themselves in different competitions, exhibitions, shows organised not only at school but in the city and that is a great experience. Our students members of Theatre Club organise performances not only classmates but also in the nursing home for elderly persons in our district.

Our singers organised concerts for

parents, small kids who attend pre-school classes. Young painters decorate school for Harvest Holiday, Christmas and Easter. To extend community - it means to open the doors of school and meet with interesting persons who can talk about their life experience, their work and their successes. Every Tuesday after the lessons our students have such an opportunity to meet politicians from Riga Dome, officers from Ministries, businessmen, officers from Embassies, our former students (doctors, engineers, scientists, painters, journalists). These meetings are very popular, the students collect information before the meeting and then they are eager to ask questions. The activities of After Lessons Clubs, Meetings on Tuesday these are means to widen students’ horizons, to build a bridge between school and community.

Intercultural Competences Our school actively introduces in study







competences which correspond with the essence and goals of the definite school subject, our teachers try to integrate depict






which cultural

diversity. The




intercultural competences are from recognizing the other culture and upbringing tolerance till analysis of own system of values and looking for new forms of behaviour. We understand that success in this sphere of education depends on teachers` readiness to work with it. The main tasks in developing Intercultural skills are: 

to understand and respect different cultural, language, ethnical groups:

to form positive attitude to cultural diversity on the level of a person, a group and the society;






negative attitude to others; 

to develop mutual understanding among


different cultural


and language

groups; 

to help to understand negative influence barriers


racism that


other create

misunderstanding in the society.

In order to master Intercultural competences our teachers worked out the glossary of multiculturalism (the explanation of such terms as refugees, discrimination, integration, minority, etc.) The teachers use in their practical work in the class such interactive methods as roleplays such as: 

BAFA-BAFA - to assist students in understanding various cultures. This play is unique because it gives the students possibilities to gain experience in living in other cultures;

BABILON – to model the situation of intercultural communication, to analysis the situation of verbal and non-verbal communication;

THE TREE OF LIFE – to form the understanding the problems of refugees and aliens, to develop the interest to other cultures and form the positive attitude to the problems of refugees;

MAY I COME IN – to support solidarity with persons who are pressed to leave their countries, to understand arguments for and against.

The list of roleplays is rather impressive and very popular among students. The teachers together with students collect materials using the Internet, massmedia and interviews. When presenting the collecting materials students widely use Microsoft PowerPoint presentations and master their skills in presentation and discussion.


Citizenship Globally and Locally