Colegiul National "Moise Nicoara" Arad


 Camelia Circa-Chirila

Trying to get to know and understand Europe’s culture, along the époques and cultural currents in a transdisciplinary way is a difficult thing to do, it is a request to which various fields (Romanian and Universal literature, History, Geography, Mathematics, Religion, Fine Arts , Music, Theatre, Clothing Design, etc.) must concur. Accompanied by a team of professors, special guests, personalities of Arad’s cultural and artistic life ( painters, actors, directors, violinists)  through expositive methods and through aquarium-type workshops,  my colleague, Octavia Potocean, and I gave birth ( as coordinators) to an inter, multidisciplinary project for ‘A different kind of school’.  We decided to approach the issues in an open and attractive way, stimulating the students and helping them get willingly close to the debated themes, as they will meet them again, in the Baccalaureat programme.  It is necessary to mention the fact that this project was targeted at different age groups, being thought in a Montessori spirit. The target group consisted of pupils from primary and secondary school, as well as high school students and mentally challenged children, this representing a challenge for us, too.

Therefore, the project run at “Moise Nicoara” National College Arad during ‘A different kind of school’ week benefited from devoted partners and contributors: Asociatia pentru deschideri culturale Moodle Romania, Teatrul Clasic Ioan Slavici Arad, Casa Corpului Didactic Arad, Fundatia Vanda Study International, Galeria Takacs Arad, Scoala Generala Aaron Cotrus Arad, Centrul Scolar Arad, Casa de Moda Oana Seran.

It began with the comprehension of the cultural and scientific evolution along the historical époques, forming an integrative, holistic, transdisciplinary way of thinking. Then personal reading followed, focused on understanding the offered texts in an interdisciplinary way, comparing and adapting the existential models from the texts to one’s self-growth, developing a positive attitude towards the European culture and science, the development of reflexive, interrogative and critical way of thinking.

During the mentioned activities, aesthetical preferences were reasoned; the language of literature was compared to the one used in arts, theatre, music, geography, history, mathematics, astronomy, design.

The content was structured on époques and cultural currents:

–          From Antiquity to Classicism

–          Romanticism and Realism- between senses and conscience

–          Symbolism, Impressionism, Expressionism – ambiguity and unbalance

–          Modernism, Neomodernism, Vanguardism, Postmodernism- shock, reaction, parody,  irony, the wish to innovate

–          Evaluation

Representative texts for the studied époques, accessible to every age group were chosen: Jean de la Fontaine- The beetle and the ant, Mihai Eminescu- Somnoroase pasarele (Drowsy Birds), Al. Macedonsky- The waltz of roses, G. Apollinaire- Calligrammes, Cosmin Herman- Letters from Tars.

The purpose of this project was, naturally, familiarisation with a few notions of general knowledge specific to the presented époques and currents. Although using knowledge from many disciplines ( literature, fine arts, music, the history of theatre, clothing design, sports, sciences), the project employed the same pedagogical methods and was targeted at the awareness of every child regarding his or her evolution as a cultural being.

There have been organized workshops, each promoting a specific activity for the approached époque:  literature- reading a particular text befitting a certain époque, identifying the époque’s specific text elements and producing a fictional writing; fine arts- turning the already-read text into visuals; music- musical audition with examples; sciences- historical and scientific information discovered by using the Montessori materials; theatre- staging a text in the style of époque, etc. The students from the 10th grade philology were the ones who coordinated these workshops, with the guidance of the guests: actor Zoltan Lovas, director Nicolae-Mihai Brinzeu, violinists Georgiana and Victor Maria, painters Mihai Takacs and Bogdan Tigan, the artist Marcela Alexandrescu and fashion designer Oana Seran.

The 6th graders were in charge of the presentations of the époques through power point materials, which implied individual research work and were structured from a historical, political, philosophical, religious, artistic, dramatic point of view.  The music, mathematics and fine arts presentation meant presenting the work of the best-known musicians, mathematicians and painters of each époque.  The same applied for literature, where the best-known writers and poets were presented. Debate on the selected texts was followed by turning them into sketches. Other subjects were addressed, as well: sport and its evolution throughout time, geography- the evolution of means of transport, tourism, architecture, the modernization of the cities, of the economy, of the industry, of the agriculture, etc. Regarding biology, there were presented the evolution and modernization of the medical treatments, from witchcraft to computerized operations; by resorting to astronomy and physics, more was learnt about the evolution from wooden hoe to spaceships, from rafts to ships, and the evolution of the automobile and the bicycle. The fashion evolution topic was not neglected either: a fashion parade was organized, by using either the costumes specific to each époque borrowed from the theatre, or the models created by the pupils from the distinguished materials from the collaborating clothing house.

At the end of the activity, all the materials created by the students, teachers and guests and all the recorded ‘lessons’ became material for an educational soft hosted by, expected to be printed by the ‘Casa Corpului Didactic’ Arad in a presentational brochure of the whole event.

On the last day, the evaluation one, two types of activities were held: the evaluation of the posters created throughout the project, using the ‘gallery method’ and the completing of some ‘written evaluation’ sheets by students.

An ambitious project, which succeeded in gathering together children, teenagers, young and adult people who vibrated during a week in a cultural travel back in time, which surely drew our attention to the times we are living in, and to the fact that we should appreciate our ancestors’ valuable deeds in arts and culture, which make us grow as human beings.

Feed –back from the students

It may seem surprising, but in only one week we discovered countless ways of learning and methods that could determine a kid to willingly learn. Each day meant an actual travel back in time:

On Monday:  from Antiquity to Classicism- we dressed up in époque costumes, found out a couple of things about the theatre in those times and even found ourselves in the middle of a medieval square, where we either watched an ad-hoc  puppet show , resembling commedia del’arte, played by the younger who were driven by the magic directing wand of the actor Zoltan Lovas and director Nicolae- Mihai Branzeu, or we were entertained by watching some students from ‘Sabin Dragoi’ who take acting classes playing some classical fables in an amazingly entertaining way. I myself played The fable of the rabbits together with my classmate, Cody. All of these happened while listening to a live violin concert, using sets created by the painter Mihai Takacs.

On Tuesday: between Romanticism and Realism – our 9th grade school mate, Bettina Takacs, showed us an extraordinary demonstration of ballet, on Tchaikovsky’s ‘The swan lake’, after teaching us all the five basic steps and five basic hand positioning in her specialty.  The painter Bogdan Tigan held an artistic demonstration of the romantic painting style and techniques, inspiring the younger to create romantically dreamlike texts and impressive époque costumes.

On Wednesday: Symbolism and Impressionism- this day started with an amazing scent, the roses. Each kid was able to feel and taste the roses ( by using the roses jam and syrup which was prepared for them) and then used the Montessori puzzle to redo the rose, to paint together with the painter, to write about roses, all while listening to The Waltz of the Roses, interpreted by Tudor Gheorghe. All the époque costumes created by them had a rose attached to them. Symbolism is all about the associations of the senses.

On Thursday: Modernism, Neomodernism, Postmodernism – we found ourselves back to present, after having seen this century’s famous inventions, discovered Picasso’s blue period of time and the cubism, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in blue and the jazz improvisation, Apollinaire’s calligrammes and our times’ society dances. We created, together with our invited colleagues, calligrammes and collages and played Twister, always laughing and smiling.

On Friday: Now and today, evaluation- I re-learned to see the world through my eyes, like a child’s soul does, and to enjoy the present, owing to a yesterday which marked us all and owing to ‘A different kind of school’.

                                                                                                       Cordos Alexandru , class 10 F

The game of learning

I can well recall, even after three weeks after this project’s ended, how well I was able to learn a lot of things which I’m sure will be useful in life.

This interactive way of learning through different games fascinated me. I truly enjoyed it. Who would have thought that I’d be challenged to create dress models such as classicist and impressionist ones? Or who would have ever believed that I’d be able to learn about violin playing techniques, to write in a particular current, or to paint, having  a short ‘conversation’ with our teacher?

I believe that this type of project is the future of our education.

                                                                                                                 Ciacli Bogdan, class 6 A

A different kind of school

I gladly took part in such an unforgettable experience, an experience that helped me find more about myself and the amazing world that we live in at the same time. I soon realized that everything, every single little thing can be turned into art; if you find your inner strength to see that even a flower petal matters.

By using the presentations, I was able to keep a few things in memory about each époque, was able to live in the past for a day and to make an idea about how life was back then. All of these happened thanks to this great project.

Here, at ‘Moise Nicoara’, a different kind of learning is approached, which is much more interesting and gets pupils to want to know more.

I am grateful for this unbelievable experience!

                                                                                                Fanea Amelia, class 6 A