Double act

6th May 2005 at 01:00
Some Comenius projects are modest in scope, others hugely ambitious. A double production of Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince, pictured here - one in French, one in English - has to fall into the second category.

"We already had the script, written by an exceptionally gifted pupil several years ago, and music composed by another," explains French teacher Cheryl Douglas, of Redland High School, an independent girls' school in Bristol.

"We also had a partner, thanks to a personal contact who teaches English in the international section of the Lycee Coll ge Grand Air in La Baule."

All that remained was to secure funding and, as their plans fitted perfectly with the criteria for a Comenius language project, this duly went ahead. The idea was born out of Cheryl's joint passion for French and theatre, as she enjoys directing dramatic productions in her spare time.

Not that she has had much of that recently, as co-ordinating the various elements of Le Petit Prince has been all-consuming. Pupils too have felt the strain - one of the leading lights in France last October bowed out before Bristol performances in April as impending exams took their toll.

Cheryl's first piece of advice to anyone embarking on a similar venture is to enlist the support of as many colleagues as possible. Her second is to choose a project that generates widespread enthusiasm and suits the talents of your students.

In her case, the parties on both sides of the Channel are high achievers who respond to a challenge. She also stresses the importance of establishing solid relationships with your partners abroad. "You are so reliant on each other and you have to be sure that the project is workable.

That is the point of a preparatory visit," she explains.

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