Schools are Talking Project

This project is based on a question asked us while sitting and chatting with Payda Students at a pastry shop in Mardin: “Would you teach us to speak English?” Their first request was, ‘you speak English to us so that we can learn’. However, later we discussed how to respond to this request in a more sustainable way and in line with our Payda mission, and we created the Schools are Talking Project.
We twin students from various regions all over Turkey, and through the program created by the English department in their schools and their teachers, we enable them to chat on current issues (the music they listen, books they have been reading, movies watched, their families, their hometowns, the food they like, the sports they do, their school lives, etc.) They do video conferencing over the Internet throughout the year in order to practice their English.
In the project we take our students outside the classroom ecosystem, enable them to discuss daily events in a sincere and relaxed environment with their peers, and also help them develop their friends while practising their English.
Schools included in the project:
-Robert College (Istanbul) – Mardin Fen Lisesi (Mardin)
-Üsküdar Amerikan Lisesi (İstanbul) – Aziz Sancar Anadolu Lisesi (Mardin)
-Robert College (Istanbul) – Avanos Anadolu Lisesi (Nevşehir)

We aim to include further schools and various “common denominators” in the coming years, to expand the scope of the project.

Project Benefits
Students make friends in various geographies.
Our students understand about each other’s lives, environment, thoughts and values better, and overcome their prejudices as well as expanding their own perspective. As they discover common denominators, they understand how close they are despite being very distant from each other and very different.
Our students learn to work together in spite of the distance between them, and productive and favorable outcomes are achieved for both parties.

How the Project Works
At the beginning of the year English teachers select 9th and/or 10th grade students to join the project from the two matched schools.
The English Department Heads at both schools define the year-end targets to be achieved.
We create a schedule detailing the subjects to be discussed and necessary processes to achieve the target.
Voluntary calls over the Internet start on the days and hours agreed between the schools, and these continue throughout the year on a weekly basis.
Our aim is to make innovations every year, enhance the project, and make it more productive in order to provide greater benefit for students.
At the end of the year we organize an “English Day”. Students plan an entertaining show in English for their families and classmates. Furthermore, at the end of each year participants share their comments with the schools and Payda.

MUN (Model United Nations)
Our students in Payda have been joining the RCIMUN (Robert College International Model United Nations) conference organized by Robert College since 2016. MUN is a simulation of United Nations, where over 500 local and international students join as delegates from various UN countries to discuss about a certain issue. The topic of the conference is discussed from various aspects during one week, and joint decisions are takenbe vote. Over 50 high schools join this organization every year.
In the first three years of our project 8-10 students from Mardin Fen Lisesi joined the organization as delegates, accompanied by a teacher. In 2019 we also enabled Ürgüp Tesan Fen Lisesi, along with Mardin Fen Lisesi to join the conference with 12 students and 2 teachers.
We may summarize some of the topics discussed in conferences as “Water”, “Global Refugee Crisis”, “Political Innovation”, and “Political Polarization”.
Following their work within the scope of the Schools are Talking Project, Robert College students and teachers invited students from Mardin to the conference in 2016, in order to motivate them and their schools, and offer them a setting to use their English in a more efficient and professional setting. Students prepared a very busy schedule to join the conference, and worked together over Skype for 2-3 months.
In the Project we matched a Robert College student with a Payda student for them to study together. The two students joined the conference and engaged socially throughout the week. The interaction between students from different regions and different countries provided a new and favorable experience. We saw that they learned many things faster and with greater engagement among themselves. We observe that joining the conference increases Payda students’ self confidence, and improves their interview skills. Most experience the excitement of speaking in English in an official and professional conference setting for the first time.

How can You Support?
-You may give financial support for this project, which is conducted on international standards.
-You may contribute to providing a tablet for the students to go online.
-You may support the costs of Internet connection for the students.
-You may give financial support for the Mardin-Istanbul or Nevşehir-Istanbul return flight tickets for students and accompanying teachers.
-You may provide financial support for students’ accomodation costs in affordable places including the Teachers’ House and Tourism Practice Hotel in Istanbul.
-You may spend some time in improving the implementation of the project and helping it being conducted in other schools.
Robert College meets our students’ 350 TL participation fee each year. The amount includes the conference fee and lunches. They also organize a tour of Istanbul and a boat trip on the osphorus each year forour students.
-You may follow updates about the project on the Activities and News tab.



You can watch the speech of some students from the link below…