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The international event NACEMUN: debates in English and multiculturalism

The international event MUN (Model United Nations) is a simulation in English of the United Nations debates, in which each participant from the different schools takes on the role of delegate of a country. The programme involves drafting resolutions and then debating them, with the objective of reaching a general agreement with the rest of the participants. Agora Sant Cugat International School was the first school in the NACE Schools group to participate in IMUN (Iberian Model United Nations) held in Lisbon in 2010-2011. An internal version, named AMUN (Agora Model United Nations), was then created at the school. The first event was in 2013, the following year Agora International School Barcelona joined the programme, and in 2015 they decided to “take the plunge” by extending the conference to all the schools in the NACE Schools group, under the name of NACEMUN.

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Participants in the 1st NACEMUN after collecting their diploma

We had the opportunity to interview Elena Degollada, teacher at Agora Sant Cugat International School and creator of the successful international event, NACEMUN.


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Elena holds a degree in English-German Philology from the University of Barcelona, though she combined her university studies with short and longer-term stays in the United Kingdom. She has dedicated practically her entire working life to teaching, which is also her passion. For the last few years she has combined the co-ordination of the MUN programme with her role as head of the foreign languages department at Agora Sant Cugat International School.

 


Q: Hello Elena. How did the idea of participating in IMUN on a school level come about? And the idea to develop AMUN?

A: Mr. Gandol, headmaster of Agora Sant Cugat International School, suggested that we attend the international event IMUN. I found it so interesting that I looked for a way that all pupils could participate in some type of United Nations simulation. The dual objective was that they were made aware of how a conference of this type works, and at the same time, it was training for the students who participate in other conferences in Baccalaureate. The experience was so successful that the next step was to take it to the entire international group and create NACEMUN.

 

Q: How many pupils participate from each school, and what preparation should they do in advance?

A: Around 10 4th ESO pupils from each school normally take part, as well as all the pupils from the same level at the host school. Before attending the conference they should undertake a thorough study of the country they are representing, they should prepare to draft resolutions, learn the procedures of Model United Nations sessions, and in addition, before the event they practice formal public speaking in English.

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Pupils working together on drafting resolutions

Q: What benefits are there for pupils who participate in NACEMUN?

A: There are many benefits. It helps them to interact with pupils from schools in the United Kingdom, France, and other parts of Spain; they learn to use very formal English; they improve their public speaking skills and acquire knowledge about today’s world. Furthermore, in having to work on and try to find solutions for real problems, they learn to understand and empathise with issues they probably weren’t previously aware of.

 

Q: And what does it contribute to the NACE Schools educational programme?

A: The project encourages the values as the NACE Schools educational programme. It promotes the values of openness, solidarity, integrity, commitment to the community. Similarly, it teaches more than academic content, and encourages the idea of educational excellence, to the extent that it develops the pupils’ communication abilities and social skills.

 

Q: What do the participants highlight most from this international event?

A: What they highlight most, and at the same time what surprises them most, is what a good time they have, even though at the start it might seem like lots of work and little fun. They also discover that formality is not at odds with entertainment, and that they can have a really good time doing serious work.

 

Q: What has creating the NACEMUN programme provided you with on a professional and personal level?

A: On a personal level I feel that I have learnt a lot, met lots of people, and achieved the satisfaction of seeing how my pupils also come to appreciate this type of events. On a professional level, I have had to balance the day to day of classes with organisation. Though it’s hard work, it’s been worth every minute dedicated to it.

 

Q: What do you think will be the future of NACEMUN?

A: Who knows? I see NACEMUN as something which will grow. Therefore, I suppose that in future editions perhaps we’ll incorporate other bodies such as the Security Council. Being ambitious, we could perhaps invite other schools to participate in our conference, making NACEMUN an international event recognised even outside the NACE group.

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Some of the pupils as chairs and co-chairs in the conference

Agora Sant Cugat International School welcomes the new school year

We want to welcome the 2016/2017 academic year! Agora Sant International School opens this school year with lots of energy and our batteries fully charged. The headmaster of the school, Vicenç Gandol, tells us about what’s new for this new phase which will enable both the school and all of you to achieve objectives while we grow and advance together.

The headmaster offers a very positive assessment of the 2015/2016 school year. During the last school year all targets were met, providing value to the pupils and to the school community:

“In the last school year our 71 Baccalaureate pupils obtained excellent results in the Selectividad university entrance exams and in the International Baccalaureate, with a 100% pass rate. In addition, it was the first year in which the 4th ESO pupils sat the PISA tests in the areas of Spanish Language, Maths, and Science. The results were brilliant, with average scores in all areas which were higher than those of countries such as Finland, Japan, England or the United States.”

The headmaster also speaks of the pupils being students who are linguistically skilled, and great people: “On a linguistic level, over 405 pupils satisfactorily overcame the external tests in the different languages taught at the school: English (TRINITY and CAMBRIDGE), French (DELF), German (GOETHE INST.), and Chinese (CONFUCIO). But as well as the good academic results achieved by our pupils, the students participated in different local, national and international charity events which strengthen our spirit of charity, empathy and collaboration, values which are undoubtedly part of the human training which the teaching and non-teaching staff at the school work on every day.”

It is also interesting to summarise some of the most important moments from the last school year:

“Though we take part in many events, if I had to highlight one it would be the organisation of the 4th edition of International Music Festival, in which more than 150 pupils and teachers from the different NACE Schools in Spain, France and England participated. These were enriching days of co-existence for all our students, when music joined everyone together. The collaboration of our host families ensured that the experience was a complete success.”

“What’s certain is that all the NACE events which are held each year in each of the schools (Visual Arts Competition, NACEMUN, Academic Olympics, Sports Olympics and the International Music Festival) offer our pupils a unique opportunity to build relationships and work co-operatively with students of their age from other places. During the 2016/2017 academic year we face the challenge of organising the II Academic Olympics in February.”

The objective of the 2016/2017 school year which we are just beginning is to offer all our pupils all the tools and resources necessary to guarantee their progression in their education as people and as students. That’s why the school invests each year in improving not only the facilities, but above all, those resources which can guarantee excellent pedagogical innovation which offers effective methodologies adapted to the pupils of today.

Of all the most interesting new features for this school year, we highlight the extension of the educational stages, starting with VOCATIONAL TRAINING in the fields of Image and Sound. The school has now finished the work in adapting the necessary spaces, and has the official authorisation needed to teach the qualifications, both at middle and higher level, for Sound Technician, Director, Producer and 3D Animator.

“We begin this new journey with great enthusiasm, aware of the responsibility in higher level studies and the connection with the working world.”

In addition, the school has worked intensively in preparing teachers to provide them with the training necessary for the inclusion of new technologies as a fundamental resource in the new educational methodologies, encouraging greater participation from pupils, co-operative work, and personalisation of learning.

Vicenç Gandol addresses the pupils of Agora Sant Cugat International School with a final message: “To the pupils I just want to say on behalf of all the teaching and non-teaching staff at the school that we await them with enthusiasm to begin a new school year after a long break, and that they should fill up their rucksacks with enthusiasm, effort, perseverance and curiosity for learning, because with all this they will surely achieve great results at the end of the school year. WELCOME BACK TO YOUR SCHOOL!

Vicenç Gandol

Director de Agora Sant Cugat International School

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Agora Sant Cugat IS, best private school in Barcelona

Once again, Agora Sant Cugat International School stands out in El Mundo’s ranking of the 100 best schools in Spain. In 10th place, the school has moved up one position compared to last year’s result. As well as appearing in the Top 10 best schools in Spain, Agora Sant Cugat, part of the NACE Schools group, has this year been ranked as the best private school in Barcelona.

El Mundo highlights the internationalisation of the school’s educational project as one of its strongest features. Some of the other key aspects which have earned it the position of best school in Barcelona, with a score of 93/100, are: the International Baccalaureate; the language project and the increase in the number of hours and subjects taught in English, as well as the fact that pupils begin to study Chinese in P4, and French and German at the age of 11.

The education pupils receive at Agora Sant Cugat International School is distinguished by educational innovation and high academic and social performance, as well as the emphasis placed on personalised attention for each pupil and for every need. The school offers a personalised education and innovative methodology to take into account different learning styles and help every one of their pupils to achieve personal and academic success. Agora Sant Cugat International School has earned its place as the best school in Barcelona thanks, in part, to the highly qualified teaching staff, who guarantee individual support adapted to the specific needs of students. All the staff work closely with families, helping the pupils to thrive and to reach their maximum potential. Educational excellence, global readiness and co-curricular depth and excellence, the three pillars which characterise all schools in the NACE group, have greatly contributed to the school’s unique teaching, and to its position as the best private school in Barcelona.