Context

The context  

The development of this portfolio has been based on a detailed collection of feedbacks on different stages of implementation:

Self- Assessment

Before the implementation of the activities, a self- assessment survey has been administered in order to understand the different contexts in which the project would have been implemented, together with learning needs to be met.

Evaluation

During the activities implementation, questionnaires and interviews have helped to collect feedbacks from the project participants.

Final Analysis

A final comparison and analysis of all the data have allowed to provide crucial information on the techniques used and on the educational context in each country, thus showing in the best way the content related to each activity.

 

In the following sections, an analysis of each specific National context involved in the project will be presented, thus providing a general overview of the school community in which the experimentation of the techniques has been implemented. Here below, the results of the self-assessment of participating teachers will be shown. This will be a useful baseline to put in a context the experimentation at the end of the testing phase of the project.

 

  • Overview & Self-assessment
  • Final evaluation
  • Teachers

Overview & Self-assessment

Before starting the experimentation phase, the teachers involved in the project replied to a self-assessment questionnaire that could provide an overview of the approach of different countries to non-formal education and its use aimed at involving students more closely in the school activities, preventing early school leaving.

Here below the main results per country are introduced.

In Latvia
  • 9 teachers teaching a wide range of subjects (such as literature, mathematics, physics, English, sports, sciences, computer science and geography) participated in this first, preparatory phase.
  • The age of students they usually teach is between 11 and 18
  • Their opinion related to non-formal education is the following:

As it is clear, the percentage of answers are pretty close, with a higher share related to the will of teachers in supporting their students in their learning process and – at the same time – their will in being updated with new tools and methods for their teaching approach.

In Italy
  • 5 teachers of English, Maths and Technology participated in the preparatory phase
  • The age of students they usually teach is between 14 and 18.
  • Their opinion related to non-formal education is the following:

Also in this case, the higher percentage are the same of the ones selected in Latvia, even if this group of teacher is particularly eager to improve their methods and approach thus supporting in the best way both their profession and the students they teach to.

In Bulgaria
  • 8 teachers (English, French and Russian Literature, Maths and psychology) who participated in the preliminary phase.
  • The age of students they usually teach is between 14 and 18
  • Their opinion related to non-formal education is the following:

In this case, the biggest percentage is related to their desire to improve the collaboration among their peers, in order to stimulate the ideas exchange, thus creating a positive working atmosphere as well as an effective learning environment for the students.

In France
  • 9 teachers of Arts, French language, History and Geography, Sciences and Spanish participated in the preliminary phase
  • The age of students they usually teach is between 12 and 16.
  • Their opinion related to non-formal education is the following:

In France, the teachers seem not to be so much familiar with the non-formal learning methods, but they’d like to improve their knowledge on the techniques and approach to improve their profession and the learning path of their students.

Final evaluation

Which are the teacher skills for a good school?

Being a teacher-facilitator is different from being a teacher. Indeed, acting as a teacher-facilitator means that the teacher is no longer exclusively the source of all knowledge in the classroom. The role of the teacher-facilitator is to inspire students to take ownership of their own learning. The idea is that the teacher is there to involve, direct and encourage the students and make them aware of the knowledge they already have.

In few words, a facilitator is a person who:

  • designs work sessions with a specific focus or intention;
  • develops the full potential of individuals and groups;
  • provides processes, tools and techniques that can speed up and make effective work in a group environment;
  • maintains the purpose of the group meeting;
  • helps to resolve conflicts;
  • organizes and provides the structure for the work of a group;
  • ensures that objectives are met;
  • is empathetic;
  • organizes space and time. 

In order to have a successful setting up process of non-formal activities in the classroom it’s important to have certain specific skills, which are necessary to develop and/or strengthen to make this process effective. 

We have classified them into 4 main area:

Mediation and moderation skills

such as the ability to solve conflict, communicate empathetically, provide structure for the group to work together;

Collaborative learning skills

such as the ability to encourage and stimulate students to express their ideas and opinions, the ability to encourage group processing;

Collaborative assessment skills

 such as the ability to assess student performance clearly, using assessment guidelines and a variety of tools and methods tailored to individual student needs;

Adaptability

such as the ability to create an environment of well-being in the classroom and the ability to adapt methods according to the context and learning objectives of the class.

“Teaching competences are thus complex combinations of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attitudes, leading to effective action in situation.”[1].

Teachers play a very important role in student involvement, success and capacity building. According to PISA[2] research on teachers’ behaviour and how this has an impact on students’ learning, it shows how important it is not to rely only on teachers’ qualifications but on how they interact with student’s day after day from their willingness to change and their enthusiasm.

Teacher enthusiasm has traditionally been defined as a lively and motivating teaching style that includes a range of behaviours, such as varied gestures, body movements, facial expressions and voice intonations, and the frequent use of humour, that reflects a strong interest in the subject[3]. This – together with the interaction of teachers with their students – is a crucial element for DROP’IN approach.

 

 

[1] Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes, Commission Report https://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/education/experts-groups/2011-2013/teacher/teachercomp_en.pdf

[2] OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en.

[3] In PISA 2018 Results (Volume III) “What School Life Means for Students’ Lives – Collins, M. (1978), “Effects of enthusiasm training on preservice elementary teachers”, Research in Teacher Education, Vol. 29/1, pp. 53-57, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/002248717802900120.
 Open DOI; Murray, H. (1983), “Low-inference classroom teaching behaviors and student ratings of college teaching effectiveness”, Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 75/1, pp. 138-149, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.75.1.138.
Open DOI

Drop’in Teachers

The teachers of the DROP’IN project have been asked about what characteristics would be required to ensure as teachers an effective learning experience thus being ready to understand the needs of students. The answers were pretty interesting:

Understanding, erudite, supportive, empathetic, flexible, creative, positive, humorous, inclusive, communicative, tolerant, patient, moderating, objective, cooperative, passionate, righteous, listener, charismatic.

It is interesting to note that many of the qualities and characteristics reported by the teachers involved fall into the category of soft-skills or transversal skills. The school relies heavily on so-called transversal skills. Their development is strongly requested in the students but also in the teacher’s role. The teachers’ mission is no longer to teach but to include the student in an articulated learning path in which he/she can develop hard and soft skills that can help him/her in human, emotional, cultural and professional growth.

During the implementation of non-formal techniques, it is necessary to develop different transversal skills that can allow the introduction of non-formal education within the school and the school system. 31 teachers involved in DROP’IN provided their opionion, giving a value from 1 to 5 expressing their disagreement (1) or agreement (5) about the soft skills they think they are useful to implement non-formal methods at school. The following results are the collective answers from all the teachers involved in this survey.

 

How much are these skills important for a teacher to implement non-formal education methods with students?

What skills they would like to improve in order to develop a non-formal path within their educational school program?

Communication, flexibility and mediation skills are the skills teachers participating in the survey think they are important to be developed within the implementation of the non-formal activities.

The path taken by the teachers participating in the DROP’IN project pointed out that one of the major obstacles for the introduction of new forms of education at school is the rigidity to go “out of the box” of the classic and traditional “teacher-student” communication system.

The analysis in fact shows us how most teachers would like to develop all those skills that make them more eager to change, both at communicational and teaching level.

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