The ET2020 Working Group on School Policy identified Initial Teacher Education (ITE) as a fundamental area for education policy to support new working cultures and teaching practices, to support teachers’ capacity to adapt to changing contexts and circumstances and to increase the attractiveness of teaching as a career choice. Improved teacher recruitment and retention are a priority area across the EU where subject shortages are exacerbated by the numbers leaving the profession in the first few years: 21% in the first 2 years; 40% in the first 10 years in the UK – (Parliamentary Briefing paper Jan 2018). The ET2020 paper, A guide on policies to improve Initial Teacher Education, (2015) highlights the ‘urgent need to improve Initial Teacher Education’.
Despite this focus, there is no definitive model of pedagogy for schools. Research into pedagogy (Husbands & Pearce (2012) What makes Great Pedagogy; and Coe et al., (2015) Developing Great Teaching ) has helped the debate and increase understanding amongst teachers, but there still remains a dearth of concrete and impactful teaching strategies for use in school classrooms.
This two-year project, addresses this issue of putting pedagogical theory into practice in five key areas to improve the quality of initial teacher training and therefore produce more confident teachers who are less likely to leave the profession early.
These issues are not new and were incorporated into the UK National Strategies over a decade ago, which produced a PedPack of 20 study units for schools. This work was not widely taken up at the time due to policy changes and contracting issues. However, much of it is still relevant. P1 was involved developing those resources and have gained permission to revise, update and extend this initial work.
We aim to provide updated digital resources to improve the delivery of ITE and support teachers in their early years to both make the teaching profession more attractive and reduce the drop-out due to pressure.
After consulting with partners, collecting feedback from trainee teachers and analysing lesson observations, partners agree on 5 of the 20 original topics as priority needs. These are:
• Structuring Learning
• Teaching Models
• Assessment for Learning
• Developing Effective Learning
• Classroom Management
The Pedpack work aimed at developing whole school strategies, rather than subject specific approaches, to implement pedagogical theory in lesson design. The materials were designed to be used in a variety of ways, for example by teachers collaborating in networks across schools; by groups within schools (subject or cross-subject teams); by pairs, as in peer coaching or coaching and mentoring; or even by individuals. Although the materials were piloted, they were never fully implemented. P1 has permission to use these resources as a baseline for this project, to provide an updated set of materials that can be customised to different European contexts and deployed as a teacher training resource.
Recent UK reports such as the Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training (2016 What makes Good Teaching), Sutton Trust (2014), Mapping of Seminal Reports on Good Teaching, Rowe et al (2012) and CPD. Developing Good Teaching, Teacher Development Trust (2015), all signpost a need for better professional development for teachers with support materials to directly inform classroom teaching and learning.
The objectives of the project are to:
• update five areas of the pedagogical guidance and digitise them
• put the updated guidance into practice in teacher training provision in 5 countries
• trial and test the methodology and the resources
• undertake an impact study of the whole school methodology and the resources
• share the outcomes and materials widely
There is a need to undertake this work transnationally as the target groups in the different countries have different contexts. The issue an EU wide problem requiring transnational solutions, but this can be achieved by sharing of best practice and expertise. This project will specifically update a high quality set of resources to make them applicable and relevant for all European training providers. The ET2020 paper: A guide on policies to improve Initial Teacher Education, (2015) specifically recommends ‘sharing good practice to advance collaborative approaches in ITE’.
The specific outputs of the project, which are detailed in section G, Intellectual Outputs and section H, Dissemination will be:
• A digitised set of pedagogical resources in the following 5 areas for use in the training and support of trainee teachers
Assessment for Learning
Developing Effective Learning
• A training package for teacher trainers and school based mentors in the use of the resource
• A longitudinal impact study on the PedPack methodology and the updated resources with
• A website hosting the downloadable resources and case studies
• A set of dissemination materials and seminars in 5 countries
• A research report with recommendations on policy
The overall anticipated result will be a new training model, resources and evidence that this can impact on the quality of initial teacher teaching, despite different educational and cultural contexts.
The practical resources will be the set of 5 training units, associated resources, case studies and a training package which have been successfully trialed. They will be made freely available to regional authorities, training providers, NGOs and schools across the EU.
Although the project builds on the work that was undertaken to develop the initial Pedagogy and Practice resources as part of the UK National Strategies, the research quoted above demonstrates the needs to improve ITE are still significant.
This project is therefore developing a new set of resources, by focusing on current needs to ensure that the package is fully up to date and relevant to the 21st Century classroom but also by customising it to the different contexts of the partners and thereby producing an international model.
ITE delivery has changed in the last decade with the introduction of Teaching Schools, this has created a need for school based mentoring. This approach is also being developed by the Spanish partner in this project and the project will in part focus on addressing the needs of in-school mentors.
Where ITE provision still University based, as in Portugal, Slovenia and Germany, it is still very much subject focused. This project takes a cross-curricular approach and aims to develop the collaborative learning, suggested by the ET2020 report. The project will provide this new approach of incorporating whole school provision by both targeting the trainers in the Schools of Education but also providing a model for strengthening the in-school support through school based mentors. Partners identify this as bringing something new to their existing practice. In particular, schools have created structures to maximise results, rather than involve students in their learning processes, and partners feel that addressing the school as a whole can change the school’s climate and culture to improve their pedagogical practices and subsequently students learning.
The initial resources were designed for the secondary sector. By working collaboratively, this project will produce materials that will be applicable to Primary, Secondary and Vocational education.
Partners have identified how this brings something new to their own contexts.
In the UK since the completion of the National Strategies contract in 2008, there is no longer support materials for teachers going into schools or HEI teacher training providers. The gradual demise of Local Authorities has further exacerbated this problem.
In Portugal, the challenge is to have schools and clusters, developing the formal curriculum, in a flexible way, through active new methodologies, focusing on supporting students to achieve competences throughout the educational system.
Slovenia sees that the project will add significant value to ITE innovation by transfering examples of good practice from other countries and identifies that 4 of the 5 areas are new (classroom management is currently covered), and this could stimulate changes to the traditional provision.
Spain sees that this approach will provide new vision of the internship as a total immersion approach to their centre and see the project as an opportunity to present new didactic methodologies to trainees and to observe them applied in the classroom.
Germany welcomes the of putting theoretical knowledge into practice for amongst trainee teachers. Although they are currently working on a somehow similar idea in their ERASMUS+ project proPIC, they see there is definitely a high demand of such practical training models at university level, especially when it comes to teacher training.
Partners have been chosen for their complementary skills and expertise. Some have either worked alongside others on previous projects or been identified for their best practice. The consortium has been constructed to have a wide geographical spread. All partners have responsibility for teacher training and partners from Germany, Portugal and Slovenia have significant experience of educational research.
Partners from Portugal and Slovenia were members of the European Policy Network on School Leadership, which undertook research in School Leadership, which P1, P2, and P3 have since put into practice in two Erasmus+ projects. They appreciate the value of research but have a greater interest putting research into practice, which is what this project embodies.
Through their work on this body they have establish high level networks at policy level and will be able to exploit those networks as part of the dissemination and exploitation strategies.
Although there is a common approach to be developed, the target groups will differ from one country to another, given the different education systems, training methodologies and curricula. To develop a strategy that can be adopted at a European level, it has to be tested in a variety of educational contexts and partners will test the training and resources in their own contexts. As education departments and teacher training providers, all partners have good access to the target groups.
P1. edEUcation ltd, brings the practitioner’s perspective to the project. This partner has experience of school leadership and Janet Linsley was one of the contributors to the initial PedPack. She currently manages part-time School Direct work through a Primary Teaching School consortium and this partner will use these links to embed the resources into the ITE training and observe their use in practice. This organisation brings substantial experience of managing Erasmus+ projects and will lead on the project management.
P2. Lusofona University in Portugal was a member of EPNoSL and has numerous publications to their name, focusing on school leadership, evaluation of practice and teacher training. Prof. Silva, who will lead the project for this partner, is visiting professor at the Institute of Education, a teachers and school leaders’ capacity building institution. In addition to providing teacher training, they are working on training schools and teachers in “flexible curriculum management” and new practical methodologies, to achieve the goals set by the authorities.
P3. Primorska University in Slovenia was also a member of EPNoSL and has contributed to policy development on accountability and equal opportunities. They are focusing on improving tailoring teaching to the specific needs of the students and have identified that teachers need appropriate support in specific areas, such as those covered by this project. They report a lack of materials, teaching aids and didactic materials which according to research (Kaufhold, Alverez and Arnold, 1999) are important components of teacher stress.
P4. CPIFP Baja Aragon is in a very rural area and therefore takes responsibility for all levels of education in the area from Primary to HE on a shared campus. They are therefore also responsible for the delivery of teacher training and to some extent have adopted the UK Teaching School model, although it is not recognised as such. They feel they can learn a lot from the UK practice and this project. They use school based mentors to tutor trainee teachers and want to develop a program to support and guide both mentors and trainee teachers and welcome the concept of structuring learning and teaching models. P4 has experience of KA1 projects but is new to KA2.
P5. Pädigogische Hochschule Karlsburg, specialises in teacher training and educational research. Although they have been at the forefront of some recent educational innovations, including use of technology in the classroom, and they are currently running an Erasmus+ project on self-reflection of teachers, they see the need for improvements in CPD and that participation in this project will provide a model of a specific teacher training model which is in high demand when it comes to teacher training. They feel that students will benefit greatly from such an approach.
The roles and responsibilities have been allocated to partners according to their expertise. The detail is provided in the IOs and events. All partners are involved throughout and will attend all meetings. P1 will undertake the project management work, creating the management structures and organising and chairing meetings.
The project website will be designed and hosted by P1. All partners will have responsibility for the provision of material for the website and to promote it through their own networks through the dissemination activities. P2-P5 will have responsibility for language customisation.
The leadership of the different outputs will be shared. P1 will lead on IO1 and supervise and coordinate the work of the other partners. Partners 2, 3, 4 and 5 will customise the resources for their own contexts and the specific. IO2 will be led by P4, who has a specific interest in developing a new model of school based training. All partners will identify internally the trainers to be involved in this part of the work and groups of trainees to be targeted. They will manage the training of the trainees prior to the placements and carry out the baseline assessments.
All partners will also work with the school mentors, briefing them on the resources and the training that the trainees have undertaken, and working with them on the tools to be used to assess impact during lesson observations and mentoring sessions. They will also conduct visits to the schools and undertake the observations as part of their normal practice.
P2 will lead on O3, the research strand and will design the research framework and data collection instruments. Partners will use the tools developed as part of IO3 to undertake impact evaluations and provide feedback and data for the research strand as part of IO3. This research strand will examine processes, tools used, the quality of the resources and outcomes and produce both an impact report and a full-length empirical article in a top-ranked peer-reviewed international journal of education.
P2 will have on-going communication with other partners during the training and in-school developmental phase, collecting their data and feedback from the internal evaluations and also the methodology. P2 will use the intelligence gathered to ensure the work is kept in line with the objectives and latest pedagogical thinking by providing a feedback loop to other partners. Other partners will provide information into the feedback loop and act on the information received back from P2.
All partners will collect supplementary resources in their own languages.
All partners will be involved in the dissemination activities and will run the Multiplier events E1-E5.
All partners will contribute to the exploitation plan, which will be drafted by P1.