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Teachers' Training Approach

The development of the proposed training program is based on the adoption of a teacher centered approach. The implementation of the training program includes extended cycles of school centred work. Teachers continuously give feedback to the academic team about their experiences gained in the classroom. This not only increases the motivation of the teachers, and gives weight to their practical experiences, but also provides the necessary cross-links between theory and practice. Upon suggestions of the teachers, the trainers' team will perform the necessary adjustments to the didactical approach. The school trials are not meant for evaluation purposes only, but involve both teachers and students offering them the chance to provide feedback on the project. The partnership believes that teachers can develop important professional skills and be able to view their involvement in this procedure as a craft that requires dedication and precision but simultaneously encourages creativity, humour, and personal expression.

The main output of the project will be an innovative training programme for the teachers in multigrade schools. The optimization of the training programme will be based on the teachers' needs analysis.

The general framework of the training programme is composed mainly by three parts:

  • Methodological approaches for multigrade teaching (theory and praxis): The first part of the programme will present the main aspects that are considered essential for Multigrade teaching: classroom management and discipline, instructional organisation, curriculum, evaluation, instructional delivery and grouping, self directed learning, planning and peer tutoring. There are several teaching strategies for multigrade school environments (e.g. work card or workbook method, staggered start, differentiated direct teaching). Teachers must be skilled in managing instruction to reduce the amount of 'dead time' during which children are not productively engaged on task. This means that teachers must be aware of different ways of grouping children. In addition to this, teachers need to be taught how to plan across grade level objectives, or how to amend the curriculum to make it more suitable for their setting. Within the framework of the proposed project, teachers will be trained via ODL on managing multigrade classrooms, on specifying the applicability of the certain curricula, on evaluating the importance of lessons' specific educational aims, on organising study groups effectively. They will be trained to know when and how to use homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping and how to design cooperative group tasks as well as to be proficient on assessing, evaluating, and recording student progress using qualitative methods such as portfolios and anecdotal reports.

  • Introduction to the use of ICT (theory and praxis): This part includes the basic introduction to the use of the ICT. During this part of the training programme, a series of examples of good practice for the usage of Internet and multimedia applications in the classroom will be presented to teachers. Teachers will be asked to introduce selected samples to their classrooms according to specific lesson plans and evaluate them. Furthermore teachers will be asked to prepare their lesson plans in different cases. The partnership aims to help teachers to evaluate existing educational software titles according to very specific indicators and quality standards.

  • Cross-curricula applications and projects (praxis): The third part of the training curriculum concerns the training of the teachers to become able to design their own cross curricula applications (based mainly on the use of ICT tools) and projects to be implemented in classroom. Teachers will be trained to design open-ended, divergent learning experience projects accessible to students functioning at different levels, utilizing the capabilities of modern ICT techniques. These long-term projects will be implemented as holding activities for the specific study groups that will ensure that time spent away from the teacher is spent productively, while the teacher is occupied with an other group of students trying to implement the official curriculum.

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