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An innovative self-improvement approach for the professional development of early educators
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Quality in ECEC is gaining an increasingly prominent position on European and national policy agendas. One of the most important characteristics that has been associated with high quality of ECEC provision, is the strengthening of the skills (professional development) of ECEC staff. The problem that the partnership has identified stands in the fact that the training procedures of in-service educators are not always accurate regarding the needs of educators or easy to organize and implement without taking educators out of their classrooms.The SIA-ProD project aspires to develop an innovative approach for the professional development of early educators. This partnership supports the notion of self-assessment and self-improvement, upon which the whole project will be based. More specifically the current project aims to provide to early childhood educators the methodology and the instruments for self-evaluation and self-improvement with an effective, personalized, easy and low cost way. To achieve this goal, the project has 4 objectives:• To transfer, adapt and implement an innovative technique named Discrete Choice Modeling (DCM) that gave to Dan McFadden who introduced DMC, a Nobel prize in 2000 in Economic Sciences in the field of early childhood education, and more specifically for the professional development of early childhood educators. DCM is widely used in marketing, finance, biostatistics and other scientific areas (Ben-Akiva, & Lerman, 1985), while its use in education is sparse.• To promote the utility of self-assessment as a powerful tool and prerequisite for effective in service training procedures. To achieve this objective this project aims to develop the Teacher Self-Assessment Assistant (TSAA), based on the DCM method described earlier. The educators will be able to complete the instrument and receive feedback for their teaching profile.• To support teachers’ self-improvement. To achieve this goal the current project will develop the Self-Improvement Educational Package (SIEP). The early childhood educators that will participate in the project and complete the TSAA will receive feedback about their teaching profile. Based on that they will be able to design their own personal training agenda from the available educational material included in the SIEP. This way every practitioner will be easily self-assessed and select the training content he/she needs.• To confirm with research based findings that this new approach for in-service training is beneficial for both the early childhood educators and their students. The partnership consists of 6 partners from 4 EU countries. The organizations involved in the partnership are: 3 universities, 1 research institute, 1 local authority managing pre-schools, and 1 teacher training organization that is also a transnational network of local and regional authorities.The project will involve around 10 academic researchers, 4 local authorities empolyees and approximately 200 early childhood educators that will be engaged in the project and its intellectual outputs. The main activities of the SIA-ProD project are: 1) 7 transnational meetings, 3 of which will be coordination meetings and 4 research meetings. 2) the development of the Teacher Self-Assessment Assistant (TSAA), 3) the self-assessment phase (with the pilot and main study), 4) the development of the Self-Improvement educational package (SIEP), 5) the self-improvement phase (please see description of the project) and 6) the multiplier events. The main results (impact resulting from the activities in the local contexts of the partners) of the project will be:-the development of a new instrument for self-assessment of early childhood educators -the development of supportive educational materials that will promote the self-improvement of practitioners.-the result of testing on the one hand and of the research (indicators and research based guidelines on participation) will lead to the creation of an innovative approach for the professional development and in service training of early childhood educators.-increased competences of the ECEC staff and students participating in the project.-increased internationalization and stronger European dimension in all partnersThe main long-term impact of the project will be an increased awareness and internalization and stronger European dimension to the in-service training procedures of staff in ECEC. Apart from the initial implementation of the SIA-ProD approach in physical activities in ECEC, an overall future ambition of the project is to expand the current methodology and instruments in almost every domain of ECEC. Then every early childhood educator will have the resources for self-evaluation and individualized self-training. A future expansion of the DCM methodology in more European countries and in more areas of ECEC could have a significant impact to the quality of teacher education and enhance the European added value of the project.
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6 Partners Participants