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Developing the school towards internalisation and the new curriculum
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background of the project: Upper secondary schools have many challenges ahead when facing both financial cutbacks and reforms at the same time. The new curriculum in 2016 and the new, electronic matriculation examination create a need to renew and develop teaching and teaching methodologies. School motivation is also a challenge that needs to be addressed by updating and modernizing teaching methods. In financially challenged times, the training opportunities for teachers are scarce despite the constantly growing need for training. Internationalisation is also increasing and this aspect will need to be taken into account in all teaching. The new course types of the new curriculum will require both national and international cooperation. To overcome all the previous challenges, all teachers need intercultural skills, better language skills and strong ICT skills. There is no time to stop in a world that keeps developing faster and faster if we want to maintain the high quality of education. For our school the remote location has always been an additional challenge since travelling always takes more time and financial resources. All these challenges inspired us to apply for an opportunity to offer our staff international training and development opportunities to help them overcome the challenges ahead, develop the skills needed in the future and to gain ways to renew the pedagogical aspects of their work and to get inspired to start international cooperation. Project goals: The main goals of the training courses were to improve language and intercultural skills of the staff, to gain new information and methods in the field taught at school, to improve the use of ICT in teaching and to gain new perspectives on teaching and learning. At the same time the teachers updated teaching methods and contents to match the requirements of the new curriculum and gained opportunities for networking and finding potential new partners in Europe for future cooperation projects. All the information gained was also shared among the staff to enforce a new culture of sharing and peer learning among teachers. Participants and the chosen courses: We offered the opportunity to attend a course abroad to all our teachers already at the application stage. In the end nine teachers of different subjects wanted to participate. They are all full-time teachers of the upper secondary school at very different stages of their career. Everyone got to choose the skill that was most important to develop and look for a suitable course. Our geography and biology teacher chose a course in Portugal (focusing on climate change), our Swedish teacher chose a course in Sweden (meant especially for Swedish teachers), our guidance counsellor, headmaster and maths teacher all wanted to focus on their language and intercultural skills and chose language courses in Ireland, our Finnish teacher chose an ICT course in Spain to renew her methodology, our history teacher and religion and psychology teacher chose a language course in historical Malta and our English teacher chose an ICT course in Malta to develop her teaching methodology. On all of the courses there were also opportunities to exchange ideas with colleagues abroad and to network and find new contacts for our school. The learning experiences were also shared with the other staff in teachers' conferences and workshops to multiply the learning experience of individuals in the work community. Description of results: We achieved development in intercultural and language skills of the staff, teaching methodologies as well as in the use of ICT tools in teaching. Teachers gained new perspective on learning, teaching and crossing subject borders as well as working in national and international cooperation. By participating on the planning process actively, the teachers became active participants in developing their own skills. We also managed to advance a new pedagogy of sharing and learning from the peers. The long-term goal was to help the staff get inspired about future possibilities, develop their skills as needed and maintain a high quality of teaching. We wanted to spread knowledge as well as the enthusiasm within the community from teachers all the way to the students. The effects spread even beyond our local community through our cooperation network in the Kainuu area. All the upper secondary schools in Kainuu area became aware and inspired of the opportunity through hearing about our project. This project offered a unique learning opportunity and inspired all teachers to build European connections, to renew their own methodology and their view of learning and teaching to match the needs of the new curriculum as well as to be active participants in future international projects.
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