Five-Star Quality Teaching
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2016
One of the more long-standing unresolved problems for educators has been to establish the conditions that result in all adolescent students wanting to pursue productive learning within the school setting and experiencing success. Our school, aiming to be consistent with its mission to inspire students to become enthusiastic life-long learners who value integrity, cultural diversity, the pursuit of excellence, to be creative, critical thinkers, and socially responsible European and world citizens, strongly believes in the power of educators and that learning must be a life-long process where everyone is valued as a unique individual who deserves an education which respects his or her differences. Research findings, focused on the final years of enrollment in our school, revealed a strong pattern of under-achievement, and disengagement from school. Our teachers often lack the ability to develop strategies to increase learner motivation and involvement and to use creative teaching methodologies by exploiting, adapting and creating materials that affect learning. Hence, it was imperative that we acquire professional guidance on the practical elements that would help teachers foster a more student-centered learning environment. In order to realize our objectives, our school development team, after thorough research, has decided to work with several acknowledged course providers abroad as they would offer valuable training sessions in which they provided us with a variety of tools that have equipped teachers with a refreshing plethora of skills. Our project was ambitious, as it involved all members of our teaching staff both directly, by training sessions held by the above-mentioned professionals abroad to three selected members of our staff, as well as indirectly, by training sessions and sample lessons held by the trainees to the rest of our teaching staff. Questionnaires and evaluation reports were filled out by teachers and students who have observed the sample lessons, discussions were held and guidance was given to help all teachers incorporate the practices they have observed into their own lessons. Most of the teachers have developed differentiated lesson plans and provided sample lessons observed within the academic year and conclusions have been shared in E-twinning and school website. Our efforts have been evaluated by peers, parents and students, and using statistical methods of summarizing data as well as hypothesis tests, we have concluded that our teaching methods have had a positive effect on students' motivation and learning. Through the Project Management and Quality Plan we have recorded all actions taken, to monitor progress and to evaluate expected outcomes both during and after the project. Our evaluation's findings will be used to improve future mobility projects' organization and funding.
Our project was a deliberate attempt to transform the whole ecology of schooling by identifying the elements that are essential for promoting improved learning in the final years. It has assisted our school, as well as others through the dissemination procedures, to audit their practices against the conceptual framework of the general design elements. This will enable our school to recognize its relative strengths and weaknesses, identify the areas on which to focus reform activities and allow our educators to adopt international modern classroom practices, leading to our gradual transformation into a modern international learning environment where individual needs are recognized and all students are acknowledged for what they are strong at. Pupils will benefit by experiencing modern, international, student-centered, differentiated teaching practices and will achieve their learning goals more easily as knowledge will be constructed and not emitted. The results align with our strategic development and long-term objectives to enhance learning with dynamic, modern teaching practices that increase learner motivation, involvement, life-long learning and the desired, 'Five-Star Quality Teaching'.
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