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Hugo Treffneri Gümnaasiumi õpetajate ja laiendatud juhtkonna Euroopa-suunaline õpiränne 2015-2017
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In broad terms, the current project is aimed at advancing the curriculum development at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium (HTG). The focus will be on two key areas in particular - A. teaching foreign languages (English and French) and B. creating a learner-centered environment considering the needs of high-achieving students at school. In our increasingly connected global society the foreign language skills of students have improved considerably over the last decade. We know that teachers need to innovate and learn themselves to be able to support young people in the teaching/learning process. Thus, teachers must be professionals when it comes to foreign language instruction, but at the same time they need to master most recent teaching and learning approaches. One central topic of the project deals with the reorganization and further development of foreign language teaching at HTG. To achieve the aforementioned, we have selected the courses that focus on the following areas: 1. Curriculum development for Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and its application possibilities at HTG. 2. Changing education paradigms (e.g. flipped classroom) 3. Professional (linguistic) development of foreign language teachers in the target language and culture. The plan is to involve seven teachers in the training, i.e. six teachers of English and one French teacher, all of whom are qualified professionals with similar earlier in-service training and international project participation/management experience. Among them are two teachers with a master's degree in written translation and two mentors for trainee teachers from Tartu University. Enhancing the effectiveness of foreign language instruction at HTG is just part of the broader school curriculum development that aims to move towards creating a more learner-centered study environment that supports the individual development of each student. We need to pay more attention to high-achieving and gifted young people who according to PISA test results are not able to achieve their full potential in our school system. The same test also reveals that our Nordic neighbours do much better in several respects and, therefore, the school team wishes to find new approaches and methods that could be implemented effectively for the school improvement. Likewise we are seeking innovative ways to improve teaching and studying arrangements in upper-secondary school (i.e. gymnasium) following the Finnish example and sharing the experience gained with other similar schools in Estonia. The school team consisting of 10 members will definitely bring back the best practices from school visits in Helsinki to be applied at HTG and shared with colleagues all over Estonia. The project is managed by the school development manager and two foreign language teachers, who in close cooperation with the school management and project participants map out the training needs of the staff, find suitable training courses and see to the implementation of the project. Foreign language teachers attend courses related to innovative teaching methods, creating a more learner-centered environment, learning about the latest trends in language and culture, all of them with a CLIL component since that is one of the key goals of the project. The school management team learns from the positive experience of the Finnish schools whose students are equally high-achieving with our students. The expected outcome and impact are as follows: - the school has become more learner-centered where students' individual development is taken into account and supported; - foreign language teachers acquire CLIL methods and its various application options; - teachers gain a better understanding of the advantages of teamwork in creating a learner-centered study environment; - teachers can assess the usefulness of different methods for different student learning styles and in the context of changed educational paradigms (e.g. flipped classroom). All the listed results of the planned training will contribute to the overall advancement of the school curriculum. The goal is to improve the quality of teaching and learning through innovative methods and modern technology, and most importantly putting students at the very heart of the process. Last but not least, the planned project will enhance the professional skills of language teachers and the impact thereof is much wider than just one school.
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