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Increasing student achievement by increasing student engagement and motivation in Technical and Vocational Education Schools
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

A' Technical School of Limassol is the oldest & largest public Secondary Technical and Vocational School based in Limassol, Cyprus and is centrally located. Our school offers theoretical and vocational training to 580 students many of them immigrants and non-native speakers, with diverse ethnic backgrounds and of low socioeconomic status. Although our school strives to offer progressive theoretical and vocational education, a challenging curriculum, and work experiences that prepare students for continued learning, the overwhelming majority of the student population enter our school with low achievement scores, minimal interest and negative attitudes in lessons such as Physics and Mathematics making the implementation and the fulfillment of our mission a difficult task. There is strong evidence that increasing student achievement scores can be achieved by increasing student engagement and motivation, and there are several aspects of our school which support that goal with most of the work guided by our school’s Professional Development Committee. But as Cyprus is a small country, specialized courses, seminars and staff training workshops about increasing student motivation in Technical and Vocational Education are non-existent. Therefore there is an urgent need for our school staff to participate in courses that specifically focus on how to motivate Technical and Vocational Education students and take place in an international context. The main goal of this project is to design and implement effective instructional initiatives that result in increased student motivation, engagement, and success. The objectives of the project are : – To implement research-based instructional strategies designed to maximize active student engagement in learning activities in all curriculum areas beginning in the 2015-16 school year – To identify best practices in all curriculum areas that have student engagement and motivation as a primary component, select strategies, and propose relevant professional development courses for selected teachers and school leaders. The course participants will be an Assistant Deputy Headmaster and members of our school's Professional Development Committee. The participants were selected on the basis of their experience, motivation and the ability to disseminate the knowledge and the experiences that will be gained during training. The participants will take part in the course "Enhance Technical and Vocational Education-Motivate Students of Technical and Vocational Education" offered by the international in-service training organization Eekhoutcentrum PIC 947859169. During the course will be engaged in activities regarding motivation and how a positive influence on motivation can be achieved, methods to create a motivation-friendly atmosphere and how to influence the unqualified drop out. Also they will learn a specific approach to design lessons for technical education and design a strategy to improve the educational quality of the school. Finally they will learn how cooperation between education and industry/services can be achieved. After the course, the participants will establish continued communication with the course provider and participants from other schools, operate an e-communication platform make use of eTwinning, our school's web page and personal bogs. They will also be in communication with other colleagues and the school community. They will be responsible for the valorisation and implementation of the course content in our school, and the integration of the course into our school's pronominalization plan. Moreover they will constantly monitor and evaluate the implementation of the project in order to ensure the project's sustainability. The participants after the completion of the main course activities will utilize the new knowledge and skills acquired from the training course: • to design and implement new curriculum and teaching practices that hopefully will change the attitude of students towards school, raise the level of students' motivation and help them acquire knowledge effectively, thus increasing their scores and overall performance. • to work with other teachers of our school and other schools in professional development activities to foster teacher engagement in the new curriculum and teaching practices in order to implement these new curriculum visions within all our schools' classrooms. The change in classroom practice is expected to make the lessons more amusing and entertaining for the students, thus increasing their motivation for classroom participation and raise their level of engagement in learning. Students' attitude towards Physics and other problematic subjects is expected to change from negative to positive and their performance is expected to raise. Experienced teaching staff and motivated students will create a positive school climate and improve the overall quality of our school and hopefully be a model for other schools to follow

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