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Intercultural learning in mathematics and science initial teacher education
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

With the proposed project, we offer a constructive contribution to tackle one of Europe’s greatest challenges: Education for an increasing number of refugee and immigrant youth. To integrate them into European educational systems and to provide for stable, socially cohesive societies we need well-educated teachers who are prepared for and able to deal with diversity in classrooms.Our project focuses on increasing the quality of the initial education of prospective mathematics and science teachers by including intercultural learning into their curricula.WHY?Initial teacher education (ITE) programmes at European universities do not adequately prepare prospective teachers for the aforementioned challenge. This is especially true for ITE students of maths and science, as their curricula are largely subject-oriented and lack a wider societal perspective.There is an urgent need to promote intercultural learning as an integral part of maths and science ITE curricula: Prospective maths and science teachers need to learn how to cope with language barriers, culturally different preconcepts about science and highly varying proficiencies of (immigrant) pupils.Maths and science competences are crucial for civic participation, academic and professional success. If comprehension and communication problems due to language barriers or cultural differences are not addressed, pupils with immigrant background perform poorly in maths and science. In order to secure educational opportunities for immigrant and refugee youth, it is essential to improve the initial education of maths and science teachers.For intercultural learning first-hand experiences are indispensable and particularly relevant to future teachers. However their participation in mobility programmes is under-proportionate. Prospective maths and science teachers are among the least mobile students and therefore should be offered opportunities for first-hand experiences.WE AIM TO• Increase the quality of higher education (HE);• Improve the relevance of HE curricula for prospective maths and science teachers by linking maths/science pedagogy with intercultural learning;• Strengthen prospective teachers’ social, civic and intercultural competences;• Equip prospective teachers with the skills to deal with challenges of multicultural classrooms;• Promote student mobility to enable first-hand intercultural experiences;• Strengthen transnational cooperation between universities in establishing mobility programmes for maths and science students in ITE.PRODUCTS AND ACTIVITIESCore to the project is the design and implementation of open access teaching modules on intercultural learning for prospective maths and science teachers. These modules will be purposefully designed (flexible structure, modular, user guidance) so that they can be easily used in existing university courses and curricula. Piloting and peer review of the modules will ensure high quality.Two international summer schools will give prospective teachers the opportunity to experience interculturality first-hand. Two international and four national multiplier events will support the dissemination of the project results.Main target group of the project are university teachers in maths and science ITE, in particular those concerned with HE curriculum development and/or student mobility. They will integrate the HE modules created within the project into their regular university courses. Other target groups are enablers of student mobility and policy makers.Partner institutions will regularly communicate and meet twice a year at project meetings. A distinctive feature of the project’s methodology is working in groups, mutual learning and using synergies when developing the intellectual outputs as well as all other activities.WHO?The project brings together 11 teams of higher education institutions for ITE from across Europe comprising experts in maths and science education, in inclusion and diversity, in mobility and intercultural learning, as well as persons involved in pilot projects for refugees. Our partners are from Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.IMPACTOur project will contribute to make the initial education of prospective maths and science teachers more relevant and more adapted to societal challenges of an increasingly diverse Europe.The desired impact of the project is (1) a broad implementation of the modules created within the project in maths and science ITE courses all over Europe as well as (2) the achievement of greater progress towards curriculum innovation with respect to the inclusion of intercultural learning as an integral part of maths and science subject didactics.In the long run, culturally sensitive maths and science teaching will have great impact on educational progress of immigrant and refugee youth in general and open up opportunities for their social participation.
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