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Motivating Students towards Technical and Vocational Education
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Technical School St. Lazarus is a public Secondary Technical and Vocational School located in the southern tourist area of Larnaca, Cyprus known as the Mackenzie beach. Its mission is to provide knowledge and skill-development to its students and to cultivate their attitudes and behavior in accordance with the Secondary Technical and Vocational Education system. Our school offers theoretical and vocational training to 320 students in 6 areas of Study: • Engineering • Automotive Engineering • Civil Engineering and Architecture • Art Studies • Services • Hairdressing Some of the students are immigrants and non-native speakers of diverse ethnic backgrounds and low socioeconomic status. Although our school strives to offer progressive theoretical and vocational education, a challenging curriculum and work experience that prepares students for continuous learning, the majority of the students enroll at the school with low achievement scores, minimal interest and negative attitude making the school’s mission a difficult task. Student achievement scores can be increased by increasing student’s engagement and motivation. Despite Cyprus being a small island, our organization’s staff regularly attend specialized courses, seminars and staff training workshops, focused on increasing student motivation in Technical and Vocational Education which are organized by both, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and the Ministry of Education of Cyprus, to improve the quality of education provided in Cyprus. It is therefore, of vital importance that our staff experience the different teaching strategies of other countries so that they may implement these new methods together with their own skills to improve their teaching capabilities, motivate students, and handle cooperation between education and industry in order to improve the educational quality of our school. Therefore, there is an urgent need for our school’s staff to participate in courses that focus on how to motivate Technical and Vocational Education students and take place in an international context. The projects main goal is to design and implement effective instructional initiatives that will increase student motivation, engagement and success. Its objectives are: - To implement research-based instructional strategies designed to maximize active student engagement in learning activities in all curriculum areas commencing the academic year 2015-2016 - To identify best practices in all curriculum areas that involve 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 staff from our school's Professional Development Committee who have been carefully selected based on their experience, motivation and ability to disseminate the knowledge and the experiences that they will gain during training. The participants will take part in the source "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 they will participate 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. They will also become acquainted with methods related to specific approaches used in the lessons for technical education in order to improve the school’s quality. 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 other schools. They will be responsible for: - the valorization and implementation of the course content in our school programme will constantly monitor and evaluate the implementation of the project in order to ensure the it’s sustainability. - designing and implementing the new curriculum and teaching practices that will aim to change the attitude of students towards school, raise the level of student's motivation and help them acquire knowledge effectively thus increasing their scores and overall performance. - working with other teachers of our school and other schools in professional development activities to foster teachers’ engagement in the new curriculum visions within all our school's classrooms. The change in classroom practice is expected to make the lessons more interesting for the students, resulting in an increase in the students motivation, participation and engagement in learning and their attitude towards all subjects is expected to improve and increase their performance. It is expected that the experienced teaching staff and motivated students will create a positive school climate and help to improve the overall quality of our school, which will prove to be a model for other schools to follow.

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