Archive of European Projects

Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh Upskilling in Europe
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

We strive to promote a policy of inclusion at our mainstream primary school in Ireland. With almost one third of our pupils attending learning support at our school and having recently added an autistic unit to our institution, we are still learning how to best address the needs of all pupils from culturally diverse backgrounds, with and without SEN. We are constantly striving to improve our teaching methods with regard to differentiation in order to support every child in their individual learning process. An insight into current European practice and thinking in this area of education would be very beneficial to our school. With this in mind, this need can be addressed through job shadowing at an integrated primary school called 'Charlotte-Salomon School' in a very multi-cultural area of Berlin, Germany. We will send 3 SEN teachers (qualified as both mainstream primary and SEN teachers) here to 'job shadow', observe, take notes, discuss and question experienced staff and to also witness and investigate resources used , particularly relevant to SEN. We will also send 3 teachers with similar qualifications to Rantakylän Koulu School in Joensuu, Finland - a school where inclusion is also highly promoted with the integration of mainstream pupils in a predominantly SEN school. It is hoped that the teachers having explored and witnessed models of best practice in these schools will return to Ireland with a stronger awareness of their European citizenship and will also be motivated to try out new teaching methodologies and access new resources, whilst promoting new thinking and valuable discussion amongst colleagues. Long term, this should inform school curriculum, policy and practice as well as nurturing in themselves and fellow teachers a willingness to upskill and collaborate further with European partners. As an ongoing participant of the 'Green Schools' project in Ireland, we would now like to extend our work whereby we can link outdoor environmental education with other curricular areas. As a coastal school, we do not feel we are making best use of our natural environment. We are very interested in meeting European teachers with similar interests with a view to improving teacher competencies in this field and formulating partnerships for future collaborative projects. Sending 3 teachers on a training course on outdoor environmental education to Kinda in south eastern Sweden should also provide teachers with a toolbox of ideas and European teacher and school contacts to bring back to the Irish classroom. Selected teachers are particularly interested in environmental education and work very hard to promote a green school environment. The long term benefits of this training will facilitate curricular development in this area with a view to integrating other subject areas and optimum use of the beach behind our school - a great natural resource, right on our doorstep. Although our school makes use of interactive whiteboards with a small number of classroom PCs and most recently ipads for SEN teachers, we have limited technological training with no experts on site. At a time when we will soon be investing in a new building and updating some of our technological equipment, it is the optimum time to invest in teacher training in the use of ICT as a learning tool for our pupils and to facilitate European communication and collaboration. It is important that we have modern and up to date training in this area. With this in mind, we are sending 3 teachers to train on an ICT course for teachers in Ta'Xbiex, Malta. The teachers selected will have some / or little ICT knowledge but will also demonstrate a strong desire to improve their competence in this field. This will facilitate the learning of elearning concepts and the use of European platforms such as eTwinning. Improved expertise in this area will promote and assist in the technological advancement of teacher colleagues and an investment into useful resources, tools and techniques learned about through training. The longterm benefits include a more motivated s school staff who recognise the value and advantages of European teacher training courses as well as the ability to use tools that facilitate participation in virtual European projects, thus developing relationships which will foster mutual tolerance and respect within our European community.
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