The Educational Research Institute is leading the CoLab “Promoting innovative collaborative teaching and learning” Project in Poland, in partnership with a consortium of seven European institutions. The project supports the professional development of teachers in using innovative teaching methods in the classroom, and above all, in promoting collaborative group learning among pupils.
The project promotes the development and more extensive use of the skills of group work. IBE’s research shows that this form of organising work is not often used by teachers, who fear the loss of control over the course of such classes and find it difficult to assess the contribution of individual pupils to the end result of the group’s work. However, the skills of team work are highly valued by employers, who for years have been claiming that school graduates seeking jobs have inadequate teamwork skills.
The project’s activities include:
- conducting a cycle of three workshops addressed to project participants, representatives of local governments and central government bodies responsible for education, as well as organisations supporting education
- offering a six-week online training course, which began in October 2016, for teachers, future teachers and persons providing teacher training.
The main aim of the training is to provide practitioners with the opportunity to experiment and better understand what collaborative teaching and learning means in practice.
Training materials, including teaching scenarios and the training platform, are accessible through http://colab.eun.org/home and the website of the European Schoolnet Academy http://www.europeanschoolnetacademy.eu/web/collaborative-teaching-and-learning. Course modules are available below the video and course description and the site also has interesting videos about innovative ways to conduct classes, also using information technologies.
Viola Pinzi at the Warsaw workshop
A special guest attended the Warsaw training on collaborative teaching and learning. Viola Pinzi, the coordinator of the international Co-Lab project joined us from Belgium.
Together with Małgorzatą Zub of IBE, she presented the study on the understanding of collaborative learning conducted among project participants in partner countries. Four of five respondents stated that pupils achieve better results in those school subjects in which collaborative learning is used.
Next, Dorota Sobierańska and Małgorzata Sieńczewska from the Pedagogy Faculty of the University of Warsaw led a small group session on the roles in a group during the process of collaborative learning. Urszula Poziomek of IBE and Ewa Pyłka-Gutowska of MSDN illustrated the differences in the understanding of collaborative learning in relationship to group work and signaled the importance of the competences of teachers in this process.
Katarzyna Korzec of School Complex No. 1 in Szprotawa presented a scenario for an English language class that meets the criteria of collaborative learning. Marek Tarwacki, the long-term director of the School Complex in Łajski, spoke about the importance of the leader in creating a favourable atmosphere for collaboration between teachers and pupils. Beata Rola, a consultant at MSCDN, led a workshop session on team work with members having different educational needs.
The next meeting will be on June 5, 2016. This workshop will serve as a forum for project participants who will be teaching classes using collaborative learning scenarios from March to June. This will be an opportunity to share experiences and thoughts with other workshop participants.
Presentation – Wyniki badania wstępnego [Results of the initial study]
You are invited to the e-learning platform
The project’s e-learning platform – CO-LAB MOOC on Collaborative Teaching and Learning – was launched on October 24, 2016. The course has four modules focused on integrating collaborative teaching and learning in school. It includes videos of experts and teachers from various countries, example scenarios of classes and a section on assessing the contribution of individual pupils to a group’s work. The platform provided opportunities for the exchange of experiences with other course participants from within the country or from abroad. Question and answer sessions with experts were also conducted (November 15 at 18:00 and November 23 at 18:00).
Information about the course is available from the website of the European Schoolnet Academy http://www.europeanschoolnetacademy.eu/web/collaborative-teaching-and-learning. Course modules are available below the video and course description.
Workshops for educators
The first of three planned project workshops was held on May 18, 2016. Participants included representatives from schools, teacher training institutions and future teachers (Mazovian Local Government Centre of Continuing Education for Teachers, Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training, Pedagogy Faculty of the University of Warsaw), Education Development Centre, office of the superintendent of education and IBE.
The purpose of the workshop was to familiarize participants with the aims and activities of the project and to discuss the possibilities and the daily practice of teaching students through collaboration. The workshop was divided into two parts, each containing elements of theory and practice through the organisation of workshop exercises in smaller groups. The first part included a session on the psychological basis of working with an educational group led by IBE experts. The second part presented examples of good practices for group work in the classroom in the subjects of nature and history. This session was jointly conducted by experts from IBE and the Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training. The workshop ended with a general discussion about issues relating to teaching pupils teamwork, the ability to assess individual students’ work in groups, addressing core curriculum requirements, and the practice of teacher-led classroom lessons using elements of pupils’ work in groups.
The presentations from the workshop are provided below (in Polish):
- Krótko o projekcie [Overview of the project]
- Czym jest Collaborative Learning? [What is Collaborative Learning?]
- Psychologiczne podstawy pracy z grupą edukacyjną [Psychological basis of working with educational groups]
- PRACA W GRUPIE NA LEKCJACH PRZEDMIOTU PRZYRODA. Przykłady dobrych praktyk [Work in a group during a class on nature. Examples of good practices]
- Gra o polski tron. Jak uczyć historii przez współdziałanie uczniów w grupie? [Game of the Polish throne. How to teach history by having pupils collaborate in a group?]