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G. Chianese

Free University of Bolzano-Bozen (ITALY)
Today teachers have to face various and complex challenges: considering specific needs (deficit or talents) for each learner, encouraging independent learning, promoting the acquisition and the development of key skills, using a variety of methodologies and technologies in learning, developing critical thinking and opening to different cultures.

Teachers’ quality and training are essential factors to promote a knowledge-based society (Lisbon Strategy 2000). Teachers are asked to ensure quality in teaching and to enable the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are useful in the process of personal and professional life. Nevertheless teacher training has lots of contradictions and negative points.

Objective of the research: to provide future teachers a tool-process that can support them in the design, monitoring and evaluation of their professional development paths, orienting and directing educational choices and supporting them to become "reflective practitioners"(Schon, 1983).
The project has been carried out through action research with the aim of supporting the analysis and the development of teacher competences. This “teachers’ competences profile” is characterized by the use of a tool for analysis, monitoring and evaluation skills, named Personal Development Plan (PDP). The tool has been planned in collaboration with C.E. teachers on the basis of European guidelines and national documents. The PDP is a support for the analysis of areas of expertise (input), the design and implementation of development pathways, and a monitoring and evaluation of these (output).

The research has been developed in five phases:
1) in the first phase an analysis of competences and teaching methodologies in continuing education has been carried out,
2) in the second phase the PDP has been planned;
3) in the third phase common patterns in teaching methodology have been identified;
4) in the fourth phase teachers have used the PDP;
5) in the last phase the data research have been analyzed.

Expected outcomes:
The research has defined the profile of the teacher in terms of didactic, operative and methodological competences supporting the development of individuals able to enhance it’s own learning and to make it, through in the PDP, a source of training in itself.
Through PDP I’ve tried to show combining instances of reflection and evaluation (self-and hetero directional) as well providing space for autobiographical narrative about one’s own competences and experience. Describing experiences, the competences acquired and methodologies used by, the teachers have not only described events and activities, but have revealed a deeper data such as values, expectations, cognitive modes of operation.

The data obtained from the questionnaires and the interviews shows that the PDP has supported a conscious learning, through identification of competences and contexts where learning takes place, in a conscious and an available learning process.
Motivation is a central part of PDP development. It takes time and effort: if the subject isn’t supported by a strong intrinsic motivation, the PDP management is ineffective.

This reflection opens important scenarios both in the importance of a mentor / supervisor who can implement with the PDP’ s user scaffolding activities, as well as a feedback, and in the need to organize training and development paths.