R. Garciandia

University of Murcia (SPAIN)
Recent reforms to achieve an effective “European Space for Higher Education” include, among others, the development and implementation of new learning and teaching methodologies. The main reason for that need is the swift that already started from the classical learning model to a new one, based on the acquisition of competencies. This new model aims to make the student more proactive and engaged with his/her own education.

In that sense, it is convenient to test new techniques, in order to identify the ones that better serve this purpose. A good technique would allow the teacher to transfer knowledge to students, and would help students develop new skills and become autonomous professionals.

This paper presents the “Teachers for one day” project, held in 2011 at one of the courses the author teaches at the University of Murcia. Students of Group II, second grade, of the course “Instituciones y Derecho de la Unión Europea”, taught at the Faculty of Law, were encouraged to participate in that experience, through giving them extra positive evaluation for final marks.

The project was designed as follows: for one lesson, students would prepare oral presentations, organized by groups, and they would explain the subject to the class. Each group would talk for fifteen minutes, and answer any questions that the audience may have. The professor would tutor and control the groups during the whole process.
Three different phases can be differentiated in the process. First, the definition phase would include building the groups, defining the criteria for group work, and choosing the subject. Second, the preparation phase would imply meeting with the teacher, adapting to suggested changes, oral presentation preparation, and training on how to answer the questions. Third, the feedback phase would require reflections from both students and the professor, allowing all parts to learn as much as possible from the project.

Overall the project was very successful, and it could be said that it reached reasonably well the aforementioned characteristics of a good teaching technique. Knowledge transmission is guaranteed, as could be seen analysing final exams. Regarding skills, the success is backed up by practical experience. Many skills have been developed. A notable progress was made on work in groups, independent research, and internal group discussion. Openness to suggestions, communication skills, and empathy are other important skills this project helped develop.