DEVELOPING LEARNING NETS BETWEEN THE SCHOOL AND THE UNIVERSITY THROUGH WORKING PROJECTS
The Project for the Improvement of Teaching Quality entitled ‘A Learning Community between the school and the University through Working Projects’ has devoted its efforts to establish collaborative nets and to obtain dialogical learning (García Díaz & García Pérez, 1989; Hernández & Ventura, 2002) on the teacher students (from the Early Years branch) of the Faculty of Education and on pre-selected in-service teachers whose innovative and committed practices can be considered a valuable professional reference point.
From the Working Projects methodology (WPs ahead) we started building Learning Communities based on the collaboration and communicative exchange of experiences among teachers and lecturers.
This innovative teaching experience is framed in the subject from the 2nd course of Early Years Teachers entitled ‘General Didactics’ and involves seven lecturers of the Faculty of Education from different departments, sixteen Early Years teachers who are attached to twelve schools in Córdoba and its province, eighty teacher students, three hundred and twenty 4 year-old children and two advisories from the CEP ‘Luisa Revuelta’ in Córdoba.
The project developed is based on the idea that the connection between real scenarios and the initial training of teachers is a highly useful learning process. The possibility to learn from professionals, who are characterized by their innovative and committed career, makes practical learning of professional models easy. This learning allows them to approach to school reality to live their needs, difficulties, possibilities and actual requests, thus offering them a number of times to contrast theory and practice, to test their professional competences and to have the opportunity to interact with children in educational contexts. They experiment the difficulty to take multiple decisions that frequently are unforeseeable and uncertain in multidimensional, changing, and complex scenarios.
Our work is based on a cooperative organization of the University classroom, on learning acquisition through research processes, and on an integrated curriculum approach. Through five working sessions (in which all agent participate to reach a consensus on the topics for the WPs), the Early Years teachers have been assigned to each group integrated by University students. The WPs have been developed in the Early Years classrooms undertaking the following phases: documentation, production and assessment. Finally, a focus group was settled to evaluate the experience globally, to identify their weaknesses, and to make proposals of improvement.