SUPPORTING TEACHERS' PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON INCLUSIVE LEARNING DESIGN: A CASE STUDY OF AN ERASMUS+ PROJECT
1 National Research Council - Institute for Educational Technology (ITALY)
2 University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski" (BULGARIA)
3 Avgoulea-Linardatou school (GREECE)
4 144 Narodni Buditeli school (BULGARIA)
5 Neapolis Gymnasium (CYPRUS)
6 Rocca-Bovio-Palumbo School (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper discusses the approach and outcomes of PLEIADE (https://pleiade-project.eu/), an Erasmus Plus project involving eight partners, including four primary and lower secondary schools. PLEIADE aims to improve the ability of European teachers (in the first place, those involved in the project, but through its legacies, potentially many others) to ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop their potential regardless of their economic or socio-cultural background and to educate them to the principles of a socially inclusive society. To this end, the project adopts a playful and participatory approach to teachers’ professional development, by improving their ability to co-design collaborative learning activities for their students. Aim of the paper is, not only to illustrate the project approach ad achievements, thus making sure that its results can be taken advantage of in contexts and countries other than those involved in the project, but also to discuss the main issues faced during the project implementation in order increase awareness of potential and limitations of the Erasmus Plus Programme, and specifically the Strategic Partnerships for schools. In view of this twofold aim, in the paper, we provide a description of the PLEIADE project aims, approach and structure (in terms of its main phases of work and outcomes). For each of these, compatibly with the current status of activities (the project is currently at the third and last year of development), we discuss the problems faced and the solutions adopted, the issues remaining open and, in some cases, we point to the features of the above mentioned program that do not seem to be functional to the achievements of its own aims. This way, we hope this contribution can inform future European policies in the field of school innovation and be of use for other projects meeting similar issues in the same funding program.
With this regard, while the main potential of the Erasmus Plus programme is that it provides the opportunity to research institutions and schools to work together and to teachers to meet their colleagues in different countries, some features of this programme appear not to be functional to realize such potential and hence they limit its impact. For example, the funding scheme is such that the project partner who hosts a face-to-face training event receives no budget, while, usually, the hosting institutions is in charge of designing and running the training during the event. This translates into the undesirable message that these events are merely nice opportunities for travel or that effective training events can be organized with no effort. Similarly, online training is not funded, or it is funded much less than face-to-face training. Again, the implicit message is that online training can be improvised, while it usually requires more accurate design work than face-to face training. As far as Multiplier Events are concerned, these should be held by each partner in their respective countries, as if holding a Multiplier event outside the project’s partner countries were not potentially more promising in terms of outreach. These and other features of the programme will be discussed in the paper.
Keywords: Participatory approaches to Teacher Professional Development, Learning Design, Collaborative learning, Inclusive education, Gamification, Erasmus Plus Programme.