EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2017. A Facebook group was a start for a project that resulted in a course for teachers who want to work with student portfolios. As a result, new methods for teaching and learning were developed.
The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.
The project coordinated by the Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej in Poland started with a small fanpage on Facebook called “OK Zeszyt” in December 2015. The aim was to gather a group of volunteer teachers exchanging experiences, talking about their successes and problems.
From the first community, 70 teachers decided to work with student portfolios, with the help of experts from a Learning Schools programme that helped design interactive online courses. The course, designed for teachers who wanted to start a work with student portfolios, was launched in September 2016 with more than 700 subscribers and will end in May 2017, followed by a second edition.
“We wanted to help students to learn by improving teacher teaching. The project builds partnerships between teachers and their students. This partnership helps students to be responsible and independent in their learning,” says Danuta Sterna from the project.
The whole experience was recorded by Danuta Sterna and published in 22 chapters on the blog about Polish education, “Oś świata”. The fanpage “OK Zeszyt” on Facebook now has more than 7000 fans.
The work on portfolios using formative assessment helps students to learn effectively and supports the teaching process. The use of formative assessment means that the student includes in their portfolio the written goals of every lesson, tasks and tests and the precise conditions for achieving them. The portfolio is both a notebook and a textbook created for his or her own use and documenting his or her progress. It is also a new means of communication between the student and the teacher concerning learning and teaching.
“It is very difficult to change teachers’ habits in teaching. However, this is exactly what we want. We needed to build a special climate at schools and an atmosphere of partnership. Teachers don’t like to be pushed to do something. So we only showed them what they can do,” Danuta Sterna elaborates.
The profits are numerous for the students and teachers using this method. Many teachers disheartened by the challenges of teaching have started to care passionately about their work again. Teachers engage more in their work, trying new solutions, sharing ideas, improving their skills.
Eventually, the students also see the work with portfolio as a great help in learning, which changes the terms of the relationship between the student and the teacher and makes them partners.
Text: Lou-Andréa Pinson
Photo: OK Zeszyt project