LEARN

Stream: ERASMUS+ KA1

Dates: January 2015 - December 2016

Overview: To raise aspirations of staff to strive for excellence, we need to provide stimulating experiences & expose them to excellent innovative practices abroad. Training has been recognised as a key element in the Lisbon agenda for the creation of an effective ‘knowledge triangle’ of education, research & innovation (Council of the European Union 2010). Teachers’ behaviour & attitudes are largely dependent on their skills & experience & the support they receive for their work, so  continuing teacher training is thus one of the most important areas, where more effort is needed.

The 2010 "Creative Learning & Innovative Teaching: Final Report on the Study on Creativity & Innovation in Education in the EU Member States" recommends the need for  training which provides more practical guidance and less theory. Training should not be limited to institutional training but also include internatational exchanges to allow expertise to be exchanged and applied in different national contexts.

Therefore this project objective is to introduce a forward looking, modern European dimension to the Leading Learning Academy help to fulfil this ambition by giving 36 teachers and learning professionals the opportunity to undertake professional development through one week European mobility training in Sweden and Spain in order to enhance their continuing professional development in a range of competences. This will be achieved as individual participants improve their skills, enhance their professionalism and gain cultural awareness through the following project activities:

- job shadowing and sharing best practice with high performing counterparts in Europe;
- observing innovation in their subject areas (Care, Sports, Dance, Engineering, Construction) and see first hand the culture needed for innovation to occur;
- learning from the best practice of partners in developing entrepreneurial attitudes & in the field of mental health counselling for students;
- enabling teachers to observe first hand how teachers in ambitious forward thinking EU VET organisations make links between the world of VET and the world of work;
- validating the learning experience of staff using ECVET & CPD recording;
- enhancing/developing intercultural skills;
- becoming more aware of the rich cultures within partner countries;
- developing linguistic & EU knowledge through interaction with European colleagues;
- establishing a longer term programme of sharing best practice with like-minded organisations in Europe through reciprocal projects in the future;
- further building on partnership with Bollnas & HETEL, as strong partnerships make for better future opportunities for staff and students.

The LEARN project has three key aims and objectives for the staff taking part in the mobility:

1. To be open to curriculum innovation in linking with employers in the fields of Care, Sports, Construction, Energy Efficiency & Dance:

The mobility will introduce teachers to new environments in Sweden & Spain. The programme will assist teachers to identify good practice  & innovation in their subject areas regarding employer engagement in order to see how their new learning can be transferred back in their own teams in D&A. Their experience will be recorded in CPD plans & will have a positive impact on professional, personal & academic life.

2. To learn more about coaching for entrepreneurial attitudes:

Part of D&A's curriculum modernisation involves the introduction of an entrepreneurial culture across all areas.  While this is proving easier in teams with an obvious commercial aspect, it is more challenging to teachers where most of the students progress into public services. The College seeks to work with these teachers to broaden their approach to what is an enterprise culture and what are enterprising attitudes that they can help to develop in their students as part of their core curriculum.

3. To learn about mental health counselling for students:

D&A group tutors new role is to enhance social & emotional support to learners to increase retention, attainment, achievement &  well-being.  CfE emphasises the importance of viewing learners holistically taking into account emotional & social aspects of learning. As Sweden has made school based counselling mandatory it would be advantageous to see how this is working and how we could improve our systems, especially mental health.

Expected outcomes:

Participation will lead to improved professional and personal competences for participants as staff gain the following:

New skills in the teaching of enterprising culture to their students within their subject areas by learning from the best practice of partners;

New ideas for curriculum development and links with industry in areas of Care, Sports, Energy efficiency, Construction and Dance;

Knowledge of new ideas, new teaching techniques and  & new ways of working that can be applied to their subject areas;

Opened up attitudes by widening their horizons and seeing cultural differences are at work.  They will seek to understand the reasons for the difference and learn what positive messages they can bring back home;

New knowledge about how teachers in ambitious forward thinking EU VET organisations make links between the world of VET and the world of work;

Enhanced or developed intercultural skills and competences;

New knowledge of the rich cultures within partner countries;

Basic linguistic skills (in Spanish and Swedish) to enable them to function on their own - when travelling and using local services;

Knowledge about the EU through interaction during mobility with European colleagues;

The validation of the learning experience of staff, some of whom are undertaking on-the-job teacher training, will take place using using ECVET, Europass Mobility certification and CPD recording.

The development of competences of the participating staff will help to realise the LLA ambitions: "... to advancing D&A College's aspiration for excellence in learning and teaching and all of its services, and to facilitate the development of first class professional learning for everyone who works at the College."  It will help to strengthen D&A College in the following ways:

Returning staff will share their knowledge with colleagues which will motivate and inspire them to participate in future projects;

Returning staff will apply new knowledge to improve learning and teaching approaches and improve curriculum for the benefit of students, helping to make VET more attractive;

Staff who visited Spain will introduce learning activity to develop enterprising culture into their courses & new knowledge about energy efficiency in engineering and construction;

Staff who visited Sweden will transfer learning into new practices to strengthen engagement with employers and greater awareness of how counselling can support student mental health and well-being;

The demand for future mobility placements will be led by staff wishing to gain similar motivating experiences;

The European/international dimension of D&A will grow as more staff see the benefits and impacts of working with European colleagues and participate in future projects.



Updates:

February 2016: Phase 1 of the project is now complete with 6 staff spending a week in HETEL in May 2015 and 8 staff doing similar in Bollnas in September 2015.

We are now putting plans in place for the 2016 cohorts which will include another 6 staff to HETEL and 16 staff to Bollnas in September. Academic Heads are invited to consider potential attendee's and more information will be provided shortly.