ERASMUS + STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP project
National Centre for Education Republic of Latvia (Coordinator) www.visc.gov.lv,
Education Development Center (Latvia)
University of Iceland (HASKOLI ISLANDS) www.hi.is,
MARINO INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION (Ireland) www.mie.ie,
European Education & Learning Institute (Greece) www.eeli.edu.gr,
MINISTERIO DA EDUCACAO E CIENCIA (DGAE) (Portugal) www.portugal.gov.pt
Aim: to explore the experience and best practice of partner countries in supporting activeengagement of learners (both students and teachers) in planning, implementation and evaluation of the learning process at school and beyond in order for them to become co-creators of their own learning within collaborative learning process.
Desk research – Students and teachers involvement in the teaching/learning process: experience and challenges
Study Visit to Riga 28 – 30 March 2023
Day 1 - Tuesday, 28/03/2025
The opening meeting took place at the IAC premises, where the welcome was given by its director and partner in the project, Iveta Vērse, who presented the centre's activities.
It was then the turn of the representative of the Latvian Ministry of Education and project coordinator, Aina Špaca, to talk about the work developed by the department where she works, which, in addition to formal education, also coordinates non-formal career-oriented education (choirs, orchestras, dance, song groups, drama).
She then presented the Latvian education system, a country of 1.8 million inhabitants, with 21 204 teachers in the system, a number which, however, cannot be considered accurate since if a teacher is placed in 2 schools he/she will be counted twice. Compulsory education is 9 years and it is also compulsory for all children to attend 1 year of pre-school before entering the primary school. There is a national curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education, but schools are free to manage it as long as they respect the established output profiles of pupils.
The teachers' timetable in Latvia is 21 teaching hours and they have a weekly schedule of 40 hours, however they do not have to remain in school. The municipalities are responsible for selecting school principals, who must be trained teachers but do not have to have attendd any specialization couse. They only have to prove that they have been involved in managing a school for at least two years. There are no fixed mandates, which means that a headteacher can remain in a school for many years. More
Study Visit to Lisbon - Portugal 15/11/2022 - 17/11/2022
There were three exciting, content-rich days with warm drizzling rain in the Lisbon as a part of the Erasmus+ project LeCoLe (Learners as Co-creators of Their Own Learning). EDC team enjoyed the visit together with colleagues from VISC/Latvia, Ireland, Iceland and Greece. As the project is approaching its closing part we have become friends feeling professional and just personal support from each other. In all countries we are looking for good examples and inspirational practices on how to create learning environment promoting students’ and teachers’ active cooperation, mutual learning and shared responsibility about planning, implementation, and assessment in the school and beyond. We are very thankful to Portuguese team and especially to Lilia Vicente from Ministerio da Educacao e Siencia (DGAE).
During the visit we learned about cooperation among Calouste Gulbenkian museum and science center and schools in Portugal. November 15th was devoted to system of education in Rio Maior and cooperation among different schools. It was so impressive how in this small town everything and everybody is close to each other and open to cooperation: School Cluster Fernando Casimiro Pereira da Silva, Rio Maior Professional School, Rio Maior Sports College, High Performance Sports Centre in Rio Maior. Very interesting and enriching was working lunch with leaders of the municipality and its educational sector, representatives from the Parents’ committee and local enterprises. It is so nice to see how stakeholders form joined team to develop field of education in their town.
November 16 brings an opportunity to get familiar with the student-teacher cooperation and active mutual learning in one of the largest Lisabone’ secondary schools - Camões Secondary School. There are around 1 000 students in the day program and around 700 students in the evening department. There are 14 sets of 10th grades with five of the with deepened learning of the natural sciences. Nice, contemporary school building, high professionalism of teachers, students’ civic and creative engagement all together witnesses truly modern educational establishment where lots of money gets invested to get it back for the benefit of society in the nearest future.
Lots of inspiration, ideas, and observation to bring home and use for the sake of better education. Thank you, Portugal!
Study Visit to Retymno - Crete 17/05/2022 - 19/05/2022
Day 1 – 17/05/2022
On the first day we met at the EELI headquarters, where we were welcomed and presented with the agenda for the study visit.
After this brief meeting, we headed to Rethymno Music School, where we were very well welcomed by its director, who told us that they are trying to move to new premises, since the building where the school is located is about 60 years old, having started as an orphanage and then as a hospital. We were served small snacks typical of Crete. More
Study Visit to Dublin 08/02/2022 - 10/02/2022
After meeting at the hotel lobby at 10:00, we set off for a visit to The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, a 220 year old space that displays magnificent Victorian greenhouses, in order to see how this space promotes "Learning and Collaboration". Despite the grey and rainy day,this visit proved to be very interesting and enriching. More
Aija TUNA, Dr. paed., Linda KLUŠA, Mg. psych., Education Development Centre
Students as co-creators of their own learning: teachers’ perceptions and practice
Key-words: active engagement of learners, self-led learning, collaboration, teaching methods
In order to explore the experiences and best practices on how to support active engagement of learners context study was done in five countries (Latvia, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Islands) within the Erasmus project Learners as Co-creators of Their Own Learning (LeCoLe) led by the experts of the Education Development Center (Latvia). The aim was also to explore what are teachers’ perceptions and how teachers in practice support students to become co-creators of their own learning and how it takes place including, but not limited to, the planning, choosing methods and materials, implementation, and evaluation of collaborative practices.
To achieve that goal questionnaire was created to identify examples of learner engagement in the co-creation of their own learning in each partner country. It was also important to identify what is situation in each country, are there any commonalities and to find out what the obstacles are to engaging learners.
According to the project goals attention was focused on key aspects, such as self-led learning /personalized learning (i.e., how ready are teachers for students to be engaged in both independent learning and self-reflection), engagement (i.e. what do teachers do to promote students’ awareness of learning goals, are students able to capitalize on their previous knowledge and skills, express their needs and concerns, etc.), collaboration (i.e. shared actions and responsibility for decision making and results), feedback (i.e. forms, amount and regularity of open and immediate feedback to self, peers, and teachers), interdisciplinary approach (i.e. bringing together separate disciplines around common themes, issues or problems thus connecting learning at school with a real-life process etc.).
Results of the study will be presented in the conference.
LeCoLe Learning Visit to Iceland 26/10/2021 - 29/10/2021
1. Educational program in Þingvellir National Park and Ljósafoss Power Station. Pupils and their teachers can have an amazing interactive experience and understand history and geology better.
2. Visit to Langholtsskóli. Some of pedagogical features of this school:
- pupils with special needs are in the same classes as the others, but receive specialised and personalised support;
- school invests a lot in Arts & Crafts (cooking, sawing, wood and pottery), featuring classrooms that are very well equipped for this purpose;
- pupils walk 1 mile in the morning every day to be in contact with fresh air, stretch their legs and relax;
- pupils are encouraged to make videos;
Presentation about the interdisciplinary project called ‘Factory’ that school has been developing for the last 5 years.
3. Visit to the Department of digital learning at UI main campus. Overview of the activities of the Division of academic affairs using technology since before the COVID pandemic and how important that is to keep professors up to date with technologies and students focused and engaged in their learning.
4. Visit to Norðlingaskóli focus on co-creation and teachers use of technologies. Interdisciplinary project that incorporate several subjects (Natural Sciences, Icelandic, ICT and Arts & Crafts) how the fair had been organised and how students' work has been assessed.
5. The educational system of Iceland. Podcast, teaching and training by Aimie Brennan and Colleen Horn in Stakkahlíð.
The diversity and complexity of students, fast pace of life, constant changes and huge amount of information place increasing demands on the teachers (who represent different generation) to provide effective pedagogy and instruction, validate and incorporate students’ knowledge and experience in the learning process (which differs from but also greatly contributes to the knowledge and experience of teachers) and thus create inclusive, healthy, welcoming, productive, collaborative, ‘making mistakes is ok’ climate in the classroom. To meet these demands teachers have to adopt new professional practices, skills and competences, as well as revisit their mindsets as personalities, professionals and citizens. At the same time learners have to assume more responsibility for their own learning, be more skillful and vocal in presenting their ideas. Both teachers and students have to improve their ability and motivation to collaborate in making the choices in terms of what, when and how to include in the teaching-learning process.
Contemporary students are characterized by being autonomous, independent and self-confident, but at the same time they often lack collaboration and self-expression skills. The majority of schools still offer mostly traditional teaching where all students have the same tasks and work individually according to the teacher’s prescriptions. In order to make learning more effective, interesting and appealing to the learner we have to find answers to the questions “How to make students motivated and interested in what is happening in the classroom? How to incorporate students’ knowledge and skills in the learning process? How to promote student engagement and desire to be responsible for their own learning? What is the teachers’ role and what competences and characteristics should they possess in order to promote students’ and their own learning? How to connect learning in the classroom with the outside world – events and processes in local community and globally? How to move towards more meaningful and purposeful learning?”
Key aspects to be explored: self-led learning learning, an engaged classroom, collaboration with shared responsibility for decision making and results, providing open and immediate feedback, education technologies, Learning to learn and Cultural awareness and expression competences, interdisciplinary approach, Teacher as a learner, facilitator, supporter, guide, coach, mentor, nurturer, etc.
- To identify examples of learner engagement in co-creation of their own learning in partner countries;
- To find out what are the obstacles to engaging learners in the creation and implementation of the learning process;
- To collect examples of best practices where teachers are using new approaches/pedagogies, the latest technology, space, etc. to steer pupils/learners towards more meaningful and purposeful learning;
- To explore what kind of support is required for teachers to be able to ensure student-led learning;
- To elaborate a podcast series with instructional support materials for educators on how to implement new pedagogies in their practice
- Increased capacity of partner institutions and their staff to provide professional development of educators;
- Developed series of podcasts with supporting materials for school leaders and teachers on how to implement new pedagogies in their practice;
- Raised educators’ awareness, increased knowledge and deepened understanding of multiple modes of instruction and learning that support active engagement of learners in all stages of the learning process and different contexts;
- Presented practical applications of new approaches in teaching and learning;
- Expanded partnerships and professional networks of educators and educational organisations in partner countries and across Europe.
Nowadays all European countries face similar challenges in education systems and actively look for diverse solutions to react to fast changing situation in all spheres of life. Many school education systems struggle to respond to the profound and complex changes our societies and economies are undergoing. The need for innovative approaches and help for schools in adapting to the changing context, including the digital era and the increasing diversity among learners, is obvious.