The principles behind European Schoolnet Academy courses (II): pedagogical promises in practice
Last week we discussed the general principles behind our online courses, originating from academic theory and research on teacher professional development. This week we set out how these principles are reflected in practice. How do they impact the way in which most European Schoolnet Academy courses are constructed?
1. Our courses focus on teacher co-learning
Bringing teachers together to exchange experiences stands at the forefront of all European Schoolnet Academy courses. Course activities encourage a joint reflection process that leads to the formulation of common ideas.
2. Our courses help develop course communities
Getting teachers to share things and interact with one another requires a community of trust with a common narrative or purpose. In our courses we always try, therefore, to integrate community-building elements that build trust and purpose. Our course moderators encourage peer support and social presence, rather than relying on centralised support and instructor presence. Handing responsibility to the community, for example in peer-review scenarios, provides a clear goal and empowers teachers to develop a sense of ownership of their professional development.
3. Our courses are situated in the daily practices of teachers
While theoretical pedagogical approaches are covered at times, our courses put more focus on everyday challenges in the classroom. Course content therefore often features teachers and students, or addresses very practical scenarios, such as classroom situations or the use of specific tools. This is possible thanks to a process of bottom-up content production and the involvement of teachers as experts. In our courses we also aim for participants to produce concrete course products that they can use in their daily practice, such as lesson plans, scenarios or resources.
4. Our courses offer flexibility
The limited number of deadlines and the use of primarily asynchronous activities provide teachers enough flexibility to take ownership of their own learning process. They decide when, where and how best to learn. We support this process with the advice and tools that help teachers reflect on their own learning and make such decisions.
The pedagogical approach utilised in European Schoolnet Academy courses enables large numbers of teachers, including you, to interact with one another and shape their own development. By engaging teachers like you in meaningful communities, our courses allow you to establish long-term connections, sometimes even developing into collaborative activities in contexts like eTwinning projects, Erasmus+ partnerships and projects, or in informal settings at school or elsewhere.
Which of the four promises or principles of our courses do you find most important?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!