The examples of good practice

Workshop 1 Modelling mechanical wave propagation: from observation to descriptive and interpretative models

SISSIS University of Palermo, Italy

Italian version of Workshop 1
Workshop 2 Mathematical labyrinth and Quartette card game as the example of adidactical situation

Comenius University Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovakian version of Workshop 2
Workshop 3 An introduction to the "fourth" state of matter: plasmas

Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany

German version of Workshop 3

Belgian version of Workshop 3
Workshop 4 Atom theory: from theory to the conceptual experiments

Modern Didactics Center and the Faculty of Physics and Technology at Vilnius Pedagogical University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuanian version of Workshop 4
Workshop 5 Exploring alternative pupil concepts in the classroom using concept cartoons and conceptual experiments with cheap materials

University College Artevelde, Gent, Belgium

Belgian version of Workshop 5

The MiS Project efforts can be framed in the presently changing teacher education scenario, which is aiming at improving teachers' professional competences in order to meet the challenges of improving science education at secondary school level.

A suitable approach for developing this science education scenario may be provided by following a narrative framework of implementing "good examples" or "best practices" selected by an expert rating scale. The effectiveness of a "best practice" approach is one of the main assumptions made by the MiS community. In this section, we will report the EGPs selected from the set that emerged as a result of the reflection carried out by the European Working Group and the Local Target Groups. The aim is to provide, on the basis of national experiences, suggestions and guidelines for teacher education programs across European countries.

The main idea was to compare PPs' concrete examples based on the competence categories they thought more relevant, on the basis of their national experience.

The EGPs proposed by PPs were based on different content (mainly in the fields of physics and mathematics), but they were grounded on an almost common methodology, that focused on TTs’ active construction of competences (instead of on transmission of knowledge) by using different pedagogical tools involving hands-on and mind based activities. It is for this reason that they have been called Workshops; in order to highlight their characteristic of being brief intensive course, emphasising interaction with pedagogical materials (worksheets, experiments, simulations, videos, ...) and exchange of information among a small number of participants.

Thus, within the MiS community, for each proposed Workshop (W), originally framed within National teacher education programs, a specific Workshop Pattern Card (WPC) has been constructed in order to facilitate partners' selection of one W to be cross-experimented. The WPC structure was the result of a seminar that produced a sample that had been used by all PPs. These pattern cards had to be constructed in order to enable partners to select the "Good Practices" he/she will experiment in his/her institution. In fact, in a project devoted to harmonising science teacher education activities across Europe, it is of great importance to test them in diverse contexts.

Each WPC (see Appendix 1) describes the competence(s) to be developed, the didactical aims (what concepts of didactics are involved) and the implementation procedure, with special regard to the methodology used, the evaluation procedure and data collection. Moreover, the WPCs can enable people not involved in the same training system to implement them.

Since, a major goal of modern science education consists of attempts to harmonise science teacher education activities across Europe, PPs decided on a twofold system of experimentation of each W produced by the PPs:

  1. a local experimentation, where the Partner that produced the W experiment with TTs coming to the local university through the mobility program;
  2. an external experimentation, where another PP experimented the same W (totally or partially) with TTs coming to the external university through the mobility program.

This double cross-experimentation has been valued as an important step to provide and to test good examples of practice in different contexts. In fact, it has been possible to test the double transferability : to TTs coming from different countries and to TTs' instructors of different countries that tried to adapt the pedagogical materials to local needs. In fact, the final selection of Ws to be cross-experimented was driven by a set of variables which included the availability of necessary resources as well as the general suitability for existing course system.

From a methodological point of view, the design and cross-implementation of the Ws tackles the following general questions involving the development of appropriate pedagogical materials for TTs:

  1. Do the proposed Ws trigger the acquisition of competences? If so, which ones?
  2. Is the general structure of pedagogical materials adequate in order to organise effective activities for future teachers ( how they address PCK; what obstacles can be expected; how to use modern teaching methods on ICT; ...)?
  3. What plausible features and specific contents may have influenced the success/ failure and the matches/mismatches of the Ws?

Questions within this context generally address a comparison of results coming from very different education contexts. Nevertheless, a major challenge of any cross-country experimentation within Europe has to take into account the existence of various national curricula within a specific (and often diverse) tradition. Generally, European curricula are not linked to each other and, thus, transferring an exemplary example from one system to another very often means more than just a simple transfer process. Similarly, adopting an example in another language frame is never just a case of simply literally translating it into another language; it also has to deal with the appropriate environments of the (hosting) country. In the MiS framework of cross-experimentation, the principle content of an example was never changed when translated. Moreover, although the Project tried to integrate different points of view and approaches, some characteristics of the workshops prepared by PPs look very different, since they look at instruction and learning in very distinct ways. For this reason the scientific responsibility of each W is assigned to the Partner Author.

The evaluation procedure

The evaluation of the EGP prepared by Partners passed through a systematic, multi-step assessment process involving the collection and interpretation of data. The project's evaluation places greater emphasis on the results of assessment procedures that sample an assortment of variables using diverse data-collection methods. Thus, all aspects of the effective training are evaluated using multiple methods such as performances as well as interviews and questionnaires.

Besides the evaluation tools strictly connected with the topics and methodologies of the different EGP, the Partners shared the following general evaluation tools:

  1. TTs observation sheet
    used by one or two observers that followed all the phases of the different workshops (see Appendix 2);
  2. TTs evaluation of workshop: questionnaire
    administered to TTs at the end of the workshop activities (see Appendix 3);
  3. TTs school activities evaluation questionnaire
    administered to TTs at the end of their experimentations in local secondary school classrooms (see Appendix 4).


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