eTwinning teams laura maffei


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"Introducing the idea of eTwinning Teams" Workshop by Laura Maffei and Monika Kiss, eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest

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eTwinning teams laura maffei

  1. 1. Introducing eTwinning Teams “ Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success” H. Ford Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
  2. 2. Building eTwinning teams is possible ( and you will ) Despite – or thanks to – individual teachers’ differences We think white! I think black… Now let’s think TWIN ! Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
  3. 3. All that you need: Patience Trust Committment shared goals communication Time A reliable partner!
  4. 4. Why do teachers feel isolated ? <ul><li>… and why eTwinners ? </li></ul><ul><li>eTwinners often say they don’t feel appreciated in their working situation </li></ul><ul><li>They have little or no support from their colleagues/ principals </li></ul><ul><li>Their ideas and goals are misunderstood or even hindered </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of teachers are grateful to eTwinning for having found like-minded colleagues… </li></ul><ul><li>… in a different country ! </li></ul><ul><li>It looks like it’s easier for teachers to work together when they’re some thousands of kms away  </li></ul>Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
  5. 5. <ul><li>We are usually alone in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>We have different ideas about what can/cannot work for our students </li></ul><ul><li>We have different experiences </li></ul><ul><li>We have different teaching styles </li></ul>maybe because being teachers… We are not trained to work in a team ! and what’s more… Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
  6. 6. and being eTwin ning teachers… <ul><li>We introduce innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation means change </li></ul><ul><li>any structured group at the beginning resists to change </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation is felt as a threat to the status-quo </li></ul><ul><li>or worse as criticism (you change something when it was not good enough) </li></ul><ul><li>We believe ICT – if properly exploited – can be learning tools </li></ul><ul><li>but some teachers are scared of ICT </li></ul><ul><li>scared of change, scared of having to learn as well as teach </li></ul><ul><li>scared of someone questioning their role (something the eTwinning teacher never meant) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Teacher professional flexible authoritative dynamic accurate multi-tasked ICT literate enthusiastic well-organized qualified supportive Team Player ? motivated
  8. 8. Cooperative learning <ul><li>Team Learning: “success for all” </li></ul><ul><li>Learners work together in groups </li></ul><ul><li>They share a common goal </li></ul><ul><li>Individual diversities enrich the group </li></ul><ul><li>Different individuals complement one another </li></ul>if it works with students, it must work with teachers as well (lifelong learners) Cooperative teaching
  9. 9. Teaching teams… and us ! <ul><li>Our project was born naturally as an answer to our needs </li></ul><ul><li>We’ve been working on teachers communities (LLT, teachers’ blogs, groups…) for a while </li></ul><ul><li>Many of our colleagues already knew of our past projects and were curious about them </li></ul><ul><li>… so the real thing came before we knew of any theories ! </li></ul><ul><li>We eventually found out team working had been studied for the last 60 years </li></ul><ul><li>companies are interested in the development of profitable team-work </li></ul><ul><li>employees are selected to fit in a team </li></ul><ul><li>But teaching is a very special kind of job… </li></ul>
  10. 10. The “good” teacher ? <ul><li>In our project Lifelong Learning Teachers we asked the members to define the “good teacher” </li></ul><ul><li>We had a variety of answers, all of them focusing on the single teacher – again, the problem of feeling isolated was underlined </li></ul><ul><li>Now, research-based evidence (and our personal experience) shows that the most successful learning environments are those fostering collaborative team teaching, as opposed to simply identifying individual “good” or “bad” teachers </li></ul>Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
  11. 11. Our magic word: <ul><li>A team of teachers includes different teaching styles, which is perfect to meet the different students’ needs </li></ul><ul><li>Fragmentation among subjects is overcome (disciplinary contents are interrelated) </li></ul><ul><li>When teachers collaborate, they actually become lifelong learners </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of teaching is improved, as various experts approach the same topic from different perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment is more reliable </li></ul><ul><li>By interacting, teachers learn new strategies, insights, tecniques </li></ul><ul><li>In a team teachers feel safe enough to experiment with innovation </li></ul><ul><li>There’s immediate professional feedback </li></ul>TOGETHER
  12. 12. eTwinning teams benefits of any teaching team + the eTwinning factor <ul><li>European dimension </li></ul><ul><li>Use of ICT </li></ul><ul><li>Use of language in a real context </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperative learning </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to learn </li></ul>Quality of education
  13. 14. Build your team ! <ul><li>Talk about your project idea to all the people you are planning to involve </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for suggestions (and take them into consideration) </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for support from your Principal (you’re introducing an innovation) </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce your eTwinning partner(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Allow adequate planning time </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce eTwinning to newbies ( why eTwinning) </li></ul><ul><li>...and make it clear it is not meant for ICT-addicts and nerds </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for help from colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Keep things simple </li></ul><ul><li>Use humour ! </li></ul>
  14. 15. … but don’t spoil the fun <ul><li>Don’t try to involve all your colleagues : choose the people you want to work with </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t involve too many people (a large team is difficult to manage) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t throw cold water over the others’ ideas just because you’re more experienced </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t scare the others : you’re not suggesting they change their teaching but they widen it </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t try to force them into working in the TwinSpace if they aren’t familiar with ICT: suggest the students do this </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t cheat … eTwinning is time-consuming (still, at the very beginning, there’s no need to mention your countless extra hours at the pc!) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t keep you eTwinning partner for yourself :the more your colleagues work with him/her, the more they will feel part of the project </li></ul>Real- life mistakes (yes, we made them!)
  15. 16. TwinZillas The greedy eTwinners you don’t want to be The one and only pioneer The ICT-possessed Push your colleagues into ICT and they will hate you (and eTwinning as well) Being in a team, you’re supposed to go from “my treaSSSure” to “ours” (please, share the spotlight) Give the other members of the team the opportunity to explore (you can’t always be first)
  16. 17. <ul><li>In our experience we found that teachers are often eager to try new approaches </li></ul><ul><li>but the stressing day-to-day routine often make them give up </li></ul><ul><li>When you feel overwhelmed, the task of taking new initiative seems more than you can deal with </li></ul>Many problems (and some solutions, too)
  17. 18. Problem n.1: dysfunctional setting Even the best teams cannot be successful within a dysfunctional school Problems in the management of the school will turn the team into an outlet for all individual frustrations Possible solution Create a small, closely-knit team, two/three colleagues that really trust and respect each other: that will be a beginning Possible solution Rely more on the students. Let them feel responsible. Let them market your project with parents and colleagues.
  18. 19. Problem n.2: lack of ICT and language competences <ul><li>Let the teachers self-select according to interest in a topic or in a methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Then allow time to choose individual roles and responsability </li></ul><ul><li>Once the project is running, members of the team will complement each other </li></ul><ul><li>… and the students will do the rest! </li></ul>the teachers interested in joining in can hardly hold a mouse… they cannot speak the language of partnership or
  19. 20. <ul><li>The “ there’s only a way, and I already know it ” excuse </li></ul><ul><li>The “ I’m the first lady / leading man” </li></ul><ul><li>The “ no money – no play” philosophy of life </li></ul><ul><li>The loner: “There will be only one” </li></ul>Problem n.3: conflict between teachers No way out ( no shared goal = no goal at all )
  20. 21. <ul><li>but I’ve got no time </li></ul><ul><li>but I’ve got too many deadlines to meet </li></ul><ul><li>but only if it’s MY idea </li></ul><ul><li>but I need more time to think about it </li></ul><ul><li>but I’ve got such a difficult class this year </li></ul><ul><li>but… </li></ul>Problem n.4: teachers’ insecurity the BUTs collection: I’d like to try… We all feel insecure when starting something new. If your colleagues’ interest is genuine, ask them to join: time, and pupils, will do the trick for you 
  21. 22. … so that’s our story <ul><li>we just needed a partner </li></ul><ul><li>to start flying </li></ul>others will follow ! Laura Maffei – eTwinning Conference 2011, Budapest
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