Final report: GO FAR PROJECT 2010-1-IT2-COM13-14458-1The monitoring of the GO FAR project was designed using the simple tool of a survey card. For eachmobility, an ad hoc questionnaire with open/closed questions was given to each participant. Even the shortpreparatory course held by Professor Zacharias in Parma last October was monitored through the distributionof a questionnaire to all the people who had attended at least one lesson: so to all participants, and not onlyto the teachers of the partner schools. Once collected, they were read and according to the answers given bythe ones who were effectively involved in the experience, some feed-back reports were prepared: tools whichsometimes proved to be useful in planning the next steps of the project, a source of ideas in the organizationof the various mobilities. The steps and decisions taken by the project referents during the two-year-longproject were not simply an adaptation of what had been declared during the planning phase but a real andconcrete attempt to answer the ongoing needs and suggestions of the participating teachers. Of course thesame survey procedure was adopted by the German partner with the aid of tools prepared in the Englishlanguage.Because the feed-back survey cards were written progressively with the formulation of questions closelyconnected with the single mobility experiences, and since the answers of the participants were sometimeslacking (once back from each mobility, only few teachers filled in the survey questionnaire), it is difficult toreport here any significant and shared elements which could help us make the first evaluations of a biennialproject but I believe that there are three particularly interesting aspects worth highlighting in this report. 1. The first aspect deals with the specific field of didactic approach and methodology: the very heart of our GO FAR project. It refers to the precious solicitations received by the teachers during the two years since the participation at Professor Zacharias’s formative meetings and from the “field” monitoring of the application of his method “Mathematics makes you stronger” 2. The second aspect has perhaps a wider scope because I would like to share with you the positive elements of this project which emerged from the opinions expressed by the teachers in the questionnaires 3. The third aspect wants to give an opening glimpse of the future since I would like to give voice to those ideas and good intentions which were generated by the experience the participants went through.POINT 1Here are the suggestions most appreciated by the Italian teachers of the method proposed by ProfessorZacharias; suggestions that, as seen from the survey cards, don’t want to remain as such but they want tobecome an experimentation attempt in the daily management of each teacher’s lessons with the obvious needfor mediation and adaptation to the different school reality of our country and the single classes. First of all the richness of a method which starts from the concrete to reach the abstract, which starts from practice to reach theory; the problem and its resolution, the example applied to the reality before its explanation, abstraction and unveiling of the theory.
It is through this approach that the conception of learning as discovery can be regained and redeveloped as well as the consequent regaining and redeveloping of the fundamental value of the teacher as a stimulator to that wonderful and very powerful disposition for knowledge which is curiosity A return to a teaching method which uses simple and “poor” devices easy to find in every home and school without having to depend on the tiring availability of equipment which is forever being updated and computer supports A method which gives value to peer education through the proposal of numerous didactic group activities where the teacher is support and mediator and the classmates become a source of help, comparison, learning and assessment. Games as an instrument for growth in experience and knowledge Work for “stations” – learning stations: a gym for the “training” of the cognitive and relational faculties and precious tool for learning evaluationPOINT 2Through a specific question inserted in the survey card, considerations and evaluations given by the teacherswere gathered once the teachers were back from Pinnenberg at the end of the fifth mobility.It clearly emerges that the project was perceived as a valuable opportunity by everyone. - The value of the exchange: Getting to know the “others” as a form of personal and human growth; The renewed desire for training that an involving experience such as a mobility abroad may stimulate; To put oneself to the test as professionals, charged with concrete professional experiences, observed and directly involved in; To try to implement new methodologies, allowing oneself to be moved by curiosity and the will to challenge sometimes rigid, sclerotic and apparently unchangeable contexts/environments/systems; The desire to innovate and to renew; To find within oneself the motivations for continuing to believe in one’s work. - The desire to create a network: To discover the added value of working with colleagues near and far, and find in them support and confrontation.The commitment, the dedication and the passion with which the project was built and implemented wereappreciated both by the Italian and German participants. The beauty of seeing the birth and consolidation ofprofessional and personal ties and relationships with colleagues. During all the mobilities, each participantwas able to capture and appreciate the warm welcome, the organizational effort and the collaborativeavailability of both colleagues and referents.
POINT 3As the third and final point, I would like to convey to you all the small or large but always very precious,“seeds” that the GO FAR project has managed to sow: the threads of a fabric that should not be cut if wewant exchange projects to continue effectively, putting into action the initial micro changes in the individualeveryday practices which can then become experimentation and later good practice for our schools.Here below are the desires and ongoing efforts of the teachers participating in the GO FAR project as theywere expressed in the survey card completed at the end of the last mobility. - The desire to deepen the study of a didactic methodology based on the empirical approach and the desire to continue to train. - The desire and renewed need to create a network among teachers of the same subject, starting, without “overdoing it”, from the little world of their own school, from the colleague teaching the same subject, in order to understand if you are able to open up to other educational realities. To create a network not only to share materials but to create them together, test and discuss them, to find common solutions to the various difficult situations we face in our daily school life; sustain each other and therefore, if possible, improve ourselves. - To declare ourselves available to be referents for the creation of a working network within our own school starting by talking and describing to the other colleagues what was experienced, observed and learnt during the project exchanges. - The attempt to install a process of responsibility in our pupils by distributing small tasks useful for the whole class group and persuading them to take care of the environment in which they and their friends live (watering the flowers, keeping the room tidy and avoiding waste and power consumption …) - The desire to organize maths lessons in English given by older pupils to others of lower classes. - The willingness to adopt more frequently the self-correction method and correction among peers in the attempt to give more space to students in order to take some away from us and educate them to greater autonomy. - The desire to give new meaning to the moments of rest and relaxation: the value of recreation, the respect of the students’ time, the introduction to music… - The attempt to “ask for” more from our school trying to change something even in the apparently simple request for alternative spaces for our children. - The good intention to plan every single lesson and strive to make each lesson more engaging, involving and shared. - The desire to take part in the planning process of the educational pathways of foreign schools, in order to understand them thoroughly: from the guidelines to the definition of contents. To understand how planning is elsewhere and how interdisciplinary activities can be carried out. An interest in strategy, research, development and design of the educational “products” of schools in other countries with an interdisciplinary vision. Could this be an idea for new Comenius projects?
- And finally I would like to finish by telling you all that this project, founded and built on the experience of the exchange, has admirably created in many teachers a renewed desire to take part in further exchange experiences in the future.