Role Teacher: Teaching/Learning Competencies in a European Scenario

Role Teacher: Teaching/Learning Competencies in a European Scenario

Alida Favaretto (ITST Andrea Palladio, Italy), Iola De Monte (ITST Andrea Palladio, Italy) and Carmela Billotta (ITST Andrea Palladio, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2122-0.ch047
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The ROLE TEACHER project (“The New Role of the Teacher in Competence Based Education”) has mainly dealt in the important subject of the teachers’ in/-training needed to conform to the European standards in educational matters. The promoters have sought to voice clear concepts relevant to the new role of the teachers in relation to their competences and strategies to be used for achieving successful changes in their job. In the two years’ life of the project (2009/2011), six meetings have taken place in the five partner countries (Poland, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Scotland) on the following topics: presentation of the educational context and goals from each partner, the teachers’ competences needed for an effective performance, the teacher as a coach and specialist, the teacher as a professional, and dissemination of the project.
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The ROLE TEACHER project (full title “The New Role of the Teacher in Competence Based Education,” Code: LLP-LDV-PA-09-IT-0331) carried out with the financial support of the European Community Programme LLP/Leonardo da Vinci/Multilateral Partnerships in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 (Figure 1), focuses on the teachers’ in-training with regard to their professionalism and to their competences on the CBE (=Competence Based Education, new methodology to be introduced into the Italian schools from September 2011).

Figure 1.

LLP/Leonardo da Vinci/multilateral projects


In the Treviso province, many initiatives have been set up in the last few years by the local educational authorities in order to introduce the teachers to the CBE. A number of experiments have also taken place in some schools, the results of which have been illustrated to the educational institutions in various seminars and conferences. Quite a few teachers from A. Palladio School, interested in the method, have participated in introductory courses to the CBE. Having ascertained that, and in the wake of the Palladio’s long-standing tradition in international exchanges, an in-house project team expresses the will to explore the CBE method in other countries. So, in January 2009 when the team is offered the possibility to take part in the above-mentioned multilateral partnership, it accepts the proposal. The project starts in September 2009 after its approval by the LLP commission. Five European organizations are involved in the project: ITST 'Andrea Palladio' Treviso, Italy; Ammattiopisto’ College Jyväskylä, Finland; ‘Dr Ambedkar Gimnazium,’ Sajókaza, Hungary; 'Adam Smith College,’ Kirkcaldy, Scotland; ‘INTER International Education & Trainings,’ Warsaw, Poland. The Polish organization coordinates the project.

The partnership is geared towards the design of strategies meant to achieve positive changes in the teachers' work with a special attention to the implementation of the CBE, the introduction of which into the European school systems has been strongly recommended by the E.U (COM 2008 425 3.7.2008.). In view of this, the project participants (especially the ones operating in curriculum counselling and vocational guidance) start having a closer look at the concept of competence and take note that one of its most important underpinning principles brings out the connection between learning and work, between personal and professional life.

It is worth remembering, in this respect, the definition of the EQF (2006), the European Qualifications Framework:

'Competences' mean the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and / or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and / or personnel development; competences are described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.

The definition is taken from the recommendation of the European Parliament and Council of 7th September 2006, in which are also listed the key competences. It is underlined that competences are: “a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context” and that key skills “are those which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment” (P6_TA, 2006 - 0352).

It goes without saying that the assumption of the concept of competence deeply affects the organization of teaching and assessment. It must also be underlined that the context of application of competences has similar characteristics in all European schools.

On this account, the various countries of the European Union have decided, although with different modes and strategies, to take on the competence/s as point of reference to re-organize the school curricula so that they become more respondent to the needs of the present-day knowledge-based society.

ROLE TEACHER is the second act of a work programme, which had begun in 2008 with the Rescue project, promoted by the Vocational Secondary School A. Palladio, Treviso, Italy. Rescue was the first part of a complementary action set up for the analysis of the reasons which often prevent the student to have a receptive attitude towards learning. These are connected, on the one hand, to a negative interweaving of relations or to problematic behaviours emerging in the school context. On the other hand, they depend on the inadequacy in interacting with the teachers when subject contents are being delivered.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Instructional Objective: To require all students to demonstrate the requested competences.

Active Techniques: The expression means: a) simulation techniques (like role-playing); b) operational reproduction techniques (like demonstrations or exercises); c) techniques for the analysis of the situations (like case study, the incident and the learning action); d) cooperative production techniques (like brainstorming and cooperative learning).

European Qualifications Framework: (EQF): A common European Framework connecting among them the qualification systems of different countries, acting also as a device of correspondence of the qualifications in order to make them more readable and understandable among different European systems and countries.

Competence-Based Education (CBE): Focused on outcomes (competences) that are linked to workforce needs, as defined by employers and by professional sectors. CBE’s outcomes are increasingly complex in nature, rather than deriving from the addition of multiple low-level objectives. CBE often necessitates more complex assessment, involving portfolios, experiential learning assessment in field experience, etc.

Teacher Professionalism: In the context of teachers’ professional life cycle, there are at least three stages of learning and shaping teachers’ professionalism: the years of initial training, where formal academic training should be provided; the induction to the role, where specific supervision and support are necessary as part of training; continuing professional development as new academic, formal advanced training opportunities are gradually introduced.

eLearning: Learning in which technology plays a major role in the delivery of content and communication between instructor and students and among students.

Skills: Show a proven ability to use knowledge; personal, social, and/or methodological skills; skills in work/study situations or professional and personal development; skills are described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.

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