sábado, 11 de abril de 2015

Kiltakoulu - GuildSchools

A great example of competence-based curriculum

During our visit in Kiltakoulu, at Tavastia Vocational College, we had the chance to understand a little about GuildSchools model of education, a model that provides active learning and real problem-solving situations which is related to the society present demands.

GuildSchools model is composed by teachers who are entrepreneurs; most of them own their companies. Therefore, they’re not apart from the market reality. That makes a huge difference. They’re not stuck, they’re connected to the real market needs.

Teacher and students have an entrepreneurial attitude towards learning and that seems to be everywhere, from planning to assessment.

Students are engaged during the whole learning process. They have to go after sponsorship to develop their projects. In counterparts, companies usually ask them to be advertised. Thus, it means they have to face the market reality when they’re still getting prepared.

Subjects are integrated into project-based learning, as the starting point is a problem. Everyone can suggest and create. Teachers have their meeting, students have theirs as well, in the end, both groups get together and discuss the projects. In every project planning, students name a leader and one supervisor, so that during the process, some people will mediate it.

Everyone has their voice, since they can say what they want to learn and set their learning goals.

Communication works between teachers and students. So, the project planning is a learning process itself.

When receiving a problem, and having to gather with their peers and reflect on them, students also learn how to work in teams, to respect each one’s opinion and learning styles.

To reach different learning styles, blended learning must take place. In my opinion, that is a special educational trend that deserves a lot of attention. I never really liked stating one method, technique or strategy is better than others. What I really think is, names and classifications are created somehow to make studies easier, to make communication easier, however human beings cannot be explained through names and classification, our psychological/emotional /spiritual nature is complex. And all methods, techniques, strategies are valid in a way, when they are consciously explored to solve a problem, to reach a learning style etc. Most of all, when a combination is made, regardless theory considers some of them like oil and water. I guess, as a teacher, we must be detached from too much “academicism” and evaluate the real classroom needs. Actually, I think, too much of that may lead educators to a narrow and limited view of education.

Technology is well explored during the learning process. Consequently,students get more prepared for the 21st century real needs. Each student has their own blog, they write their learning diary, register new findings and self-assessment. As a result, they take ownership of their own learning and act as part of a working community.

Materials become powerful, as they’re not produced only by the teachers, but also by the students. Social electronic devices and network are practical, easy to use, and make material production possible. Those e-portfolios produced by the students, as well as wikis, photo blog and other electronic materials, become the main source of assessment. Then, formative assessment takes place during the whole time.

I think it is not easy to apply this model of Education. In Finland, it's not always like that everywhere. It's naive to believe that, and it's ok. Applying that model of education is a process, and it takes a while, and also effort, faith, hard-working and smart-working. It becomes more difficult when our social history has never provided at least a slight idea of that.

Our education has programmed us to work in a totally fragmented way. Though, I’m very optimistic about the needs and changes in Education. Most of us are eager for change. It takes time. It’s not an easy path, but it’s worthwhile.

I remember now this lyric which I think represents what I feel about it, and the word “love” in the lyrics, I would say, “love for education”. Educators are believers, real educators are faithful, and they know it’s not easy … and we have to face a lot of obstacles, but we are emotionally connected to the possibilities of a better day, a better world! That’s what moves us forward…

“Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world, few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it's real, I keep it alive

The road is long, there are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow”

(Joe Cocker)

For information on the Institution visit https://www.kktavastia.fi/briefly-in-english/

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