Component: Continuous Training of Teachers

Implementing partner: Education for Development (AED)

Donor: International Foundation Liechtenstein Development Service (LED)

Period of implementation: February 2023 – December 2025
The purpose of the project: Development of the professional skills of VET teachers through the implementation of the accredited training programs “Critical thinking for professional skills development” and ”Project and portfolio in the modern didactic approach”.

The main activities:
1. Training program ”Project and portfolio in the modern didactic approach”

The training program “Critical thinking for the development of professional competences” draws a line of connection between the standard trainings of the critical thinking development and the strategies for the development of competences: key competences, specific competences or professional competences. Practicing critical thinking involves performing the following operations: conceptualization, comparison, analysis, synthesis, evaluation of information; personal (and collective) reflection, application. The extended definition of critical thinking unreservedly confirms that any of the capacities and attitudes targeted also belong to the tools/arsenal/privilege of reading and communication.

The didactic strategy for carrying out the activities within this program is training, with periods of experimentation and application, but also with tasks for the follow-up sessions, which involve the presentation of a developed project. Between the training session (3 modules of 3 days each) and the follow-up session, the participants practice making the transfer on the daily activity in the classroom, through the immediate application of the projects. During the sessions, priority is given to activities in pairs and in groups; the individual work will be oriented towards studying the reference sources and working out the assimilated strategies/methods/techniques. The first experiences in this regard demonstrate that the professional training modules are favourable to the development of critical thinking, which begins with the assimilation of some strategies for reading scientific text, from textbooks and course materials, continues by practicing and developing communication and cooperation skills, as in the latter to target in behaviours and attitudes. Teaching the student to think critically means freeing him from constraints and stereotypes, but to the greatest extent it also means preparing him for life that will constantly demand his ability to think on his own, to analyze his decisions, to reflect, to  participate in a discussion, admitting from the start that the truth will be born in the process of confronting different opinions and analyzing them, accepting that your opinion is not the only correct one.

That strategy determined the development of this extensive course, dedicated to the didactic design framework Evoking – Realization of meaning – Reflection – Extension (ERRE), which constitutes a closed circuit of explicit learning and where it is not allowed to skip some stages and skip over certain activities, which is crucial for mastering the job. Among the innovations that the ERRE framework has brought to our education, we will place in the first place the assurance of teachers with a strategy of change: from information presenter and evaluator, the teacher turns into a guide, conductor, guide, counselor, designer, advisor, and its primary task is to organize and facilitate learning, to guide students on the path of authentic knowledge.

2. Training program ” Critical thinking for professional skills development”

The in-service training program “Portfolio and project in the approach of modern didactics”, which includes 3 modules of 3 days each and a follow-up session, is addressed to teaching staff from VET education. In this program, trainers promote consistency in the strategic design of didactic activities aimed at the fields of knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and creation. These objectives involve adjacent communication skills: group/team discussion; dialogue with customers; using the terminology of the field and arguing a point of view. Given the situation attested in vocational schools in the Republic of Moldova (we are referring to the specifics of the individual training paths of the staff who teach the vocational modules), the course has a pronounced  innovative character and, through the topics addressed, strengthens their didactic training. The course is built and supported by the priority directions in modern didactics, aiming at teaching, learning and assessment, and involves the full involvement of the students in the training activities and in the performance of individual tasks, synchronously and asynchronously, regardless of whether the training is carried out with physical presence or online. Homework, completed in the interval between modules, is presented in person and debriefed in the first session of the next module or at the follow-up session at the end. The impact of this training program will be stronger if the institution will delegate more teachers, who will become the resource persons for the promotion of the program and thus ensure a natural path towards the accumulation of portfolio works or the implementation of learning and assessment through projects.

Cultivating the holistic vision of the portfolio, complete with pieces that form and capitalize on skills at all levels, and of the project, which, in turn, can materialize into a range of acceptable and evaluable products, will allow the teaching staff to identify, in his own way, the most suitable moments and the most appropriate tasks for the purposes of the discipline he teaches. It is equally important to explore to the maximum the inter-, pluri-, multi- and transdisciplinary potential of training on modules or on learning units, especially through the collaboration of teaching staff and directing the process at the institution level.

The training program capitalizes, on the content level, the newest recommendations of pedagogy and the most publicized successes of performance schools, but each of the trainees will be free to carry out both the transfer and the adaptation of the slow methodology, showing sufficient flexibility and creativity didactic, in order to orient his didactic approach according to the compass of the approved curriculum.