The Slovenia Times

A Vision of European Teaching and Learning



Today's information society has created major challenges to the educational community in all parts of Europe. The increasing change of focus from teaching to learning puts the emphasis on the learner and his or her learning environment. There is a growing need for developing and changing the teacher's role from a professional who only communicates information to a supportive counsellor facilitating students' learning. Furthermore, a re-direction of the educational approach from simply memorizing facts to knowledge and understanding through problem-solving and critical thinking has to be made. If teachers are to prepare their pupils and students for challenging work like integrating and synthesizing information, creating new solutions, learning on their own and working cooperatively from the earliest stages of the educational process, they will need new kinds of knowledge and radically different skills than most of them have now. Teachers must themselves become involved in the process of continuous learning and adopt a new, flexible and open-minded approach to teaching at all levels of education. Comenius 3 is a European organization which encourages networking for projects on subjects of common interest with the aim of promoting European cooperation and innovation in school education in various thematic areas. Within its framework operates the Learning Teacher Network, which focuses on empowering and raising awareness amongst professionals in education. It forms a conceptual, common European framework that allows educational institutions to interact and develop common knowledge, and to extract and conceptualise network activity results into valid outcomes. For many years, different European countries have had extremely diverse systems of teacher qualification. This recently led the European Commission to initiate a proposal on common Europe-wide principles for teacher competences and qualifications. Many of the findings and challenges will be presented at the international conference, which will take place May 18-20, 2006, in the Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana. The conference organizers are OS Valentin Vodnik (the Valentin Vodnik Primary School in Ljubljana) in cooperation with the Network Coordinator Magnus Persson and three other Slovenian members of The Learning Teacher Network (Osnovna Sola Vizmarje Brod, Vrtec Sentvid, II. Gimnazija Maribor). The conference will be opened by the Slovenian Minister of Education and representatives of CMEPIUS and the European Commission. "The title of the third annual conference of The Learning Teacher Network is 'A Vision of European Teaching and Learning.' The title illustrates the ambition of this conference to discuss and provide a range of essential aspects of learning and the future of the teaching profession. The goal is to create a common European vision where we all, as professionals, respond to the same challenges by shaping a common path for the future," says Network Coordinator Magnus Persson, who will preside over the conference. The conference will welcome more than 173 participants from all over Europe and from as far away as Pakistan and Bangladesh. The conference will be held in English and will target schools and higher education institutions both inside and outside the network. Participants will attend plenaries and workshops on exciting new ways of teaching, such as virtual learning, e-learning, learning through the use of modern technology, etc. Active learning is one of the most important goals in the European concept of a learning society. At the presentations and roundtables, the discussion will cover issues such as the importance of the learners' own initiatives and responsibilities for progress and also how to help pupils and students with learning problems. They will also address the questions of professional competence, teaching methods, beliefs and capabilities. The Slovenian members will present theoretical and practical problems concerning the new primary school system in Slovenia, motivation of pupils and interdisciplinary work. "The conference will be a platform for professionals from all over Europe to meet with colleagues, to share experiences, theory, and good practice, and to take part in the European dialogue on learning and professional competence. The conference will contribute to the European discussion on learning and to the identification of elements of a conceptual framework. It will provide a European venue for professional debate and interaction, and thereby hopefully also bring added value to the daily work carried out back home," concludes Magnus Persson.


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