Erasmus+ Talent Education

 

Erasmus+ Talent Education

 

The Talent education aims to answer the following questions:

  • How can talented children be encouraged to use their talents during their school career?
  • How can we prevent underachievement and early school leaving?
  • How can educational sectors and other stakeholders cooperate to enhance the skills of teachers and the content of teaching materials?

Target goals of the Talent education programme:

  • Improve a range of lessons and courses.
  • Improve skills of teachers.
  • Improve cooperation in education between educational partners within and between schools or other educational partners (preschool, primary, secondary, higher education and supporting partners and transnational).

Implementation of the target goals:

  • Improve a range of lessons and courses.
  • A range of lessons and courses in schools will be improved by training Primary and Secondary School teachers by using Design Thinking in their lessons.
  • Improve skills of teachers.
  • Primary School teachers learn to integrate Metacognitive Skills in their lessons.
  • Early Identification of talented children is taught to teachers and educators of young children from 2 to 6 years old.  Teachers and educators of these young children will be trained in early identification and appropriate approach.
  • Secondary School teachers will be trained in practical Differentiation Skills for effectively teaching talented students.
  • Improve cooperation in learning and teaching within and between schools or other educational partners.
  • The Talent Education Program aims to have a positive impact on educational quality. Therefore, the subjects mentioned above are integrated in a goal oriented System Approach.  This can be seen as a learning network on all educational levels.

 

Objectives

The Talent Education aims to answer the following questions:

  • How can talented children be encouraged to use their talents during their school career?
  • How can we prevent underachievement and early school leaving?
  • How can educational sectors and other stakeholders cooperate to enhance the skills of teachers and the content of teaching materials?

 

 

 

Teacher training

Training of teachers and educators in Kindergartens (all partner-countries) and the first grades (Group 1 and 2) on Primary Schools (the Netherlands) in Early Identification and appropriate approach. The training will be given by Maruška Željeznov Seničar  (ZVIS) and will take place in Ljubljana in January 2016 and in Leiden in March 2017.

Training of teachers of Primary Schools on Metacognitive Skills. The methodology is developed by Ph.Dr. Marcel Veenman (Institute of Metacognition) and will be taught by Ph.Dr. Šárka Portešová and Ph. Dr. Marcel Veenman. The training will be held in Prague in March 2015 and in Brno on 20-22 October 2017. Additional training will take place in our partner cities.

Training of teachers of Primary and Secondary Schools on Design Thinking. The methodology is developed at the Stanford University (USA) and will be taught by Lineke van Tricht (Bureau Talent). The training will be held in Prague on 20-22 October 2015 and in Brno in March 2017. Additional training will take place in our partner cities.

Training of Teachers on Practical Differentiation. The methodology (“The Whole Task first”)  is developed by Leiden University (ICLON-institute for teacher education) by Ph.Dr. Fred Janssen and will be taught by Ph.Dr. Fred Janssen and Ph.Dr. Hans van Bemmel. The training will be held in Prague on 20-22 October 2015 and in Brno in March 2017.  Additional training will be organised in our partner cities.

 

Differentiation

Students have different levels and educational needs. Education must be adapted to the differences between pupils. Differentiation is the way a teacher handles differences between pupils by varying such things as instruction mode and instruction time. With divergent differentiation the teacher approaches individual levels and educational needs of the children. The teacher facilitates the learning process of the students. Fred Janssen of the University of Leiden (ICLON) will conduct an impact of Practical Differentiation method. 

 

Student Exchange

Students of Primary and Secondary schools cooperate on projects based on Design Thinking. Groups are composed of 8 international students. They will take about 6 months. The subjects are developed in cooperation with scientific institutes, companies and museums.  Students will present the results of their projects at both places: in their own city and in a partner city too.

 

Evaluation on impact

The evaluation of the project will be a combination of evaluation on results of the projects, as indicated in the program and self-evaluation by all participants. The outcome of this Evaluation will be published in an Impact-Evaluation Report and presented at the International Conference on Talent Education in 2018.

 

International conference

An International Conference of Talent Education will be organised in Leiden in summer of 2018. This Conference is open to every teacher, educator, director, policy-maker, and researcher in the field of Education. In this conference the results of the project Talent Education will be presented together with workshops based on the developed practices, methods, and tools. 

More information about activities: www.talenteducation.eu/en/activities

 

Toolkits For Teachers 
 

DESIGN THINKING

Design Thinking is an educational method aiming at activating creative talents of students, and using these skills to further improve students´ own surroundings. This requires empathy, analytical thinking, creativity, flexibility, activity, and dealing with feedback. The programme will be applied at different schools by the teachers pursuant to the grant application. This fact will be monitored by the University (PLATO) and evaluation of the methodology will be further developed. PLATO is a research and development agency owned by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. It is all about learning in PLATO: learning at school, learning by training, learning at work. Via research, development, opinions and evaluations PLATO contributes to strengthening of learning environments in sectors of society. Dr. Jaap van Lakerveld is the director of PLATO. He is responsible for impact analysis. Karin Koens and Yfke de Jong are teachers in SCOL and they are processing the method in a paper manual. All participating organisations will implement Design Thinking testing and evaluations in their curricula. They will also provide input for the study of Plato into the effectiveness of Design Thinking in the education of talented students and use it as an outcome for the manual in their report. 

See more: http://www.talenteducation.eu/toolkitforteachers/designthinking

About Design Thinking

Recent studies in secondary schools have shown that a quarter of all pupils indicated were often bored because the subject material does not match with their learning needs. This motivated the Erasmus+ Talent Education to aim at prevention of underperformance.

In project Talent Education, teachers, scientists, and trainers joined forces to develop new teaching methods adjusted to the learning needs of various groups of children and adolescents.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers is a joint toolkit enabling teachers to adapt their instructions to the learning needs of their pupils in practical ways.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers includes methods, step-by-step plans, lesson examples, and manuals.

 

What is Design Thinking?

The Design Thinking is a method arising from a solution – oriented teaching is a method which enables people to develop the skills to be innovative.

It is useful now as well as in the largely unknown future. The DT method´s main basics are:

  • creative thinking
  • intensive cooperation
  • a fixed step-by-step plan
  • working cyclically
  • applying innovations
  • a holistic point of view

The method offers a structured approach to developing skills to meet the demands of the rapidly changing „real“ world.

 

Creative process

Through a creative development process DT intends to find new, creative solutions for current issues in the „real“ world. To this end, a step-by-step method has been designed by which innovative and solution-oriented ideas are developed. Doing research and „out of the box“ thinking are highly important, and make this method very suitable for use in education. Intermediate judgements should be avoided, and it is OK to make mistakes, as an essential part of the learning process.

 

Design Thinking method is based on 5 steps:

  • Empathize

Being able to see the world through someone else´s eyes: what does s/he see and feel; what is in his/ her mind: trying to understand as much as possible of the user´s problems and realities, his/her needs, desires, behaviour and relation to the world.

  • Define

Determining a definition of the problem that needs solving as precisely as possible.

  • Think

Gathering a maximum of ideas for solving the problem by brainstorming and thinking out of the box.

  • Prototype

Visualizing those ideas in order to test them and improve their usability.

  • Test

Testing the provisional solutions in relation to the student´s needs.

Working cyclically

The steps constitute a cyclical process, where one can, and should, revert to previous steps in order to adjust the process.

 

 

METACOGNITIVE SKILLS

Similarly to intelligence metacognitive skills are very powerful indicators of learning outcomes. Research shows that gifted students do not always possess these skills. This can remain unnoticed for a long time. Especially when the courses aren’t challenging/hard enough, gifted students will do well enough using their own intelligence. They do not need their metacognitive skills. Problems often arise with disappointing results once the course becomes more difficult. This could be after the transition within the upper secondary education or sometimes even in the third level of education. It is therefore important that teachers recognize early students with weak metacognitive skills and guide their development. The programme already exists, but is rarely used. In the project the programme will be applied at different schools by the teachers. This will be monitored by the universities and on the basis of evaluation a methodology will be developed for teaching metacognitive skills. The training will be given by Marcel Veenman, cognitive psychologist. Sarka Portesova from the JCMM will provide impact assessment. Nelleke Wagenaar and Nathalie van der Arend, who are teachers of SCOL, are processing the method in a manual. 

See more: http://www.talenteducation.eu/toolkitforteachers/metacognicalskills

 

About Metacognitive Skills

Recent studies in secondary schools have shown that a quarter of all pupils indicated were often bored because the subject material does not match with their learning needs. This motivated the project Erasmus+ Talent Education to aim at prevention of underperformance.

In the project Talent Education, teachers, scientists, and trainers joined forces to develop new teaching methods adjusted to the learning needs of various groups of children and adolescents.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers is a joint toolkit enabling teachers to adapt their instructions to the learning needs of their pupils in practical ways.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers includes methods, step-by-step plans, lesson examples, and manuals.

 

What are metacognitive skills?

Metacognition pertains to knowledge and skills for organizing, guiding and controlling one´s own thinking, actions and learning processes. It includes skills for:

  • task orientation (What am I to do?)
  • goal setting (What am I to achieve?)
  • planning (How do I reach that goal?)
  • a systematic approach (Step–by– step)
  • monitoring oneself during task execution (Am I not making mistakes? Do I understand all of it?)
  • evaluating the outcome (Is the answer correct?)
  • reflection (What can I learn from this episode?)

Students with good metacognitive skills are a helm of their own learning process through which they can execute a learning task more effectively.

 

Can metacognitive skills be trained?

Yes, they can:

  • Metacognitive instructions are integrated with a learning task in order to be successful. By applying metacognitive skills to a specific learning task, students are informed of What to do When and How. Therefore, separate study-skill lessons do not make sense.
  • Students are explicitly informed about the benefits of metacognitive activities in order to make them exert the extra effort required for the activities. This concerns the Why of metacognitive skills. Students are especially sensitive to certain arguments of gaining time, making fewer errors, and obtaining higher marks.
  • Metacognitive instructions are given over a prolonged period of time to bring about enduring effects. Practice makes it perfect.

 

Metacognition and learning performance

Metacognition determines learning performances to a large extent (up to 40%). As such, metacognition is more important to the learning process than intelligence, social - economical background, and motivation. Metacognitive skills can be acquired and enhanced by instructions and training. Research has shown that an adequate metacognitive instruction and a training lead to lasting improvements of metacognitive skills and consequently to better learning performances.

The research has shown that almost a half of intellectually gifted students appear to get weaker and weaker in a metacognitive way. Possibly these gifted students are insufficiently challenged in regular education to develop their metacognitive skills. At school they still can rely on their intelligence. Whenever the learning matter becomes more complex, students are at risk of study delays and drop outs.

 

Step-by-step action plan for learning tasks

When carrying out learning tasks, students work according to a fixed step-by-step plan.  This way they can make an assignment better (fewer errors and higher figures) and faster (time savings).

8 steps:

  • orientation
  • activation of prior knowledge
  • goal setting
  • planning
  • systematic execution
  • monitoring
  • evaluation
  • reflective evaluation

In the TETT Metacognitive Skills each step individually explains what a student can do and what the role of the teacher is if a pupil cannot get it done independently. Focus is on the coaching role of the teacher who mainly should ask questions and intervene as little as possible if a student already performs skilfully. Learning a strategy which is just little bit different than a student is used to can be confusing and could lead to a situation that a student no longer applies his own strategy. Observation of metacognitive skills of students must therefore precede their practice if the specific skill is already there, an exercise is not necessary and probably even cause disadvantage. In principle therefore, metacognitive instruction must be customized.

 

Executive functions

Executive functions (EF) are basic mental capacities that become available to the child through maturation of the brain. An important example is inhibition or control over impulses: a stop function by which action tendencies can be interrupted when something goes wrong. A second example is elementary planning of action sequences. Elementary planning is required for execution of complex actions.

In very young children (< 4 yrs.), EFs are still absent. But at the age from 4-5 the brain becomes more matured for developing EFs.

An inhibition and elementary planning are prerequisite for applying metacognitive skills. An inhibition is needed to first read an assignment before starting with task execution, or to check the outcome before giving the answer. Elementary planning is prerequisite to a goal – directed planning as a metacognitive skill.

Thus, the development of EFs precedes the development of metacognitive skills.

 

 

PRACTICAL DIFFERENTIATION

Students have different levels and educational needs. Education must be adapted to differences between pupils. Differentiation is the way a teacher handles differences between pupils by varying e.g. the way of giving instruction and instruction time. With divergent differentiation a teacher accommodates as much as possible to individual levels and educational needs of the children. The teacher facilitates learning process of the students. The method of Practical Differentiation already exists and Fred Janssen of the University of Leiden (ICLON) will conduct an impact assessment and on this basis, will prepare a manual supplemented with best practices. Firstly, teachers will be trained and then they will implement what they have learned. This is followed by the effect of measurement and processing of the results in a manual.

See more: http://www.talenteducation.eu/toolkitforteachers/metacognicalskills

 

About Practical Differentiation

Recent studies in secondary schools have shown that a quarter of all pupils indicated were often bored because the subject material does not match with their learning needs. This motivated the project Erasmus+ Talent Education to aim at prevention of underperformance.

In project Talent Education, teachers, scientists, and trainers joined forces to develop new teaching methods adjusted to the learning needs of various groups of children and adolescents.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers is a joint toolkit enabling teachers to adapt their instructions to the learning needs of their pupils in practical ways.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers includes methods, step-by-step plans, lesson examples, and manuals.

 

Taking differences into account is rewarding

Pupils of the same class are not all the same. They differ in level, prior knowledge, interests, perseverance, fear of failure, etc. Therefore, it is preferable not to treat pupils the same. And to adapt teaching to the pupils´ differences. The research has shown this is rewarding. When differences are taken into account in the classroom, this result s in increased motivation and achievements of all pupils.

 

Yes, but how can this be done in practice?

Adapting to differences is easier said than done. As a teacher, you generally see 150 pupils in your classroom each day, most of whom you meet only twice a week or three times a week. In addition, you do not have a lot of time available before, during, and after your classes to really pay attention to those differences. So pay attention to those differences. So any differential approach should not only advance every pupil´s learning, it should also be adjusted to the teacher´s possibilities in a regular classroom situation.

 

Differentiation: Basics and Deepening

We have two distinct toolkits: a basic toolkit and a deepening one, each consisting of three steps. By means of the basic toolkit, you can create practically differentiated lessons simply by reversal and omission. The deepening toolkit allows you to keep on expanding your differentiated educational repertoire. Basic toolkit: reversal; omission; checking and deepening toolkit: ambition; variation in form and variation in perspective.

  1. Reversal: Full task first

Many classes start with an explanation of the new subject matter, followed by relatively simple smaller assignments (partial tasks) and ending with more difficult assignments (full tasks) which pupils generally consider to be more interesting and relevant. So now we suggest starting class by introducing such a motivating full task (reversal). This task will be the theme of teaching.

  1. Omission: Made-to-measure help

Subsequently, all that is normally offered in class like explanation and partial tasks may now be viewed as help for taking on the full task. Some pupils need a lot of help, others do not. Pupils get the help they need (made-to-measure help) and all other help is omitted.

  1. Checking

Now you have succeeded in reconstructing regular teaching into differentiated teaching by reversal and omission. To decide whether the newly-designed teachings or classes already given were construed effectively differentiated, we formulated some criteria as questions for you to go through after you finish designing your classes. Where necessary, you can adjust your design. You can also invite your pupils to answer these questions at the end of the class.

  1. Ambition

Reconstruction of regular teaching by reversal and omission is a way of thinking about teaching you can vary with endlessly, and it enables you to continuously expand your own educational repertoire. In order to map out your own learning path as a teacher, you first have to be aware of what you are currently doing, and why. Based on this, you may then wish to expand your repertoire step by step, building on what you already know and are to do, again and again. TETT Practical Differentiation toolkit provides you with practical models to do so.

  1. Variation in form

Differentiated challenging teaching can be shaped in many ways. For instance, full task first and/or made-to-measure help may relate to one, or more lessons; it can be decided upon by either the teacher or the pupil; a lot of options can be offered or just a few, etc. A TETT rubric shows the most important dimensions, providing sheer endless possibilities for variation.

 

Challenging Young Children

Recent studies in secondary schools have shown that a quarter of all pupils indicated that they were often bored because the subject material did not match with their learning needs. This motivated the project Erasmus+ Talent Education to aim at prevention and struggle with underperformance.

In project Talent Education, teachers, scientists, and trainers joined forces to develop new teaching methods adjusted to the learning needs of various groups of children and adolescents.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers (TETT) is a joint toolkit enabling teachers to adapt their instructions to the learning needs of their pupils in practical ways.

The Talent Education Toolkits for Teachers includes methods, step-by-step plans, lesson examples, and manuals.

 

TETT comprises four separate toolkits:

  • TETT Design Thinking for Primary and Secondary Education
  • TETT Practical Differentiation
  • TETT Metacognitive Skills
  • TETT Challenging Young Children

 

Bloom and Gardner

Creative thinking processes are stimulated through characteristic of suitable and challenging assignments. That is why on the one hand the levels of intelligence of Bloom and on the other the multiple intelligences of Gardner are central to the approach. Such concept is at the basis of both the Practical Strategy developer in Slovenia based on an Observation protocol and the Activity matrix published by the Dutch SLO by Janneke Breedijk. The TETT also mentions Minka Dumont´s Thinking Keys were partly inspired by Bloom and Gardner as well.

 

7 subjects in the TETT Young Children:

  1. Observation protocol advanced intellectual development
  2. Strategies for suitable courses
  3. Integration matrix Bloom & Gardner
  4. Identifying and remedying underachievement
  5. Motivation and self-image of young children
  6. Toddlers with advanced intellectual development
  7. Intake procedure of pre-schoolers and transfer from preschool to
  8. Primary school

 

Self-image, self-confidence and motivation of (very) young children

The added value of education adjusted to children with advanced intellectual development is that a child gets a better self-image and more self-confidence. In the TETT, insight and manuals are presented for preventing and remedying of demotivation in gifted children.

 

Good quality intake of pre-schoolers and proper transfer

The earlier the teacher is aware of a child´s advanced intellectual development, the more effective can their approach be to prevent underachieving. A proper transfer from preschool education is very important. In the TETT you can find a complex intake procedure with an example questionnaire for parents.

 

Young children with advanced intellectual development

Children with advanced intellectual development do not have social-emotional needs which are any different from those of average children. Research shows that children with advanced intellectual development are not only ahead of their age group cognitively but also socially and emotionally. That is why it is important for children with advanced intellectual development to take part in activities with developmental equals. These children need a sensitive and coaching approach by the teacher. The idea is that the teacher should understand these pupils.

 

Protocol or plan of action needed

Interviews conducted at Dutch schools have indicated that formulating a protocol or plan of action is essential for the implementation of a special programme for children with advanced intellectual development. This was also concluded to be a central point of attention in the cooperation of institutes and schools in Slovenia. Literature on giftedness also points in this direction. Schools indicate that the implementation of a special for children with advanced intellectual development is more demanding in time and effort than is usually perceived.  Protocol or a plan could help towards a sound development track and particularly toward safeguarding improvements in the school´s teaching aims. The TETT Challenging Young Children which originates in cooperation of teachers and pedagogical staff in Leiden, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, offers protocol models as well as strategies based on these protocols. Also a practical Plan of Action can be downloaded for a step by step policy based implementation of educational improvements for children with advanced intellectual development.

 

Risk of underachieving

Within a few weeks, children with advanced intellectual development tend to adapt to the group level and stop looking for challenges to acquire knowledge and insight. This way at very young age they develop the risk of underachieving which is sometimes hard to combat at a later stage. When advanced intellectual development is diagnosed early in a child, a suitable teaching method can be devised to meet its demands.  In the TETT Challenging Young Children a lot of attention is paid to the signs and identification of underachievement in (very) young children. A manual for this can be downloaded from the Toolkit.

 

Coaching role and suitable teaching

Experts who were involved in the development tracks devised by Talent Education and Leidse Aanpak makes it clear that the teacher´s coaching role is of the essence for children with advanced intellectual development in order to develop their full potential. They state that these children thrive particularly when they work with developmental equals in suited courses with sufficiently challenging assignments at regular intervals.

This is also challenging for teachers and pedagogical staff though. In order to teach pupils with advanced intellectual development strategies and skills for solving difficult and challenging tasks, it is essential that the teacher instructs, motivates, and guides at the right level. Moreover, these children need the teacher to focus the attention on the learning process and not so much on the end result for end results are different for each child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RNDr. Miloš Šifalda

E-mail: milos.sifalda@jcmm.cz

Web: www.jcmm.cz