Wednesday, 30 November 2011
eTwinning Conference "Leading 21st century education" - part two
Not sure of the answer - but believe me, all of the important people, policy makers and stakeholders were just as puzzled as I (the "normal" teacher) was. Of course eTwinning is a great place for professional development. Of course it's a place where we meet, share ideas, develop projects and thus we grow as better teachers (that's what a social network based on educational shared interest is supposed to do for us). And of course again, professional development policies already benefit from eTwinning (at almost zero cost: teachers choose eTwinning for no other reason that their passion - no funding involved for us).
So, eTwinning practice has already done a lot for professional development policies.
Now, in my opinion, the question should be different: what can professional developmet policies do for eTwinners? can our work and our passion be recognized someway?
The good news: in some countries, it is already. The bad news: most of the others think what we already have (?) is more than enough.
Now, let's talk for us in Italy. You can be a brilliant eTwinner, develop the best projects ever, have a collection of QLs and a fantastic net of reliable partners all around Europe. Great! You grow up to be an almostdigitalnative teacher, you have lots of competences, you're happy in your job and your pupils are enjoying their learning process. Now, say, one day you decide (or you have) to move to a different school. And ops! nothing of this beautiful world of experiences and competences is kept in your professional record. That is to say, your curriculum vitae is just as good as that of any "chalk & talk" teacher.
All of your eTwinning experience (which is precious, and I do believe it is), in fact does not exist for your Ministry of Education. Better, it is of no interest to them.
Well, I don't think that's much to encourage any teacher to enter the eTwinning world (or the EU projects world).
Lots of us are "old" eTwinners, we were pioneers first, then we developed in time the belief that the eTwinning methodology can be both an incredible tool and an incredible meeting point for our teaching. We are here because we are sure that's the right pathway. But if we want to involve more teachers, if we want to have a bigger impact on education, if we want to go beyond the pioneer-stage... if we want more, we have to give more.
Which general feeling? Not that of the teachers, be sure.
Of course we do need to embed eTwinning in educational policies! (still my very personal opinion) Otherwise it's like having a perfect educational world that doesn't exist for the real world. And I don't want to live in educational Utopia, I want real life. National and European policies should be able to speak the same language.
By the way, what was this conference for, if we don't think eTwinning should be embedded in education policies?
But I was there, and it was a good event: and I believe it was the beginning of something. I still believe utopia and reality can meet somewere.
Or am I just Alice in Wonderland?