Anne Looney structured her workshop around 3 main issues:
1. Where policies happen
2. Identify burning platforms
3. How eTwinning can respond to these burning platforms
2. Identifying burning platforms to be tackled in the coming months/years
- Drop out rates
- Performance gap (class, gender, race)
- Initial teacher training
- Out of date textbooks/ quality of teaching material
- Transition between school / work / university
- Special needs in mainstream education
- Teacher appraisal
- Unrealistic demands
3. How can eTwinning address these burning issues?
The last question generated a debate between policy makers and educational practitioners attending the workshop.
Notably, from a teacher’s point of view, eTwinning has remotivated her: “eTwinning is an amazing channel to make new friends across Europe, which enables eTwinners to share best practices.”
Policy makers are not that interested in the development of friendships among teachers; they prefer to observe an impact on pupils.
Thus the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency representative mentioned the ongoing impact survey, which will be available mid 2012. It should provide evidence that eTwinning increases pupils’ motivation and autonomy.
The workshop continued the through the 2nd day of the conference.
By the end of the session a common agreement had been reached: eTwinning should stay flexible and free and shouldn’t be overly controlled, as it is a safe environment. The general feeling was, “Do we really need to embed eTwinning in education policies? Don’t we risk diluting the essence of eTwinning?” It was further agreed that the space for pupils should be fostered, as they are at the heart of education policies and they themselves can bring innovation into the mix.