Description/achievement of initiative
The project Better Teaching for Quality Learning (BTQLP) is launched to help countries of Europe and Central Asia to improve teaching in primary schools. Countries of this region often face shortages in qualified school staff. Many educational systems hire teachers that do not have enough qualification especially in schools with poorer children. The project includes conducting research for assessment of different practices, analysis and determination of those that demonstrate better learning outcomes and distribution of these practices in similar learning environments through short-term courses for teachers and published materials.
Large-scale international comparative researches (TIMSS, PISA, PIRLS) have been provided information on state of the educational systems and factors that contribute learning. New findings of these research demonstrate that high qualification of teachers is one of the fundamentals of the good educational system. In effective educational environment teachers endorse disciplinary learning, connect students in joint and interesting tasks, encourage collaboration and develop interactive learning (even without special equipment). The examples of such teaching approaches can be found in the majority of the countries of the Central Asia and Eastern Europe region. However, most of teachers still use methods that focus mostly on acquisition of factual knowledge, learning is predominantly a teacher-led activity with frontal teaching and correction of mistakes being the most widely used methods (about 85% of the time in participating countries). Inadequate funding and lack of equal access to good education for teachers continues to be an issue undermining education quality in most of the project countries. Education quality continues to be low thus calling for a search of new approaches in addition to increased budget support. In case of these countries one of the approaches (low-cost interventions) that can help to overcome these common issues is finding and distribution of teaching methods that already being practiced and led to the highest learning outcomes in the region. \r\nThe methodology of the project includes assessment of teaching practices in schools where the educational results are the highest (data from schools is received through national or international comparative education research), studying and analysis of the teaching practices from that school, their generalization, description and further distribution among teachers through in-profession training. For assessment of the teaching practices several tools were developed: Tool for Diagnosing Teaching Practices and Teacher Education in cognitive Non-regular Areas of Mathematics. The implementation group conducts research in determined schools with the use of these tools. The results of these research then processed, and the outcome is a set of teaching practices demonstrated the highest results. \r\nThe dissemination of the practices is performed through the short-term courses (distant and in-classroom) and published project materials. The short-term courses for teachers are developed and implemented in cooperation with the leading institutions for the further training and center that work to support teacher’s profession in countries. Courses incorporate findings of the assessment and offer an effective approach for teaching strategy that includes instructions and structured lessons.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
The project is aimed at capacity building of the teachers from developing and low-income countries with accordance of the target 4c of the 4th SDG. By joining the course teachers get opportunity to receive a set of learning experiences: lecturers, interactive practical tasks, peer reviews, forum with colleagues, homework and certification after the course is done. The approach is based on coaching and will provide teachers with access to expert in order to improve teaching strategies under the supervision and continuous follow-up and support.\r\nTo grow professionally without leaving workspace teacher requires more than just short-term course. The project offers core practice framework that was developed in cooperation with colleagues at the Russian Center for Formative Assessment. Framework offers a rigorous professional learning program for skilled teachers devoted to student-centered teaching. The framework is distributed for schools that confirmed participation in the project. Providing structured pedagogical strategies and lessons techniques directly to teachers as a part of their professional activity (especially in schools where conditions are unfavorable due to low financing) is the low-cost and effective intervention. The results of interventions will be measured within the longitude studies.\r\nThe technology transfer from countries that demonstrate bigger advantage in education is a fundamental basis of the project. The need for obtaining new teaching approaches an essential part for the developing and low-income countries in their search for the better development strategy for education. It hence seems reasonable for these countries, that have limited access for teacher education and limited investment capacity, to explore and adopt technology transfer from partners. Technology transfer from out of the country often comes up against an unflattering situation. In case of this project those possible interferences are eliminated by the long history of cooperation, partnership, economical and cultural ties between countries.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
ECA-CES is a focal point for the partnership under the BQTP. It was founded to promote and accelerate research activities and inform policymaking in education in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Countries that form ECA-CES carry similar legacy in educational approaches and share a lot in common in many spheres of life. That’s why any kind of partnership between these countries comes naturally. The need for the ECA-CES raised from the understanding that researchers from this region encounter many difficulties including methodological (access to data collection), cooperation with colleagues and research results dissemination. In overall the research data in this region is not widely used in policymaking. The ECA-CES helps to overcome these difficulties and serves as a platform for increasing the production and use of research data and evidence in education policy and its’ further implementation. The ECA-CES aimed at achievement of the Fourth Sustainable Development Goal in the region. ECA-CES provides resources for the project conducting, liaising with organizations and authorities of countries, support to promotion and results dissemination.\r\nThe BTQLP is a partnership launched by the members of the ECA-CES Thematic Group “Teaching methods”. Members of ECA-CES form Special Interest Groups (SIG) of the society under umbrella of different educational thematic. The members of SIGs work together to look for solutions to overcome issues in education and approaches to accelerate achievement of the 4th SDG in the region. The activities within the Project include creating new scientific evidence and data, promotion of awareness for existing evidence, providing policy-makers with access to evidence, increase ability to learn from what did not work and what worked better and better mapping to avoid duplication among researchers.\r\nThe implementation group of the project consists of educators from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It includes researchers, former teachers and specialists of the national centers for education quality assessment. Together they work on gathering information on what matters in teaching the most and how to improve teaching to receive better learning outcomes. Members of implementation group have different responsibilities within the project: communication with schools and other organizations, data collection and processing, organizations of discussions, reporting, etc.\r\nThe project also includes cooperation with organizations in countries that help data collection such as schools, local educational authorities and media agencies and organizations that responsible for further in-profession teacher training.
Europe and Central Asia Comparative Education Society\r\nNational Center for Assessment and Testing under the Government of the Republic of Armenia\r\nCenter for International Cooperation in Education Development\r\nRussian Center for Formative Assessment