“By joining eTwinning, teachers and other school staff will become part of the ‘Community for schools in Europe’ and benefit from endless opportunities.
Lifelong learning is essential for teachers and eTwinning community members benefit from webinars, short and long online courses (including MOOCs), self-teaching materials, conferences, and other on-site professional development opportunities where they meet experts in many fields and improve their skills. These events allow teachers to network, learn together, and feel part of the same community. eTwinning also provides opportunities for future teachers to get support when starting their careers”.
University Institutions can take part in this great community and they can create projects with other European universities thanks to ITE , Initial teacher Education.
Teacher trainers, mentors, professors and university students can register in ESEP as eTwinners and create partnerships all over Europe.eTwinning involves initial teacher education (ITE) as a strategy to engage future teachers. A growing number of ITE Projects, since 2014 up to now, demonstrate that introducing eTwinning into the curriculum of student teachers is very valuable to them and their institutions.
What is ESEP?
Launched in 2022, the European School Education Platform is the meeting point for all stakeholders in the school education sector. The platform is also home to eTwinning, the community for schools in Europe. This online multilingual platform is free of charge for all users. Here you can stay informed with new content published every week, find resources such as reports from recent research, teaching materials created in European projects and training courses.
What is eTwinning ?
Launched in 2005, eTwinning is a community that is exclusively open to educators and other school staff in initial vocational education and training and education from early childhood education and care to upper secondary schools from countries participating in eTwinning.
By joining eTwinning, school staff can experience the benefits of belonging to the ‘Community for schools in Europe’. Registered and validated eTwinners have access to the restricted eTwinning area and other specialized features on the European School Education Platform.
What is ITE?
From practically applying 21st-century skills to engaging in international, collaborative projects, the activities related to ‘eTwinning for Future Teachers’ are a perfect example of how eTwinning can help the development of new generations of teachers.
Models to introduce eTwinning vary by country and institution but include two main activities:
- including an ‘Introduction to eTwinning’ module in the initial teacher education curriculum,
- creating small collaborative eTwinning projects for teacher educators and/or student teachers (at local, national, and international level), or small eTwinning projects with pupils when student teachers are on placements in schools.
Catholic University of Milan, thanks to the support of professor P.C. Rivoltella, has included the use of the eTwinning and its tools in the 4th year, Primary Education Sciences , with the possibility of connection in the direct internship .The students can carry out what they planned during English laboratories and go on working on it in 5th year, within the CLIL methodology.
The eTwinning Initial Teachers Education (ITE) initiative aims to make eTwinning a tool to introduce a different way of doing school, by the use of new technologies, communication in a foreign language, learning in a collaborative and multicultural context. The eTwinning project in initial teacher education can provide an useful support to promote a collaborative learning dimension. All that is described in the phases of the project: “ITE &… Storytelling: Universities and school in cooperative learning”.
In this project, group of student teachers form different university worked and designed lesson plans for Primary schools.
eTwinning planning introduced a training methodology that involved students of the degree course in Primary Education of the Catholic University ( Milan and Brescia) ,the University of Hasan Kalyoncu, Gaziantep, Turkey , Università degli Studi della Basilicata in shared planning experiences, with a view to internationalization, on innovative teaching methodologies, such as the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodology, the Situated Learning Episodes method (Rivoltella, 2013) and the CLIL method with Eas (Leone & Luzzini, 2016).
The contribution of eTwinning in initial teacher education has the following main benefits:
- discovering and implementing project teaching and multidisciplinary work,
- developing ICT and language skills,
- European, international, and intercultural experiences,
- developing areas, such as creativity, critical ability, communication, collaboration
- developing professional skills (project management, setting goals, planning, teamwork),
- reflecting on professional practices,
- exchanging school experiences with teachers from other education systems
- developing soft skills such as ability to work in a group, to present one’s ideas, to be flexible and open minded, to learn respect for assignments and deadlines.
Therefor the ITE project “ Storytelling… ” in which we are cooperating, provides a methodological proposals in the initial training path of future teachers of kindergarten and primary school for the development of language, digital and soft skills thanks to the training opportunities offered by eTwinning.
University students of Catholic University started the digital storytelling.
UCSC of Milan is working in eTwinning since 2014.We are taking part in several ITE Projects in this academic year.
Why join ITE?
Schools need qualified new teachers, moreover, transition from teacher studies into everyday teaching in schools is often a period in which young teachers have to navigate the complex realities of schools and classrooms and face the challenges of their teacher role. Many of them feel overwhelmed by various tasks that teachers have to handle – dealing with classroom management and cooperation with colleagues, administrative demands and expectations from school leadership especially for international projects and partnership.
Students teachers often lack the necessary support at the beginning of their professional journey and with ITE projects it’s possible to scaffold them: they can to know other teachers, other schools, other pedagogical practices.
Marzia Luzzini is Teacher trainer at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Erasmus+ School Ambassador; Contact person for ITE, Primary Science Education at Catholic University in Milan; School headmistress at Montessori Como; English teacher, Counselor, author of books, essays and school magazines on pedagogy.
For more information on the project, sign up to follow the seminar “ITE Initial Teacher Education & eTwinning: sviluppo professionale per i futuri insegnanti”