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Teachers’ Training in the Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles

Myriam de Kesel, Bernard Tinant, Nathalie Matthys,
Divna Brajkovic, Jean-Luc Pieczynski

Inforef (Belgium)

info@inforef.be

Abstract

Two approaches to teachers’ initial training are organised in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. “Academic knowledge” and “professional practice” are mixed in variable proportions.

  • The initial training of primary school teachers (for pupils between 6 and 12 years old) and Agrégations de l’Enseignement Secondaire Inférieur AESI (12 to 15) are organised in Hautes Écoles (HE) in a three-year cycle and lead to a bachelor’s degree with a professional orientation.
  • The initial training (AESS) of agrégés in upper secondary school (15 to 18) is organised in universities in a five-year cycle and leads to an academic master with a didactic orientation, or in a 6 year specialised academic master with extra training.
A project of structural reform of teachers’ initial training is currently under consideration to change the composition of the upper education landscape. The project intends to extend the training cycle in hautes écoles and to build new frames of reference of skills. This approach has to redefine the profession of teacher in its multiple missions: pedagogic, didactic and as a social and cultural partner.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2013.07.26

Posted by Giorgio Matricardi (Italy)

Message: This paper is the presentation of the initial and continuous training system adopted in Belgium for teachers.
The system for initial training offers separate training paths for teachers within the compulsory school cycles (up to 15 year-old students) or the upper secondary school. The initial training of primary school teachers (for pupils between 6 and 12 years old) and Agrégations de l’Enseignement Secondaire Inférieur AESI (12 to 15) are organised in Hautes Écoles (HE) in a three-year cycle and lead to a bachelor’s degree with a professional orientation. The initial training (AESS) of agrégés in upper secondary school (15 to 18) is organised in universities in a five-year cycle and leads to an academic master with a didactic orientation, or in a 6 year specialised academic master with extra training.
The two systems are discussed in detail and the points of strengths and weaknesses are given. One of the strength points of AESI, that I agree with, is the permanent and progressive interaction between academic knowledge and professional reality. An important strength point of AESS is the deep collaboration between the actors involved (experienced field teachers, inspectors, educational advisors…)
The paper also underlines the lack of a systematic in-service training system for teachers that is a problem also in Italy. In fact the attention paid to long-life training is lower than that paid to the initial training. In my opinion it is wrong, in particular when scientific disciplines are concerned: science and technology continuously develop so the contents and the way to teach them need to be updated frequently in order to offer a significant learning to our students.

Date: 2013.06.16

Posted by Enza Lucifredi (Italy)

Message: The paper describes two educational paths of teachers trained in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
The first one concerns the training of primary school teachers (students from 6 to 12 years old) and of junior high school teachers (students from 12 to 15 years old), that is organized in Hautes Écoles and in three years it will earn a degree.
The second one concerns the training of high school teachers (students from 15 to 18 years old), that is organized in Universities and in five years it will earn a master’s degree aimed at teach or, in six years, a specialized master’s degree.
In particular, the training for the achievement of AESI (agrégation de l'enseignement secondaire inférieur), permits to teach in the junior high school and it is organized in below sections as Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). It is possible to gain access with a high school degree. From the first year the training unify theory and practice, with a progressive and an enduring interaction between academic knowledges, educational competences and professional practice. At the end of the course the student have to prepare and make its end of studies’ case.
The main ideas exposed by the authors and agrees with us, are at the same time the admitted weak points of the system: the progressive and enduring interaction between theoretical and professional competence, for example, have as negative consequence that students are too much rapidly evaluated in a professional situation during the training. Also the accessibility to a lot of students could determine that a part of them have not the appropriate basics competence or could be unqualified for teaching.
About the AESS (agrégation de l'enseignement secondaire supérieur) achievement, that permits to teach in the high school, in comparison with the AESI, it assumes the competence in a branch of knowledge and a scientific approach: balancing a lack of educational and pedagogical competence, not predicted in the master degree, with 300 hours of lessons and teaching training.
Authors examined weak and strong points about these educational paths. About weak points there is the observation that students hesitated to choose the educational orientation both because it is considered heavier, ad because they are afraid to have some competence gaps in case of a future PhD, the educational master thesis it is frequently not considered as an out-and out master thesis. About strong points there is the observation that some Universities take advantages from the freedom leaved to curriculae.
At the UCL (Catholic University of Louvant -la –Neuve) the high school teachers starting training aim at the educational and pedagogical training of the next teacher.
In particular, students admitted to the Biological or Chemical training are immediately trained to teach these two subjects and they choose the training in a third subject, frequently they chose physics to be better prepared to teach these three subjects. Their training education take place between lessons and seminars.
This paper gives not advices for new chemistry teaching methods, even if it suggest interesting advices about what a teacher can do to training itself during its career. For example the collaboration with Advanced Technological Centers that offers to teacher and students the possibility to use tools that could be too much expensive for schools. Finally the invite to examine the web using sequences of innovative lessons, computer animations, spectacular experiments created by teachers associations and clustered in web site known by teachers.

Date: 2013.06.10

Posted by Elena Ghibaudi (Italy)

Message: This paper contains an interesting description of the training system adopted in Belgium for the initial training of teachers, as well as for teachers’continuous training. It does not especially refer to science teachers, but it contains considerations that may be useful for any discipline.
The Belgian system for initial training offers separate training paths for people that will teach within the compulsory school cycles (up to 15 year-old students) or the upper secondary school.
These paths are quite different, in terms of contents and duration, as teaching in compulsory school cycles requires a 3-year Bachelor (accessible after taking an upper school degree) whereas a 5-year university Master is necessary for teaching in the upper secondary school.
The two systems are very effectively discussed in terms of strengths and weaknesses. One of the main concern regards the opportunity of keeping such a strong separation in the training pathways of teachers of the lower and upper secondary school. Other concerns are:
- the problems related with the connections between trainers, students and internship supervisors, mainly due to different demands expressed by each actor
- the recruitment of trainers with experience in compulsory education as well as of internship supervisors
- the acquirement of a good balance between disciplinary knowledge and educational/pedagogical knowledge
- the balance between theoretical training and practice “in the field”
- the need for teachers trained in multiple disciplines ( a major one and minor ones) as science teachers often have to teach different subjects (e.g. biology, chemistry and physics).
The paper also highlights the general lack of a systematic long-life training system for teachers, as well as the little attention that is generally payed to this problem (e.g., in Belgium, staff members need only three days of training each year). This is a common problem to many European countries and it is especially important in science teaching, due to the impressive speed of development of scientific knowledge.
This problem certainly deserves additional attention and efforts to help science teachers to keep their disciplinary knowledge updated.

Date: 2013.06.05

Posted by Viera Lisá (Slovakia)

Message: For my not very good english skills is this paper difficult to read and translation was not very helpfull. . The paper give information about two approaches to teacher initial training in Belgium.
Two training Courses are reported. The first is given the acronym AESI and the second AESS. The AESI Course runs a three year Bachelor. The AESI graduates are treated as licensed professionals adequate for teaching 12-15 year old pupils. The AESS course can be 5 year with an Academic MSc, or may extend for one more year, i.e. may last 6 years, giving a MSc with extra specialisation
In relation to teacher training for primary schools this is based on 13 skills which are divided into six distinct and complementary axes. The AESI Course is structured on a 7-point training framework.
• to acquire sociocultural knowledge
• to acquire social-affective and relational knowledge
• to master disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge
• to master educational knowledge
• to acquire a scientific approach and research attitudes
• know-how
• interdisciplinary activities to build a professional identity
Certification is based on assessments by examinations and internships. At the end of the cycle, an end-of-studies project is done and defended by the student.
The AESS Course is built on teacher training for secondary schools the current situation based on 13 skills which are divided into 4 distinct and complementary axes;
1) achieve socio-cultural knowledge,
2) achieve social-affective knowledge,
3) achieve pedagogic knowledge,
4) theory and practice through internships.
The review of this teaching structure is again carried out under strength and weaknesses.
The last section discusses ideas for improvement by common initial training with a
professional orientation based on scientific, educational and teaching components. It would seem useful that all the teachers who teach science in any six years of secondary school had a same training.
This would involve a common training during the first three years (subject bachelor’s degree) based on the learning of one major science and other minor one. While the masters training would be more focused on teacher training.
On the concluding sections, the authors discuss improvement possibilities, focusing on scientific, educational and teaching enhancements. Continuation of training is also outlined, The suggestions include: 1) participation in further training, 2) support from educational advisor 3) participation to working groups and coaching sessions and 4) internet support


Date: 2013.05.30

Posted by Ioannis Sanakis (Greece)

Message: This paper is a rather brief presentation of the Teachers’ Training policy in the Federation Wallonie Bruxelles, Belgium. This policy is divided in two parts. One (with the acronym AESI) refers to teachers involved in primary education (pupils between 6 and 12 years old) and first years of secondary education (pupils between 12 and 15) and the second (acronym AESS) refers to teachers involved in upper secondary school (15 to 18).
The part that is relevant to the training of Chemistry teachers is the second one (AESS). Within AESS the students are trained in order to achieve 13 skills organized on 4 axes. AESS includes at least 300 hours spread in one academic year. A pre-requirement for a student to attend AESS is a mastering of the subject and the achievement of a scientific approach during the disciplinary Master. After the implementation of European Union central directives and decrees like the famous “Bologna decree” a second option appeared. Somebody, with Chemistry or other Science degree can carry out a Masters with pedagogic orientation. Such a person does not need to attend AESS. This means that the total training of a teacher is six years for somebody without a Masters degree on didactic orientation or five years for somebody holding such a title.
It is worth mentioning here that AESS aims at developing pedagogical skills. Namely, it prepares teachers suitable to get into the classroom. It is not clear to me whether a Masters degree does so. During a master thesis somebody might focus on a specific issue related with didactic issues but it this does not guarantee that the appropriate skills for teaching are obtained. To my opinion a dedicated course like AESS is much more useful when it comes to education.

Date: 2013.05.10

Posted by Nikolopoulos Dimitrios (Greece)

Message: At first it was frustrating for non-French speaking readers to follow the text. Reading the first page, I found 28 French acronyms and words. The issue remained in the remaining pages, however confined. A translation of the main terms would be helpful. The first page was very hard to read.

The strengths and weaknesses of the described training courses were outlined by the authors. Although several issues were raised, the way of writing detaches the reader. This necessitates different text passes to outline the points. Several awkward phrases exist, for example "disciplinary Master","social-affective" and "socio-cultural" knowledge. The teaching approach is not outlined at all, despite the extended criticism on the two described training practices. Specific information about Chemistry is given.

Two training Courses are reported. The first is given the acronym AESI and the second AESS. The AESI Course runs a three year Bachelor. The AESI graduates are treated as licensed professionals adequate for teaching 12-15 year old pupils. The AESS course can be 5 year with an Academic MSc, or may extend for one more year, i.e. may last 6 years, giving a MSc with extra specialisation.

The AESI Course is structured on a 7-point training framework. This is (adapted from text): 1.acquire sociocultural knowledge, 2.acquire social-affective and relational knowledge, 3.master disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, 4.master educational knowledge, 5.acquire scientific approach and research attitude, 6.know-how, 7.interdisciplinary activities to build a professional identity. Training involves examinations and internships.

The AESS Course is built on a 4-point structure:1) achieve socio-cultural knowledge, 2) achieve social-affective knowledge, 3) achieve pedagogic knowledge, 4) theory and practice through internships.

On the concluding sections, the authors discuss improvement possibilities, focusing on scientific, educational and teaching enhancements. Continuation of training is also outlined, The suggestions include: 1) participation in further training, 2) support from educational advisor 3) participation to working groups and coaching sessions and 4) internet support

Date: 2013.05.07

Posted by David Sutton (Ireland)

Message: This paper is very difficult to read as a result of translation issues. The paper does give an overview of the two approaches to teacher initial training in Belgium. However there is little by way of defining the teaching approach to training of the sciences in particular and more important to this debate there is no mention of Chemistry in any detail.
There are two types of training colleges discussed these being for Primary teaching and lower secondary education (12-15 yrs old) which is in a three-year cycle and leads to a bachelor’s degree with a professional orientation. Secondary school teaching is done in universities in a five-year cycle and leads to an academic master with a didactic orientation, or in a 6 year specialised academic master with extra training.
In relation to teacher training for primary schools this is based on 13 skills which are divided into six distinct and complementary axes.
• to acquire sociocultural knowledge
• to acquire social-affective and relational knowledge
• to master disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge
• to master educational knowledge
• to acquire a scientific approach and research attitudes
• know-how
• interdisciplinary activities to build a professional identity
Certification is based on assessments by examinations and internships. At the end of the cycle, an end-of-studies project is done and defended by the student.

The strength and weakness of the method are discussed with a considerable amount of weaknesses. The strengths are largely derived from the progressive interaction between knowledge and internships. Closeness between trainer and student is also highlighted. The main weaknesses identified are the early stages in which students are left in a professional situation. Also cited is the support for students in the intern stages.
In relation to teacher training for secondary schools the current situation based on 13 skills which are divided into 4 distinct and complementary axes;
1. achieving sociocultural knowledge;
2. achieving social-affective knowledge;
3. achieving pedagogic knowledge with a scientific approach in 2 parts: integrated didactic transposition and pedagogic training;
4. theory and practice (or know-how) articulation achieved during internships.
The review of this teaching structure is again carried out under strength and weaknesses.
The last section discusses ideas for improvement by common initial training with a professional orientation based on scientific, educational and teaching components. It would seem useful that all the teachers who teach science in any six years of secondary school had a same training.
This would involve a common training during the first three years (subject bachelor’s degree) based on the learning of one major science and other minor one. While the masters training would be more focused on teacher training. A change in this approach would require re training for the existing graduates?
The subject of continued training for teachers is discussed and outlines the variety of approaches which are available:
• Must participate in three days training on a yearly basis
• Can ask for support.
• Participate in working groups.
• Participate in coaching.
• Consult the internet.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.

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