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Innovative Teaching for Creative Learning: Teacher Training

1Milena Koleva, 2Adriana Tafrova Grigorova, 2Milena KIrova

1Technical University of Gabrovo, 2Research Laboratory on Chemistry Education and History and Philosophy of Chemistry (Bulgaria)

kolevamilena@hotmail.com, a_grigorova@yahoo.com, kirova_m@abv.bg

Abstract

The advancement of society today leads to rapid changes in science. Therefore teachers and educators should have solid and regular training to acquire new knowledge emerging in all spheres of life. An important aspect of professional qualification is the training of teachers in applying new, interactive, teaching methods in order to achieve higher interactivity in the educational process and to raise the interest of their students. A special emphasis is placed on practice-oriented teaching and classroom activities that encourage learners to be more active participants in the learning process. ICT training of teachers is directly linked to the mastering and application of new teaching methods.

The present paper views the issues of the teachers’ qualification and training in Bulgaria, the opinions of chemistry teachers on the necessity and forms of training aimed at the improvement of their teaching skills, as well as the strategies and approaches that enhance the development of ICT competences.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.04.25

Posted by Adem Taşdemir (Turkey)

Message: This article is important in terms of providing theoretical knowledge about innovation of ICT on in-service teachers in Bulgaria. Some problems, reasons and applications generally were discussed in details. In this study, some reasons could be given such as unawareness of the possibilities of innovative practices, insufficient methodological competence in technologies, insufficient provision of teaching aids and equipment and the evaluation of teachers' performance.
In many countries, in-service teachers are faced with similar problems nowadays, although the main differences between countries such as educational, cultural and social structures may be wide variation for each. But these differences are directly effective on the practices of ICT. I think this article is useful because of giving information about the strategies and approaches for teachers ICT abilities in National programme in Bulgaria. Also, describing some applicable solutions are advantage for readers. I hope that some findings of researches on the applicability of this practice with innovation of ICT could be shared to compare with educational policy of other countries. Also, these results and experiences on practice could be provided valuable feedback to apply ICT on teacher training.

Date: 2014.03.14

Posted by Helena Kaniewska (Poland)

Message: The paper consitutes an overview of the Bulgarian system of education, teaching and training of science teachers and, chmistry teachers in particular. There is a thorough description of different stages of training - both pre-service and in-service.
Teachers in Bulgaria undergo a series of various trainings and courses in order to obtain the highest level of achievement.

Date: 2014.01.17

Posted by Elisete Afonso (Portugal)

Message: This paper outlines the investment made in the in-service training of teachers in Bulgaria, presenting opinions of chemistry teachers about their training needs, taking into account development strategies for ICT competences and its impact on improving the teaching know-how.
The document is organized in four topics. At first, key aspects of European education policy regarding the use of ICT, in line with the guidance of UNESCO, are pointed out which proclaim the internet access for each student in the classroom; the definition of key competencies of young people and the improvement of teacher qualifications.
From the analysis of a study on the use of ICT in European schools, it appears that, despite the encouragement and investment in computer equipment, the use of computers in the disciplines of natural sciences is still reduced, due to the lack of digital skills of teachers who often did not use the opportunities offered by in-service training.
To remedy this situation, the study recommends, first, the need for regular assessment of teacher performance, both externally and internally and, on the other hand, the intensification of forms of cooperation among teachers across platforms and social networks in order to promote the exchange of experiences, materials and good practices that are favorable to their professional development.
In the second section, reference is made to normative governing the initial and in-service training of teachers in Bulgaria, where, in parallel, school development national programs with emphasis on application of ICT in the classroom are implemented and the in-service training of chemistry teachers is taught by specialized departments of Universities.
The third point emphasizes the goals of the National Programme for Developing School Education and Pre-School Education and Training (2006-2015) that aims not only to upgrade knowledge but also the pedagogical and digital skills. A survey with science teachers, who attended training programs of LLL, betrays unawareness of the teaching potential of the application of active and interactive technologies in the teaching-learning process, either for lack of professional qualifications, either for lack of equipment and, also, for lack of incentives to its use. The fact that more motivated teachers to new technologies have between 10 to 20 years of professional experience is highlighted.
The current context of chemistry teachers in Bulgaria, only allows them to have little more than a PC and a multimedia projector in the classroom, lacking the essential requirements to work the educational contents in a creative and motivating way for students, through the numerous websites and forums available. In this sense, a system for assessing competencies of chemistry teachers was developed, at the University of Sofia, designed for the technological literacy of teachers.
The last section is focused on the Bulgarian state policy that is being followed in the qualification and professional development of teachers, based on a system of analysis, monitoring and evaluation of teacher performance, with repercussions on differentiated pay, as a motivational and incentive strategy to the use of ICT. Across multiple projects in progress, it is expected that by 2014, a large percentage of teachers is provided with ICT competences, leading to their personal and professional development.

Date: 2013.11.25

Posted by Mehmet Polat Kalak (Turkey)

Message: This article illustrates the fact that a thorough and comprehensive vision of in-service teachers’ training evolution in Bulgaria. It depicts the formation model and the things which the teachers experience in the Bulgarian education system in a detailed way. Furthermore, it analyzes the fact that the legislative support which alters the teachers’ qualification actions and procedures for learning of qualification diplomas which are related to their professions. The writers talks about which are registers, institutions and specialized units which are measured up by the National Assessment and Accreditation Agency which sets up the actions which are responsible for the planning, organization and enhancement programs. They put emphasis on the importance of universities and of the National Institute of Education and Qualification of the Education System, in terms of coordination of actions which are basically associated with planning, organization, training and career improvement. I think that this article is really useful because it gives a lot of information about the strategies and approaches which are carried out in Bulgaria in order that they can enhance chemistry teachers ICT abilities. It produces a detailed analysis of the recent situation, problems and solutions that have been carried out. This article also gives information what an interview which was carried out by teachers of chemistry, mathematics, biology and physics and which is mainly associated with the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching, learning process and techniques methods which are implemented in the classroom in order that they will improve the students’ motivation and the implementation of innovative practices. I think that this kind of investigation provokes self-reflection of teachers and had better be duplicated in other parts of the world. The article puts an end by stating “ Other approaches to teachers’ training” by putting emphasis on the projects “Qualification of Pedagogical experts", "ICT in education" and "Nation Education Portal"

Date: 2013.11.25

Posted by Ömer KURTOĞLU (Turkey)

Message: This paper is appropriate as it demonstrates the way in which schools and teachers in Bulgaria are aiming to expose their services based on chemical education to the new society that even more necessitates rivalry in ICT. There are mainly two parts of the paper which are essential for chemistry teachers. At first, the first mark which informs the European policy which is associated to the teacher rivalry; It is more suitable to know which are the standards to success and which is the impressing role and the effect of ICT on chemical education with the aim of increasing the encouragement of the students on the subject. The second important point of the paper is the number three which illustrates the factual limitations and the possible solutions; it is in fact necessary to know which are the problems and how they can deal with these kind of problems with a view to developing and amelioration process. The basic perspectives which are emphasized in the papers are associated with the introduction of ICT in the education system within the requirement for the teachers to attain more technology abilities. Employing new teaching methods is at the core of involvement of students. What is also suggested is the regular updating and training of the teachers in order that they can easily get used to social changes and the necessities of the students. The paper states in a more general manner how implementing ICT improves students’ interest and which is its effect on chemistry education. It is via updating activities which teachers would have the ability to adjust the essential competences in implementing ICT tools. The article ends with “Other approaches to teachers’ training” with emphasis on the projects “Qualification of Pedagogical experts” , ”ICT in education” and “Nation Education Portal” which set examples for innovative encouraging to support teachers’ motivation and qualification.

Date: 2013.11.25

Posted by Hüseyin Miraç Pektaş (Turkey)

Message: This study shows the struggles of schools and teachers in adopting the chemical education according to the demands of technology-especially ICT- based society in Bulgaria.
At first, this paper gives detailed information about European norms and about the inevitability of ICT in the education system. Despite of that the study is based on Bulgaria, it is possible to say that this issue concerns many East-European countries. Chemical education is into one another with technology which means the effect of ICT is immense on chemical education. With the use of proper technology in the classroom, it facilitates the teaching process and also raises the motivation of the students. It is quite possible to say that technological devices have an important place in our daily life, this also reflects on our education system. Teachers should be equipped with the required technological devices and they should also possess the ability to use them properly in order to support the education.
Another aspect of this article is that it describes the strategies and approaches which are utilized in Bulgaria to develop technological skills and also the competences which should be possessed by chemistry teachers. The results, gained by interviewed teachers of chemistry, mathematics, biology, physics and computer science, show the current educational state. It highlights the problems in teaching, the attitudes towards teaching and also the methodological aspect. Also, it refers to the financial promotion of the state in order to equip the classrooms as well as the teachers to use IC-Technology in teaching.
To sum up, this investigation gives detailed information about the status of education in Bulgaria. It reflects the opinions of teachers from many branches and underlines the need of ICT competence of teachers but there are no specific defined or suggested competences. The expression ‘interaction’ is stressed several times according to student’s motivation.

Date: 2013.06.20

Posted by Inforef (Belgium)

Message: The paper is relevant because it shows the way in which schools and teachers in Bulgaria are trying to adapt their services on chemical education to the new society that even more needs competences in ICT. The article gives a complete overview of the situation starting from the required European standards, going through the explanation of the limits and problems in Bulgaria, to the importance of ICT in the modern education system and the strategies for the teachers to enhance their competences.
There are mainly two parts of the paper that are important for chemistry teachers.
At first point 1 explaining the European policy related to the teacher competences; it is indeed relevant to know which are the standards to achieve and which is the effective role and impact of ICT on chemical education in order to increase the motivation of the students on the subject.
The second important point of the paper is the number 3 showing the actual limits and the possible solutions; it’s in fact essential to know which are the problems and how to solve them to develop an amelioration process.
The main approaches underlined in the papers are related to the introduction of ICT in the education system within the necessity for teachers to acquire more technology skills. Mastering new teaching methods is central in the involvement of students. What is also proposed is the regular updating and training of the teachers in order to easily adapt to society changes and needs of the students.
The paper explains in a more general way how using ICT enhances student’s interest and which is its impact on chemistry education. It is through updating activities that teachers would be able to assimilate the required competences in using ICT tools.

Date: 2013.06.16

Posted by Barbara Mallarino (Italy)

Message: This paper advises what in Bulgary has been done for training teachers in these last years. The main idea, in various project illustrated in the paper, is that the current society is submitted to rapid-changing in the scientific field. Teachers could have a solid competence in their topic, a continuous update to acquire emerging knowledeges. ICT applicated in all of educational aspects seem to be appropriate in front of these changes.
The European Strategy i2010 for E-learning defines three areas in relation to this policy:
1) Development of the infrastructure and provision of access to Internet and multimedia sources for each student in the classroom;
2) Definition of specific skills that are of great significance for the young and improvement of their key competences;
3) Enhancement of the qualification of teachers in order to successfully build these competences
At the same time, some “omissions” have been underlined in the educational Bulgarian system:
1) In schools ICT are used as a tool for implementing separate tasks in different subjects included in the curriculum. The use of computers for educational purposes at home is considerably rare. Computers are mainly used for entertainment.
2) In natural science classes computers are also rarely used for simulations, experiments, visualization of phenomena and processes.
With respect to the professional development of the teachers and the improvement of their competences, the following conclusions could be drawn:
1) Teachers build their ICT skills mainly during the process when they are taught to be become teachers. The possibilities for and the forms of lifelong learning are underdeveloped and underused. They are preferred by math teachers rather than by teachers in natural sciences. These opportunities are used least by primary teachers within both groups of teachers.
2) The possibilities and the advantages of the electronic portfolio for assessing students' knowledge are underused as well. One of the reasons is the low ICT competence of a number of teachers.
The paper mainly concerns chemistry teachers but conclusions could be extended to all teachers, in fact the following tools for encouraging teachers to improve their professional qualification and competences are proposed:

1. Regular assessment of their performance. It can be external (by the Inspectorate) or internal (by other teachers and/or by the school principal). Assessment criteria - general and specific depending on the scientific area and the subject taught. They should provide a feedback related to teachers' teaching performance, knowledge and skills. With regard to teachers' computer skills, only internal assessment is used in Bulgaria.

2. The use of different forms of cooperation among teachers - on-line platforms, forums, blogs and social networks, which make possible the exchange and promotion of professional experience, teaching materials, good practices, useful initiatives thus positively influencing the professional development of teachers.
Another interesting idea coming from a research on the opinions of teachers with the following conclusions:
1. The role of the modern educational technologies in real-life school practice is underestimated, as well as the fact that the output of the teachers' work is evaluated according to formal criteria and indicators rather than creativity in teaching;
2. Despite the wide promotion of methods and techniques for active and interactive learning and teaching, they are not widely used in the real-life school practice due to low qualification.
Most teachers consider the subject content they teach as appropriate for the application of innovative practices. However, this does not happen in schools. The following reasons could be given:
1) Unawareness of the possibilities of innovative practices for achieving the educational goals, and orientation to traditional methods, tools and forms of teaching/learning
2) Insufficient methodological competence in integrating active and interactive technologies in the teaching/learning process
3) Insufficient provision of teaching aids and equipment to cover such type of teaching/learning, and lack of encouraging educational environment in schools.
4) The evaluation of teachers' performance and the career growth are not related to professional creativity and innovation.
Recommended methods could be summarized as following:
1. ICT use in the daily scholar practice (especially in the high school) and an indispensable teachers training;
2. a good practice database creation, operating systems, web sites that offer free trainig on-line
3. a strong financial support from the system to increase technological equipments at schools.
Similar activities could be desirable also in Italy, without forget a strong raising awareness about ICT usefulness; training teachers, from my point of view, could be indispensable. But this requires a problematic commitment by out system. We need an administration that invest on Italian citizens for ages.
Teachers specific competences to develop are not exactly suggested. The paper underlines several times the relationship between students’ motivation and use of ICT, in particular about interactivity and about the possibility to observe phenomena or models that are complicated to explain only orally.

Date: 2013.06.14

Posted by Adília Tavares Silva (Portugal)

Message: This article presents a complete and comprehensive vision of in-service teachers’ training evolution in Bulgaria. It describes in detail the formation model and the experiences developed in the Bulgarian education system. Moreover it examines the legislative support that regulates the teachers' qualification actions and procedures for acquisition of professional qualification diplomas.
The authors clearly describe which are the entities, institutions and specialized units qualified by the National Assessment and Accreditation Agency that coordinates the actions responsible for the planning, organization and improvement programs. They highlight the importance of universities and of the National Institute of Education and Qualification of the Education System, in the coordination of actions related to planning, organization, training and career development.
This article describes the strategies and approaches adopted in Bulgaria to improve chemistry teachers ICT skills. It makes a detailed analysis of the current situation, problems and solutions that have been adopted.
It presents the findings of an interview held with teachers of chemistry, mathematics, computer science, biology and physics concerning teachers’ attitudes towards teaching/learning process and techniques/methods used in the classroom to stimulate the motivation and the application of innovative practices. In my opinion, this type of investigation promotes self-reflection of teachers and should be replicated in other countries.
The article ends with "Other approaches to teachers’ training" with emphasis on the projects “Qualification of Pedagogical experts", "ICT in education" and "Nation Education Portal" that are example of innovative initiatives to support teachers’ motivation and qualification.

Date: 2013.06.10

Posted by Antonella Lotti (Italy)

Message: The paper is relevant because it describes how teachers, in general, and in chemistry in particular, are trained at initial and continuing level in Bulgaria and I they use active learning and ICT for teaching chemistry.
In part 2 the paper describes how and in which universities’ units, teachers of chemistry are trained in Bulgaria.
In part 3 the paper briefly describes some research among chemistry teachers about their attitudes and disposition to issues as active learning and the need for different forms of teaching/learning.
The paper suggests to use active learning and ICT to teach chemistry.
The paper underlines the competences that teachers should develop to use ICT in order to enhance students' interest and learning for chemistry.

Date: 2013.05.07

Posted by Rose Lawlor (Ireland)

Message: This paper discusses the situation in Bulgaria with regards to teachers’ qualifications and training in ICT.
It very clearly states the problems existing at the moment, the situation from the teachers’ point of view and what suggesting what strategies are required to improve the use of innovative ICT tools in the science classroom.
The European Strategy 2010 for E-Learning defines three areas in relation to teacher competency:
1 Access to internet and multimedia sources for each student in the classroom
2 Identify the skills required by young people to improve their competence
3 Enhance the qualifications of teachers.
A survey in 2011 of the resources and competencies in using ICT as a teaching/learning method found the following:
1 Most European countries offer the use of ICT as a tool in schools. Bulgaria was recognised as one of the
few exceptions
2 The use of PCs multimedia, interactive white boards is fostered. Virtual education environment is provided
for teachers to improve their skills
3. The use of computers for educational purposes in the home is considerably rare. In Natural Science
classes computers are rarely used
4 The use of ICT in Life Long Learning is totally underused. It is mostly preferred by Maths teachers.
Primary teachers use it least
5 The electronic use of assessing students is underused mainly due to low ICT competence of a number of
Teachers
The following were proposed as tools to encourage teachers to improve their professional qualifications and competencies:
1 Regular assessment of their performance – external by inspectors – internal by other teachers or the
School principal
2 The use of different forms of cooperation among teachers – on-line platforms, forums, blogs and
social networks. This would make possible the exchange of professional experience, teaching materials,
good practices and so positively influence the professional development of teachers.
Teacher Training in Bulgaria
Under the Public Education Act the National Programme for Developing School Education and Pre-School Education and Training (2006-2015) was set up. The function of which is to plan educational strategies in compliance with the common European educational strategy.
The coordination of the actions related to the planning, organisation and conduction of education and improvement of teachers’ qualifications is carried out by the Qualification and Career Development Directorate at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science.
Training is carried out by universities.
The National Programme focuses on three areas
1 Regular updating of knowledge
2 Acquiring new teaching skills and mastering new teaching methods
3 Building confidence in relation to the use of ICT - which is a priority of the EU educational policy.

Opinions of teachers
The following opinions were given in a survey of teachers of maths, chemistry, biology and physics.
• The role of modern technologies in real-life school is underestimated
• Despite the wide promotion of the use active and interactive learning and teaching, they are not used in real-life school due to lack of training
• Most teachers felt their subject was conducive to the use of modern teaching methods but this did not happen because
• Unawareness of the possibilities of innovative practices
• Insufficient competence
• Insufficient provision of teaching aids and equipment
• The evaluation of teachers performance is not related to professional creativity and innovation.
Most teachers prefer organised groups in order to improve their qualifications.
Most motivated to apply new methods are the teachers teaching between 10 and 20 years
They are the most active participants in LLL programmes.
Due to the specific nature of chemistry it is very useful to apply ICT to its teaching for the following reasons:
 Visualisation of the teaching materials
 Mastering of the learning content
 Raising students’ interest in the subject.
A system of evaluating chemistry teachers’ competence in the use of ICT has been developed by the University of Sofia. This is been carried out in order to ascertain what type of training is required.
Competence in the following areas will be assessed
 A selection of electronic teaching content
 Integration of ICT in the traditional teaching environment
 Skills in working with interactive materials.
This information will be useful if successfully applied to the training of future chemistry teachers.


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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