DiCE.Lang – Digital Citizenship Education and Foreign Language Learning

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Teacher training package

A further central element for implementing DCE in FLE is the adequate training and preparation for teachers, whose role in doing so is defined as crucial in the European “Digital Citizenship Education Handbook”. Therefore, this project will develop, pilot, evaluate and implement a full teacher training package that can be used in, and adapted to, varying local educational pre- and in-service teacher training contexts and capacities.

To ensure the usefulness of this training package developed within this project, we seek to couple each training opportunity with a certification that teachers can add to their professional biography.

What are the elements of the teacher training package?

The first element of this package is the conceptualization and implementation of one-off teacher training events, mirroring how in-service teachers often participate in training opportunities. This training event will entail the following elements:

  • a thorough introduction into DCE
  • an explanation of possible teaching units and best-practice educational resources
  • an overview of the handbook as well as the policy framework (also developed for this project) for bringing DCE into FLE

This event will be piloted, evaluated and adapted several times to achieve its best possible conceptualization.

In effect, this training opportunity can then be implemented across Europe where local teacher trainers can use it to work with the teachers for whom they are responsible. Accordingly, this one-off training event will come with an opportunity for teacher trainers to reflect on possible ways of local implementation.

The second element of the training package is directed at teachers’ self-guided professional development in both pre- and in-service stages. For this purpose, we will develop, test and launch a free online course that teachers can take to qualify themselves for teaching DCE in their foreign language classrooms. Similar to the one-off event described above, the online course will introduce teachers to the concept of DCE, available educational resources, the policy framework and possibilities of how to adapt this in view of local curricular requirements. Furthermore, teachers conclude the free online training course with designing a teaching unit suitable for their own context.

In addition, we will publish a teacher handbook that shows possibilities of realizing DCE in FLE settings. The handbook will be disseminated at all multiplier events in print, and digitally to a European audience of teacher training.

The third element addresses the need to educate future teachers already in their pre-service stage at university and to equip them with the toolkit they need for their professional lives at schools with a DCE-related qualification. To achieve this, the project will develop a teacher education module available for curricular integration at university level. This cohesive module will entail a set of theoretical courses and practical training units which can be adjusted to national credit point systems. These courses and units will be described in terms of concrete syllabi, exams and certification modes. This way, university educators can utilize the complete module description to prepare future teachers for DCE in FLE at their universities.

While all these elements will come in English, we will produce a brief multilingual guide introducing and explaining the complete training package.

What will be the outreach of the teacher training package?

For the complete teacher training package, the outreach is not limited to the participating project countries. Since they are designed in a context-sensitive way, they can be adjusted to, and applied in, diverse educational contexts where pre- and in-service teachers as well as teacher trainers strive for professional development and qualification.

In view of emerging supranational and national guidelines for DCE, there is a clear need to work on teacher education, too – without this, the implementation of DCE in FLE and the facilitation of learners’ DCE competences will remain increasingly difficult. Therefore, teachers need to develop in all aspects related to DCE in FLE and their own digital competences (e.g. to initiate digital communication and collaboration in classrooms).

The innovation of this project lies in its capacity to develop scalable and accessible teacher training opportunities for DCE in FLE, coupled with the certification modes necessary to initiate teachers’ life-long learning and professional development.

Two surveys carried out prior to this project (i.e. a 2016 national survey in Ireland of student and teacher digital needs and competences, and a 2019 local survey with 200 student teachers at the LMU in Germany, Munich) underline the urgent need for landscaping current digital needs and competences, also for DCE, within teacher education. While the surveys indicate the general openness of teachers to embrace DCE in particular and digital education at large, they also mark gaps and deficiencies in their qualification. Our teacher training interventions will close these gaps.