Focus Group Scoala Gimnaziala Comuna Sacalaz, Romania
Date and venue: 24.02.2022, BEREGSAU MARE
Name and role of participants:
1. BRANESCU ARGENTINA LAURA – Biology teacher, with a great teaching experience, coming in contact in her everyday teaching with all the students from lower secondary level, is very much involved in fighting against early school leaving and her experience is extremely useful for the project’s objectives
2. NITU LIVIA-IOANA – kindergarten teacher, being able to identify from an early age the delicate situation that may arise later in school life and also developing a strong connection with parents
3. PETENCHIA CRISTINA – primary school teacher, with a very deep knowledge of the students’ life and families as she lives in the village and very often parents asking her for help outside the school
4. SABAU MARIA CRISTINA – primary school teacher, dedicated to children and their wellbeing, having a wonderful relationship with their families having a great experience with the community
5. COZARI STRATENIA – primary school teacher with many years of experience, but interested in learning new things and preoccupied for self-development
6. NEDICI IADRANCA – experienced primary school teacher, bringing the years of expertise to the focus group
7. ANGHEL COSMIN – Physical Education teacher, at the beginning of his career, very preoccupied for self-development, but also very curious about the topic of the focus group as he is very interested in inclusion
8. ANDRASONI MARIA TEODORA – History teacher, at the beginning of her career, in the 3rd year of teaching, very up-to-date with modern techniques and loved by students, willing to learn new things that can help her grow professionally
The focus group took place on the 24th of February 2022. It was a face-to-face meeting. The participants met at Scoala Gimnaziala Beregsau Mare, a structure of Scoala Gimnaziala Sacalaz. The workshop lasted two and half hours and there were 8 participants, teachers from the school.
OANA IULIA ANDREA organized the workshop following the Focus group guide offered by the coordinating institution:
14.00-14.10 – Welcoming the participants – 10’
14.10-14.20 – Presentation of All in School Project (rationale, aims, duration, outputs) – 10’
14.20-14.35 – Presentation of Syllabus and Inventory – 15’
14.35-15.45 – Debate among participants – 1h10’
15.45-16.15 – Issuing answers for the questions – 30’
16.15-16.30 – Conclusions – 15’
Supporting material used:
- Focus group guide
- Inventory (online and on paper)
The whole team of the Erasmus+ project took part at the focus group. Iulia Oana, member in the project group, prepared the presentation of the All in School Project.
The first part was presented by Adina Fluersa, talking about the project aims, duration, as well as outputs, outlining the two intellectual products: Syllabus and Inventory.
In the next part, Iulia Oana presented the Syllabus with its two main domains and the four areas (A1, A2, B1, B2) with the 12 competences. The participants had a copy in front of them, so that they could see the competence, descriptors and items. Issues were clarified. Further, the Inventory was discussed, explaining how feedback and profiles are structured, explaining terms of level, profile and feedback.
The participants got copies of the Syllabus and the Inventory and the list of questions and after debating, the following conclusions were drawn:
- How useful do you think a tool is for self-assessment of inclusive competences?
Such a tool would be useful as it puts you in touch with aspects of inclusion you haven’t thought about. It enlarges the horizon and the expertise. You can evaluate and improve your behaviour in relation to three directions: yourself, the learners and the community. The self-assessment tool make you think about yourself, first, analysing your own attitude towards inclusion, then you thing about your learners and how they can be valued and thirdly you extend between peers and community, involving external actors in the inclusion process, making school a large family with the same objective: learner’s wellbeing. After such a broad vision, you become more sensitive to the subject and you can interiorize the new knowledge.
- Do you think that all the inclusive competences are represented in the Inventory?
The general conclusion was affirmative. It is a complex instrument with a large range, where you can find your own place. Each and every one can identify his/her own competences, as well as others to be developed. It refers both to awareness and promotion. You become aware of your own level, both personally (A1) and professionally (A2) and then you promote inclusive values among the learners (B1) and in community (B2). Thus, it contributes to the development of the level of inclusivity going from small to big: personal → institutional → in the community
- What are the strengths of Inventory?
First of all, it is an international instrument, which offers standardization when measuring such a subjective topic.
The items are clear, easy to understand and the competences are logically developed into items.
The Inventory develops auto-analysis and communicative skills, both personally and for the students.
From acquiring the competences of the Inventory learners will benefit, too, in the first place. Besides creating a climate appropriate for inclusion, they will learn these values and attitudes following the example they have in front of them.
It will be helpful for the community, raising awareness
- What are the weaknesses?
As for all questionnaires or self-assessment tools, the problem could be subjectivity, how one sees themselves in relation to the competences and items.
- How would you use the Inventory and how would you value it?
The first step would be to be presented at the beginning of the school year at the first teachers’ meeting. The teachers would be challenged to analyse it and identify one competence they possess and one they do not have and try to acquire the one they don’t have. The target would be to meet at the end of the year and analyse the outcomes.
Create support groups, where people who feel confident can help with their expertise, using the competences from the Inventory and coming with real-life situation and solutions
It is a learning instrument, as well as a good one for debates. School consortiums can be created, where teachers from two or more schools can meet and identify what they are good at and what and how they can improve
- What would you change or improve?
It is such a complex instrument, that it is good just as it is, without any changes or improvements. It is useful and can help students, teachers, school and community to improve, to have a set of values that promote non-discrimination and inclusion.
After analysing the Inventory and the Profiles and Feedback, the general conclusion was that it comes exactly in time to answer a need in school. The classes have become more and more diverse, students come from different backgrounds and the world is more diverse that ever. Our job is to celebrate diversity and use it as an asset in our classes, something we can learn from.