What goals do European and national documents of educational policy specify for higher education students? How can they be translated to everyday practice? What do the management of the institution, the students, the business and social partners expect from the teacher? How do colleagues see each other’s work and educational methods? What reference points and systems of criteria are there? How can you find a balance between a teacher-researcher’s life and social-economic engagement? Should you, can you be the best in all the points? How can you differentiate between teachers? What flexible, “teacher-centred” career paths are there? How can you evaluate and drive teachers’ performance? What relevant good practices are there at a national and European level?
These are the questions which the project titled PROFFORMANCE - Assessment tool and Incentive systems for Developing Higher Education Teachers’ Performance set out to answer. The international consortium was established under the leadership of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Tempus Public Foundation, consisting of 5 full partners (Austrian, Czech, Croatian ministries, Serbian National Office, Georgian Centre for Educational Development) and 4 affiliated partners (Academic Cooperation Association, European Students’ Union, Centre for Digital Welfare, University of Aveiro), with the involvement of about 30 international experts.
The project focused on studying the role of the 21st century teacher and developing their competencies, not knowing yet that during the implementation of the project even more attention will be directed at how the management, and especially the teaching staff of the university would respond to the changes and new challenges. The imperative circumstances of the year 2020 have accelerated a number of processes which have, to various extents, already begun within the institutions, but, due to a potential lack of concept, motivation or resources, couldn’t proceed at the right pace, in a structured and planned manner.
While transitioning to remote teaching, due to the cooperation between the management and the teachers and their quick adaptation to the change, most of the institutions
- have successfully assured the need for an increased capacity of the IT system,
- have developed a framework and a set of rules, required by the new situation, for teaching, and presenting as well as assessing the learning outcome,
- have organised teachers’ targeted educational methodology support, and developed online training materials for the continued training of teachers,
- have persuaded teachers to use the online teaching platforms, digital learning support software and innovative teaching methods who formerly rejected them and did not believe they could ever use them,
- paid increased and targeted attention to the learning support, extracurricular mentoring and psychological support provided to students.
Due to the extraordinary situation,
- online lectures and seminars became available for large numbers of students from various countries at the same time,
- the challenges caused by the situation gave rise to many creative solutions and methodologies, as well as collaborations and common thinking processes, which may also prove useful in the future,
- it became clear that remote teaching creates opportunities and brings inequalities to the surface, which the institution can therefore remedy (e.g. by ensuring digital tools for those at a disadvantage).
This challenging period may have even had an important effect on institutions and organisational units which were less able to adapt to the new situation, since in many cases, identifying obstacles and deficiencies is the first step towards a positive change.
The PROFFORMANCE project seeks to support these processes by defining teachers’ role(s) and developing their competencies. The goal of the partnership is to develop a complex and and comprehensive framework and assessment tool that reflects current challenges, to provide guidance for institutions and teachers concerning various roles and duties.
The partners of different profiles, different competences and different geographic locations across Europe, as well as the experts having a lot of research and project outcomes, professional practice and teaching experience, allow various aspects and approaches to be reflected in the results, and thus the tools developed to be used widely.
The project started on 1 June 2020 and will, after a two-year term, end on 31 May 2022. The effects of the extraordinary situation also affect the way the project is implemented. The implementation of the partner and expert meetings, the collaborations, the schedules and the methods used will all need to be reconsidered (e.g. the planned several-day-long meetings will be replaced by a number of shorter sessions, the simultaneous group discussions of the sections will be replaced by asynchronous online collaboration, and instead of the concentrated workshop days, longer collaborations will allow a more profound, deeper consideration of each topic.
For the goals, activities and professional materials of the project, as well as the reports on the outcomes and a list of partners and experts, please visit www.profformance.eu.
Tempus Public Foundation
Last modified: 04-03-2021