The ultimate goal of the BACULIT project – Basic Curriculum for Teachers' In-service Training in Content Area Literacy in Secondary Schools – is to improve reading skills across the board, in all school subjects, by ensuring that every teacher knows how to encourage reading skills. The project uses a multiplier approach, which means that teacher trainers will be trained first, before they teach others.
The two-year Comenius project, which runs until December 2012, is working on developing a basic curriculum for teaching reading skills applicable to every secondary content-area teacher in the EU. Based on six modules of six hours each, the curriculum will include teaching materials, collaborative tasks for improving classroom practice and on-line support. The project will develop a concept of "training the BACULIT trainers", ensuring high standards, and will be established as both an international trademark and an international association guaranteeing further dissemination and development of the project results.
The basic curriculum for teacher training has been translated into six languages and was implemented in six rather diverse European countries and educational contexts during the pilot teaching: in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. A thorough internal and external evaluation of these pilot courses will enable the revision and improvement of the curriculum in its final version. BACULIT will thus define the first overall European minimal standard for in-service teacher training in content-area the literacy content-area.
An urgent issue
Rather than improving, in some cases the level of reading literacy skills among school students across the EU is actually falling. In-service teacher training is about direct intervention at the school level and has proven to be a flexible way of addressing such issues.