Supporting Key Competence Development: Learning approaches and environments in school education
Tuesday, 12 November, 2019 - 09:00 to 13 Nov 2019 - Hôtel Le Plaza, Boulevard Adolphe Max, Brussels

This conference will discuss different learning approaches and environments in school education that support key competences development. Developing key competences for all is at the heart of the European Education Area which is a space where everyone should receive the best education, training and lifelong learning. In today's world, young people need a broad set of skills and competences to find fulfilling jobs and become independent, engaged citizens. This means the basic skills of reading, writing, maths and science but also digital skills, languages, entrepreneurship, citizenship, intercultural skills, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.

The Council of the European Union adopted the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning on 22 May 2018.  The Recommendation sets out eight key competences that we all need for personal fulfilment and development, employability, active citizenship and social inclusion:

  • Literacy competence;
  • Multilingual competence;
  • Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology and engineering;
  • Digital competence;
  • Personal, social and learning to learn competence;
  • Citizenship competence;
  • Entrepreneurship competence;
  • Cultural awareness and expression competence.

Key competences are best developed in systems, which promote and use a variety of learning approaches and environments, support their teachers and assess and validate key competences.

Participants of the  conference will discuss different learning approaches and environments in school education that support the development of these competences. Such learning approaches and environments are for example project- based learning, cross-discipline learning or learning in collaboration with external stakeholders.  

The conference will bring together policy-makers and other stakeholders involved in and responsible for implementing school education policies and reforms. Participants will discuss and identify systemic conditions and define policy guidelines for introducing and developing competence based teaching and learning in schools across Europe.

Workshops descriptions

Inclusion and high quality education and training are underlying concepts of the six workshops.

Whole School Approach to learning – Schools working with external organizations

This workshop will look at how a Whole School Approach can create learning environments and contexts that foster competence development for all learners, valuing diversity amongst pupils, and taking into account disadvantaged pupils. Participants will discuss collaboration with outside partners and stakeholders such as business, arts, sport and youth community, higher education or research institutes. The focus of the workshop will be on how such broad partnerships and networks can be built through a long-term strategy based on trust and common objectives and how they contribute to key competence development.

Whole School Approach to learning - Cross-discipline learning

The development of key competences is often facilitated by the provision of context from other disciplines. For example, teaching science in the context of the arts, humanities and social sciences is recognised as an important learning aid. This is known as STE(A)M approach to STEM education. Similarly, the infusion of science and maths into the learning of non-STEM disciplines could strengthen key-competence development in those disciplines. Another example is Content and language integrated learning (CLIL). The workshop will address the development of key competences in general through cross-disciplines learning. Participants will discuss innovative initiatives that have the potential to increase achievements in Key Competences, barriers for their implementations and ways to further up-scale them in different contexts. Cooperation amongst teachers is one of the key features of the Whole School Approach, which aims at creating inclusive learning environments that foster competence development for all learners.

Supporting key competences through formative feedback and student reflection

This workshop will address development of key competences from the perspective of an individual learner and will link it to formative assessment. Participants will discuss processes of understanding and identifying learners’ competence development needs, setting learning targets, understanding one’s own progression as a learner and identifying future learning needs. The workshop will present a concrete example from Ireland where a toolkit has been developed for schools to support the professional learning of teachers around formative assessment and feedback and on students reflecting on their learning. The toolkit has also been used to build understanding among key stakeholders: school leaders, inspectors, teacher educators and examiners about this important learning approach.

Digital technologies supporting competence development

The increased use of digital technologies in education can enrich the learning experience and help students to learn how to use technology in creative, collaborative and proactive ways. Digital technologies can support innovative teaching and learning practices and provide new ways for teachers and students alike to collaborate, create, be informed, and share new knowledge. Seamless integration of technologies require significant educational innovation and implies a process of planning for pedagogical, technological and organisational change. The workshop will explore how digital technologies can support and facilitate competence development. It will focus on approaches that facilitate the innovative use of digital technologies to foster a wide set of competences as for instance Future Classroom Labs and Makerspaces.

Learning spaces: thinking out of the box

Outdoor learning and risky play, media centres, restructured libraries, science labs, flexible classrooms, inclusive playgrounds... It is increasingly recognised that learning can take place in many ways and places and that the acquisition of key competences can be enhanced by offering all children learning spaces which are more respectful of their active nature and offer greater well-being.

When creating new schools or renovating old ones, or simply when thinking about the organisation of a classroom and which pedagogies to use, thinking out of the box is the key to success. To inspire this thinking, this workshop will look at different examples and research findings which show the need to re-think schools' infrastructure to facilitate learning and well-being at school. It will look at how ministries and architects can inspire local policy-makers and school staff to imagine the schools of tomorrow. Finally, the workshop will seek to identify the key enablers to facilitate the development of such infrastructures, and will discuss in particular how policy-makers and head teachers can facilitate this process.

Language-aware schools - how languages shape learning

The workshop will discuss the concept of language awareness and its role in learning and competence development. The teaching of language is an important element across all subjects looking at the various ways language is used in the classroom and the vital role language plays in learning and understanding subject content. Acquiring a good command of academic language goes hand in hand with the development of subject knowledge and understanding.

Language awareness comprises the understanding that language learning is a dynamic process and a continuum — the acquisition of the first language and its different registers and styles continues and is deeply interlinked with the learning of other languages, in different levels of proficiency, corresponding to every learner's circumstances, needs and interests.

Language awareness is key to ensuring that every student reaches an excellent level of command of the language(s) of schooling, and ultimately has a good basis for further learning. The workshop will provide examples of successful approaches in this area, and make the link between different ways of expression. It will discuss the following questions: "What is language awareness and what is the relations between language and learning?" and "Why is it so important, for competence development, to have a language dimension across all subjects?"

Draft programme

Day 1 - 12/11/2019

09:0009:30
Arrival and registration
09:3009:45
Opening speech - European Commission

Themis Christophidou, Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

09:4510:45
Competence based teaching and learning in today’s world - why, what and how?
  • Alexandre Pachulski, Talentsoft: Talents of tomorrow;
  • Dr Tiina Silander, Director, Department for Higher Education and Science Policy and General Upper Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education, Finland.
10:4511:00
Project examples

Quick and dynamic presentations of exhibition projects.

11:0011:30
Coffee break
11:3012:45
Panel discussion: National educational reforms supporting key competences development in school education in Europe
  • Dr. Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector, Department of Education and Skills, Ireland;
  • Lidija Kralj, Assistant Minister, Croatia;
  • Margit Timakov (TBC), Head of Estonian Teacher Association, Estonia;
  • Kris van den Branden, KU Leuven, Belgium;
  • Natalia Marcuello Genzor, Head teacher, Granada, Spain.
12:4513:00
Project examples

Quick and dynamic presentations of exhibition projects.

13:0014:00
Lunch break and projects exhibition
14:0015:30
Parallel workshops Part I – state of play
  • Whole School Approach to Learning – Schools cooperating with external organizations;
  • Whole School Approach to Learning  - Cross-discipline learning;
  • Supporting key competences through formative feedback and student reflection;
  • Digital technologies supporting key competence development;
  • Learning spaces: thinking out of the box;
  • Language aware schools: how languages shape learning.
15:3016:00
Coffee break
16:0017:30
Parallel workshops Part II– formulating policy recommendations
  • Whole School Approach to Learning – Schools cooperating with external organizations;
  • Whole School Approach to Learning  - Cross-discipline learning;
  • Supporting key competences through formative feedback and student reflection;
  • Digital technologies supporting key competence development;
  • Learning spaces: thinking out of the box;
  • Language aware schools: how languages shape learning.
17:3019:00
Walking dinner and cocktail in the project exhibition area
19:0020:00
The Story: Cultural heritage cinema room of the Le Plaza hotel

(optional activity)

Day 2 - 13/11/2019

09:0009:15
Video message by Kenyan science teacher Peter Tabichi, winner of 2019 Global Teacher Prize
09:1509:45
Keynote speech

Cesar Bona, teacher and author, finalist of the Global Teacher Prize 2014, Spain.

09:4510:15
Taking the work forward

Capturing workshop outcomes and next steps.

10:1510:45
Coffee break
10:4512:30
'Pro-action café': Action planning and validation of policy recommendations

Participants interact and discuss future initiatives or ideas for reform and get peer advice/questions for future initiatives.

12:3013:00
Conclusions and closing

Speakers

Cesar Bona
Teacher and author, finalist of the Global Teacher Prize 2014, Spain.
Alexandre Pachulski
Talentsoft, France
Tiina Silander
Director, Department for Higher Education and Science Policy and General Upper Secondary Education of the Ministry of Education, Finland.
Harold Hislop
Chief Inspector, Department of Education and Skills, Ireland.
Lidija Kralj
Assistant Minister (Director General), Ministry of Science and Education, Croatia.
Christos Papadopoulos
Primary School Inspector and Coordinator in the Information and Communication Technologies, Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture.
Kris Van den Branden
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Margit Timakov
Head of Estonian Teacher Association, Estonia.
Jenni Alisaari
Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku, Finland.
Nell Foster
University of Ghent, Belgium.
Sarah Breslin
Executive Director of the European Centre for Modern Languages, Austria.
Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter
Queen Maud University College, Norway.
Alessandro Bortolotti
University of Bologna, Italy.
Christophe Caron
Ministry of education, France.
Julie Velissaratou
Consultant to the OECD on Effective Learning Environments.
Susanne Hofmann
Die Baupiloten BDA, Germany.
C. P. Constantinou
Professor in Science Education and Director of the Learning in Science Group at the University of Cyprus.
Lasse Remme
EUN Lead Ambassador at Future Classroom Lab in Campus Carlsberg, Copenhagen Denmark.
Lise Dissing Møller
Future Classroom Teacher - Future Classroom Lab in Campus Carlsberg, Copenhagen Denmark.
Karien Vermeulen
Head of Programme of Waag Society’s LEARN lab, Amsterdam.
Ben Murray
Post-Primary Director with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), Dublin, Ireland.
Annette Honan
Education Officer, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Ireland.
Teresa Sordé Martí
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.
María Vieites Casado
Teacher and Educational Psychologist.
David Landspersky
Jurta Nature Kindergarten, Czech Republic.
Maria João Horta
Deputy Director of the Directorate-General for Education of the Portuguese Ministry of Education.
Natalia P. Marcuello Genzor
Head teacher, Granada, Spain.