Original language: German
For three years the GRETA Project team worked on developing a cross-provider recognition process for the competences of teachers in adult and continuing education. With stakeholders from both the academic and practice-oriented sides, an event was held in Bonn on 6 October to mark the conclusion of the first, three-year-long GRETA Project phase. Together with the other associations involved, the project team presented the developed products, recommendations for the process and future perspectives. The main conclusion is as follows: The project team succeeded in creating usable and accepted principles for the development of a cross-provider recognition process for the competences of teachers in adult and continuing education.
Adult education qualifications are often lacking
The starting point is as unsatisfying as it is familiar: A large proportion of those working as teachers in adult and continuing education lack sufficient qualifications (though they may well be very competent!), but for various reasons an effective strategy for teacher professionalisation is not in sight. Against this backdrop, the GRETA Project, based on a broad alliance of umbrella and national associations from all adult and continuing education sectors and implemented at the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE), emphasised a moderate professionalisation development strategy. With broad consideration of common practice, a set of competences relevant for teaching and training in adult and continuing education were identified. Methods were developed for bringing these competences to light via a review process with portfolio.
Teachers, representatives of associations and institutions, as well as academic experts in adult and continuing education were among the participants in the closing event. The competence structure model, which visualises all relevant competence areas and aspects in the form of a wheel, met with particular approval. It was greeted enthusiastically by all project partners and formed the basis for all further considerations concerning the validation of competences in the project. One participant said the following: “This competence wheel in particular gives teachers the chance (. . .) to get a sense of the understanding of competences, while for institutions it provides a model for the comparison of our quality assurance systems.”
Now test tools in practice.
Concerning further work on the matter, the participating provider partners were united in their view, expressed during the concluding podium discussion, that they approve of and would like to see further testing of the tools. “Up to now, I do not believe there has been anything done in this form and this extensively (...). Something has been achieved together which, irrespective of competition or differences, we can all stand behind,” one provider representative said about the project results. As proud as the project participants can be of the competence validation tools that were created from across the breadth of the sector, long-term future plans still have to be approached with caution. First of all, the project participants are united in their desire to see a development-oriented validation practice tested on a pilot basis.
This would mean that teachers, if they so desire, would allow their own competences to be documented and evaluated, while institutions, on the basis of their assessment of applicants’ competences, would be able to organise their recruitment methods in a more professional way. For some participants this scenario did not go far enough. For others, meanwhile, it was already a step too far. They fear that the process will entail additional burdens for institutions. In light of this, the provider group has been asked to illustrate ways of dealing with the tools developed by GRETA in practice. To achieve this, the project partners have one more year, which has just been granted as an extension by the funding organisation the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Over the course of this year the GRETA tools can also be further developed and made known in the adult and continuing education sector.
The research and development programme, financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), has the goal of creating “foundations for the development of a cross-provider recognition process for the competences of teachers in adult and continuing education.” As the basis for this recognition, a unified, cross-provider competence model for teachers in adult and further education was developed. The success and use of such a model is highly dependent on its acceptance by the target group. Therefore, while the model was being developed, emphasis was placed on a continual feedback process between the academic and practice-oriented sides.
The following eight provider and professional associations in the adult and continuing education sector were actively involved in the project: Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten e. V. (AdB) (German Educational Institutes Working Group), Bundesarbeitskreis Arbeit und Leben (AuL) (Federal Working Group Work and Life), Bundesverband der Träger beruflicher Bildung e. V. (BBB) (Federal Association of Vocational Training Providers), Deutsche Evangelische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Erwachsenenbildung (DEAE) (German Protestant Working Group for Adult Education), Deutsche Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Weiterbildung und Fernstudium e. V. (DGWF) (German Association for University Continuing and Distance Education) , Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e. V. (DVV) (German Adult Education Centre Association) , Dachverband der Weiterbildungsorganisationen e. V. (DVWO) (Umbrella Association of Continuing Training Organisations), Verband Deutscher Privatschulverbände e. V. (VDP) (Confederation of German Private School Associations)