Our last event: Final Conference in Mytilene
On the 27th of May, our final conference with the title How to promote professional integration of international teachers and the cultural diversity in schools took place in Mytilene, Greece.
The conference was, in an excellent and highly professional manner, organised and moderated by Dr. Vana Chiou from the University of the Aegean in Mytilene, Lesvos. It started with a welcome speech by Dr. Thanasis Kizos, Head of the Department of Geography at the University of the Aegean, followed by an introduction by the entire ITTS project team. Here, the focus was laid on the situation of international teachers in the respective seven project countries.
A keynote speech was given by Maria Filipchuc, an international teacher from Ukraine, who has been struggling for about 20 years to re-enter her teaching profession in Greece. She described her difficult journey and the many obstacles she faced when trying to work as a teacher in Greece and how she dealt with all these challenges. Afterwards, a panel discussion was held with international teachers from the Albanian School in Mytilene, university lecturers and school administrators. The international teachers pointed out that they were not aware of the difficult recognition procedures, although it became clear that they are differences depending on the country where the degree was obtained. In general, all agreed with Maria Filipchuc that it takes a lot of time and money if it is possible at all. The latter in particular was once again emphasised by Dr. Timos Theofanellis, Head of the Regional Directorate of Secondary Education of Lesvos, that the professional re-entry into the Greek school system is extremely difficult for international teachers. At the end of this part, all participants had the opportunity to comment on the keynote and the panel discussion.
In the following, two workshop blocks with five to six workshops each were offered in succession, prepared and led by members of the partner countries. Thematically, the workshops either referred to direct results of the project or to ITTS-related topics, e.g. in a workshop by Dr. Renate Schüssler, the results of the quantitative study within the framework of the project were presented and discussed, while in a workshop by Katrijn D’Herdt and Nesrin Oruç Ertürk, the developed materials for international teachers could be tested and evaluated. In this way, all different target groups could be addressed in the workshops.
In summary, the conference was a great success: results were presented, materials were tested and an intense discussion and great exchange between different target groups took place.
If you want to read more about the final conference and the workshops, please refer to the documentation of the ITTS project, which will be published on the project website soon.
Practical results of ITTS: Materials for different target groups
Within the framework of the project, a variety of materials for different target groups were created. In addition to the scientific publication of the research results, a variety of materials for international teachers, for schools and for teacher training were developed in close cooperation with all project partners.
Materials for international teachers
At the core of the materials for international teachers, a toolkit was developed. This ITTS toolkit for international teachers shall accompany them in re-entering the teaching profession in a new country. The materials which are part of the toolkit can support the professional development. They enable reflection and orientation, they support language skills and should help to feel more welcome and prepared to work as a teacher in the new country.
Materials for schools
The ITTS project team developed a guide for mentors, principals and the school community to welcome new international teachers at school. The guide is available in English and German. It provides mentors and principals with advice and also contains a range of practical materials to enable reflection and exchange. This includes reflection sheets, hints for advice and support, checklists for a smooth welcome and guidance for intercultural school development. In addition, the materials can be also used for in-service teacher trainings on topics such as diversity and schools in a migration society.
Materials for teacher trainers
Teacher training students are the teachers of tomorrow. The more they are aware of intercultural sensitivity, the better they will be able to contribute to intercultural sensitivity in schools, today as interns and tomorrow as teachers. Through study-related stays abroad, they gain short-term experiences in system change. In the frame of the project, materials and exercises for teacher training were developed. These can be used with teacher training students to prepare, accompany and reflect on their study-related stays abroad and their understanding of diversity and intercultural approaches for schools in migration societies.
Get ready to read our Waxmann publication!
Last but not least, we would like to recommend our comprehensive Waxmann publication as an important result of our project. It will be available in both German and English, both as printed and also as an open access version.
As the title of the publication International Teachers for Tomorrow's School - Opportunities and challenges of the professional re-entry of international teachers in selected European countries already indicates, the main part of this publication consists of the country contributions of the project partners, which report on the current situation of international teachers in a total of seven countries.
In addition, another contribution presents and discusses the results of the quantitative study conducted within the framework of the ITTS-project with international teachers on the possibilities and obstacles of re-entering the profession in their new countries.
In a concluding framework contribution, an international comparison between the individual countries is drawn. Furthermore, the lessons learned and the recommendations from the project and the associated research are elaborated.
Consequently, the publication provides an optimal overview of the research conducted in ITTS and its results, and points out the necessary steps that need to be taken to improve and simplify the professional re-entry of international teachers in the future.