European cooperation projects for the training of school education staff normally cover one of the following activities:
Projects which create, test, and deliver training courses for educational staff
By analysing the needs of teachers, pooling expertise and studying good practice in different European countries, a partnership could design a training course and create the necessary teacher training materials (accompanied, where appropriate, by materials for pupils). The resulting course would then be delivered over several years by the partner organisations, both during and after the end of the project supported by Comenius 2.
Projects which develop curricula for the initial training of teachers
Courses for student teachers should give due emphasis to the European dimension of teaching. Based on a sound understanding of good practice in Europe and taking into account the results of recent research, a number of teacher education institutions could work together in order to address this need. They should identify common needs among groups of trainees and adapt their existing curricula or develop new curricula for initial teacher training. These projects should implement the new curriculum (or the common elements of the curriculum) in as many as possible of the partner organisations for a number of years and disseminate it to a wider circle of institutions.
Projects which promote the mobility of student teachers
Where the many different ways of organising initial teacher training make it difficult for student teachers to benefit fully from mobility, projects of this kind could find new ways, within partnerships of training institutions, to structure the supervised mobility of student teachers. To this end, they could agree on the objectives and content of the training, and organise the exchanges. The training activities abroad should offer a significant added value to the students’ training. They should focus on practical work and observation (rather than theoretical studies) and might include teaching practice (including group teaching), job shadowing and observation of class practice in a school in the host country. The funding of the mobility of individual student teachers would be provided within the framework of Comeniusindividual training grants.
Projects which develop teaching strategies, methods and materials for specific learner groups
It is vital for schools to provide pupils with special educational needs, pupils at risk of social exclusion and the children of migrant workers, Gypsies, travellers and occupational travellers with high quality education, to ensure the interculturality of education and to contribute to combating racism and xenophobia. These challenges call for effective and innovative approaches from schools and teacher training institutions alike. Projects in this field could develop, test, validate and disseminate transferable organisational strategies, teaching practices and pedagogical materials for dealing with such issues.