In eTwinning, it is also possible for teacher students to learn essential future skills: project planning and guidance, international interaction, teamwork and an inclusive teaching approach. With these skills, they will be able to work in international teaching, education and research networks.
eTwinning is an online community and an online tool for internationalisation aimed at teachers and staff in early childhood education and care, basic education and upper secondary education. It also offers an international operating environment and a wide variety of tools that support learning to teacher students and the teachers supervising them. Teacher students can plan multidisciplinary international learning projects that they will then implement together with the pupils under the guidance of the teacher educator.
The University of Eastern Finland (UEF), where eTwinning is a functional part of the studies of teacher students, is an excellent example. In 2021, UEF, the university’s Tulliportti Teacher Training School and the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) planned and produced a series of videos explaining how eTwinning can be used in teacher education.
eTwinning in teacher education
“At UEF, teacher students have the opportunity to learn about eTwinning during both the teacher training modules in the university department and the supervised teaching practice periods,” says Professor Ritva Kantelinen from UEF. “First, we learn about it, familiarise ourselves with it and practise developing ideas. Then we go on to the teaching practice period and carry out actual projects in the eTwinning network.”
The supervising teachers and the eTwinning ambassadors support the teacher students in the use of eTwinning during the teaching practice. This way, the future teachers will be able to safely practise working in a multinational classroom. The teacher trainees at UEF have themselves been able to plan how to integrate eTwinning project work into their lessons. International cooperation and joint multidisciplinary learning projects are suitable not only for languages but also for other school subjects. In particular, they develop transversal competence: ICT skills, interaction skills, intercultural understanding and cooperation skills.
Safe, versatile and easy to use
“It sure is great to be able to have pupils attend your class who are actually located thousands of kilometres away at the same time,” says a teacher student on the video. “And most importantly, that it is so easy to organise,” he continues.
Working with eTwinning has been found meaningful as pupils get an opportunity to work together with their peers in an authentic learning environment, in a foreign language and using technology.
In the future, teacherhood and learning will be international
According to the teacher students on the video, it is great to be able to familiarise themselves with an international project from the teacher’s point of view and see how keen and motivated the children are. The students find eTwinning an excellent tool for future teachers.
“eTwinning as an environment offered good examples and ways to develop myself as a teacher. Especially in the case of a future teacher like myself,” summarises teacher student Viljami Viskari.
eTwinning provides teacher education and the teaching practice with a tool that enables the students to practise with guidance the skills they will need as future teachers. Future teacherhood requires flexible cultural and linguistic competence in diverse environments and situations. eTwinning provides a network of teachers and teacher students, in which it is possible to constantly develop one’s competence, share concerns and thoughts, and receive support and ideas for building one’s role as a teacher.
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