This presentation will report on the key outcomes of a collaborative UNESCO supported project as part of the Open Education for a better world programme in the area of modern foreign language teacher professional development in the Uzbek State University of World Languages in Uzbekistan in collaboration with two volunteer mentors, one from the United States and one from the United Kingdom and illustrate collaborative practices across continents.
The project team focused on reviewing two current professional development courses that were related to the use of digital technologies and prepare modern foreign language teachers together with a series of other courses for the re-accreditation examination of modern foreign language practitioners teaching in Uzbekistan. This is done centrally every three years and co-ordinated by a specific higher education institution and particularly the Uzbek State University of World Languages in Uzbekistan.
Upon finalising the review, the mentoring team invited members of staff working in the professional development center at the University in Uzbekistan to consider a proposal that focuses on pedagogical, curriculum and technological considerations to open-up provision at macro, meso and micro level (Stracke, 2017) to resolve some of the current challenges, such as higher than desired failure rate of the current online version of the professional development programme that leads to re-accreditation of modern foreign language teachers and low speaking skills among modern foreign language teachers.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This collaborative project is based on a proposal that was developed by the two mentors of the UNESCO supported project “Professional Development through Collaborative Learning and Open Education Practices for Language Education”. The project was supported from January to June 2018 based on a collaboration between universities in Uzbekistan, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The aim of the project was to gain insights into the current provision for the re-accreditation of modern foreign language teachers in Uzbekistan at the Uzbek State University of World Languages, evaluate this based on related documentation and interviews with two members of staff teaching on the specific courses of the programme that were reviewed and related to the use of digital technologies in foreign language learning. Based on the evaluation the UNESCO mentors developed a proposal that would lead towards informed openness particularly between administration, educators, and practitioners based on an informed rationale. The proposal has a pedagogical, curriculum and technological dimension and is underpinned by relevant recent empirical research (Nerantzi, 2017).
The presenters will share the proposed pedagogical approach included in their proposal enabled by open and digital practices and also focus on the collaboration and how the project team worked together across three different countries, continents and cultures and what they have learnt from this process when collaborating in these settings using synchronous and asynchronous communication and collaboration tools in cross-cultural settings, what challenges they were confronted with and how these were overcome. This contribution will be useful for colleagues who are interested in this type of collaboration across countries and continents but also those with an interest in opening up and connecting professional development provision to create authentic learning experiences for staff and students that have the potential to maximise learning and development. The presenters will also share preliminary plans for the next phases of the project and the recent agreements of support between the U.S. A. and Uzbekistan for English language program and internationalization of Uzbek universities.
Nerantzi, C. (2017) Towards a framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning for cross-institutional academic development. PhD thesis, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Napier University. Available at https://www.napier.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/research-search/outputs/towards-a-framework-for-cross-boundary-collaborative-open-learning-for
Stracke, C. M. (2017) Open Education and Learning Quality: The Need for Changing Strategies and Learning Experiences. In Proceedings of 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) (pp. 1044-1048). IEEE Xplore. DOI: 10.1109/EDUCON.2017.7942977
Resources for participants
UNESCO project page http://unesco.ijs.si/project/profdevoer/