Within the SOCRATES Programme the overall objective of COMENIUS is to enhance the quality and reinforce the European dimension of school education.
COMENIUS seeks to help those learning and teaching in schools to develop a sense of belonging to a broader and outward-looking European community - a community characterised by diverse traditions, cultures and regional identities, but rooted nevertheless in a common history of European development.
The CONSULTATION Project
This publication is one of the outcomes of the SOCRATES Comenius 2.1 project 106170-CP-1-2002-BE-COMENIUS-C21 Consultation: Raising teachers problem-solving capacity through support-by-cooperation. A contribution to the inclusion process in every school.
The CONSULTATION Project is a three-year (2002-2005) European Comenius 2.1 project, mainly developing an in-service education course open to all European teachers, head teachers, advisers, teacher trainers, and special educational needs support counsellors.
Basic Aims and Objectives
In each of the four collaborating member states different approaches of supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs in regular education have been developed recently, which could be of great professional interest for teachers and support staff in the field in Europe.
The CONSULTATION project started to find answers to the following questions:
· Why were innovative choices about consultation made in the four different countries?
· What works and what doesn't work properly?
· What will happen in the near future?
· What do teachers, parents and the support staff members feel about these innovations?
· Which conclusions can be drawn in terms of good practice for all actors throughout Europe?
The CONSULTATION project will offer serving teachers a programme of study through which they will acquire specific knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes. The programme is aimed at serving teachers throughout the European Union, and associated countries, who are interested in current innovations in practice and theory of special educational needs support for pupils with learning and behavioural difficulties in regular education.
This project is being developed over a three-year period of collaborative work conducted by a team of colleagues from Belgium, Germany, Norway and the U.K. (Scotland & England). The team has experience of different aspects of Special Educational Needs Support provision, from support services, schools, to higher education institutions, local authorities, and national advisory groups.
Three development meetings have taken place in year one of the project with a prime objective of identifying the key issues which currently need to be addressed by the project. Three development meetings in each of the succeeding two years of the project are also planned. Each of the planned meetings already has an identified objective and in the first year the project development team has researched the field and through subsequent discussion identified the key papers for publication in this reader. A greater number of papers than those found in the reader were identified and read by the project team as a whole and each paper was evaluated by the whole team together. A consensus was arrived at by the project team with regard to the content of the reader.
In the second year of the programme the project team will work with an expanded group of colleagues at the national level in the four participating countries and in addition will deliver an first international Pilot-Conference in Spa (Belgium). This work will involve the sharing of experiences by participants in each of the national groups and will result in the setting up of international working groups with identified tasks. The purpose of these activities is to develop and refine the intended international course which is the finite aim of the project.
In year three of the project there will be a second international conference which will be supported by the national working groups. By this stage it is intended that participants will have developed reflective journals and identified projects on SEN innovations which will be able to be developed and shared.
It is intended that small-scale action research projects will be encouraged and will be reported on at the second European Pilot-Conference.
During this intensive course programme of one week, lectures and video presentations will be given by experts from the four countries concerned (Belgium, Germany, Norway, Scotland and England).
Schools and Support services will be visited. During those visits there will be ample opportunity to discuss the issues mentioned with colleagues, notably in the area of learning and behavioural problems.
A final workshop will aim at conclusions for good practice, formulated by the lecturers together with the participants. These will be based on the presentations, lectures, visits and discussions.
At the end of the project period the course participants will be invited to take part in a Discussion group on the Internet with the aim of continuing the process of ongoing professionalisation, started during the week of the course.
This reader is part of the course development materials within the Comenius in-service education course.
It is not an in-depth theoretical work but a practical small-scale, professionally focused study of current key issues in Special Educational Needs Support as identified by the project development team.
The reader is divided into the key sections of the actual debate on support delivery: Basic concepts and theories, Motivation, Methods and Implementation aspects. The papers included in this reader have been compiled from a variety of sources and the authors represent a truly International perspective.
Participating teachers will be requested to study this Reader with relevant information before the start of the course. They will also be provided with an information pack on the internet concerning support concepts and -delivery currently existing in the four countries. Reflections executed by experts as well as a synopsis of ongoing scientific discussions will form part of the ICT information pack.
Furthermore each participant will be asked to describe her/his professional situation for the information of the other participants in view of the planned collaboration in international working groups Participants will be invited to compare and analyse the educational innovations discussed with those in their own country during international working group sessions.