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Základní škola Litomyšl U Školek

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Základní škola Litomyšl U Školek
Our school is located in Litomysl, the east of Bohemia, the Czech Republic. We are a public primary school with 400 pupils, made up of 18 forms. The pupils start school at the age of 6 and finish it at the age of 15 or 16. We have focused on developing essential skills for a number of years before the Global Accelerator programme. We had displayed the posters about skills in each classroom as well as in the corridor to be seen by parents when they enter the school. The posters help teachers and pupils be aware of skills during the lessons, as well as at break times, so they can discuss and reflect on them.
Overall impact
At the start of the programme, we held several trainings for our teachers to introduce the Skills Builder approach and Universal Framework. The teachers gained basic information about the programme and some advice on using the framework to support teaching in the classroom. Resources from Schola Empirica were also introduced to the teachers, as they were in Czech and contextualised for our learners. Teachers and pupils were getting motivated as the activities offered were found simple to deliver, interesting for learners and useful in building essential skills. We decided to work with skills regularly every week in a special time – each class teacher with their class prior to the main lessons. As we focused on the methodology for the year, pupils are much more aware of what the skills are and how they use them day to day. Our teachers also feel much more confident teaching the skills.
Keep it simple
To introduce the skills, we put posters and displays in all classrooms, so everyone can see them - teachers and students. This makes it easier for pupils to recognise what skill is being practised and to reflect. The language of the skills was introduced to teachers, some of them use it to praise students for the progress they make. We also focused on developing the language with parents as they became more aware of the skills.
Start early, keep going
The principles started being implemented from first form (pupils of age 6) to ninth form (pupils of age 15/16). In our school, the pupils of first form and eighth form co-operate on a project during the first year. This year, we provided lots of activities where they could develop the essential skills together. It also gave the eighth form a chance to mentor on the skills.
Measure it
This year, we introduced the skills assessment and teachers were able to track and monitor progress of their class. In some classes, teachers assessed and recorded progress for individual students in the skills, giving us some really useful information. Next year, we are planning to use special Skills Builder notebooks for all pupils in which the teachers or pupils themselves will stick stickers to track and monitor the progress.
Focus tightly
After receiving the training from the Skills Builder team, we decided to allow teachers to take ownership of this principle and decide what would be best for their students. We decided to run weekly classes on Skills Builder - so students across the school were able to learn about the specific skills and steps. Also, the class teachers of younger pupils know each of them very well and teach them most of the subjects so they are able to differentiate teaching skills according to the needs of the individual students. The teachers of older pupils only teach one subject to different classes, so the focus was on embedding skills into their subject content. This is an area we would like to build further next year.
Keep practising
Teachers reinforced the skills within their subjects and in special sessions. We also ran projects that went across the whole school where pupils had the chance to focus on the skills. One of them for example, was on February 22nd, where the pupils took part in 22 different challenges in 222 minutes. The activities focused on teamwork, with students working in different groups throughout the challenges. The skills are also included in our School Parliament which consists of 2 members from each class and also in our afterschool clubs.
Bring it to life
We have begun referring to the skills as part of the activities that take place outside the school and have been thinking about ways to encourage parents to think about the skills. The posters with the skills icons are placed in the main corridor of the school, so parents and people who enter can see them and read them - to raise awareness with the students.
What's next
We would like to continue developing the skills, as they are very important for our pupils´ future. We would like to focus on taking the records of pupils´ skills development and make the essential skills a natural part of their learning and our teaching.
Czech Republic