On November 9 and 10 2022, a big international conference, ULCA: Pathway to Excellent Schools, Knowledge-sharing & Networking in Education, was held at the Faculty of Education, Catholic University in Ružomberok. This conference is a key event organized by a team of project partners under the leadership of the team from the Faculty of Education, Catholic University in Ružomberok as part of the KA203 Erasmus+ project “Upgrade with Learner-centred Approach” (project no. 2020-1-SK01-KA203-078306). The event brings together teachers, managers and students and aims to present the project’s findings in the field of Learner-centred Approach. The Learner-centered Approach is a game-changer in classrooms: it empowers students to take responsibility for what they learn. They focus on how to use new knowledge to solve a problem or create added value. Instead of simply imparting information, the teacher assigns the students a task and guides the class in creating solutions. Students “discover” new information and come up with solutions instead of passively waiting for the teacher’s answers.

We started the final stage of the project with the Ružomberok conference. Teachers from abroad led workshops and showed how it is in their classroom. They were watched by teachers from all over Slovakia and various countries around the world, and they can put their new experiences into practice after completing other courses.

“We have already completed a meeting in North Macedonia, where we had the training of trainers who will continue to pass on experience and spread the idea of ULCA schools. It’s about changing the mindset, and that’s very difficult,” said Markéta Rusnáková, project cooridnator.

The conference was attended by over a hundred participants from many countries around the world (Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Philippines, Nigeria, Indonesia, etc.). Almost all participants from the project organizations spoke at the conference, where they presented their experiences and newly acquired knowledge from the project to their colleagues in the plenary.

For example, Mateja Todorovski presented GPS – Guidlines for Primary Schools. The name is a play of words. Specifically, GPS stands for Guidelines for Primary School in a Learner-centered Approach. The main purpose of the document is to support future teachers and teachers in practice in their professional development and personal growth. In addition, the goal is to support schools and organizations in developing a school-wide Learner-centered Approach. At the conference, teachers from partner project schools also led workshops. Zuzana Fileková and Lenka Krasuľová brought the teachers back to the past and tried out what it would like to be a child again. Would you like to be a linguist or a mathematical genius? Nothing is impossible. With them as teachers, everyone can find their own way. As part of the workshop, they made a tasting of the finest teaching tastes in an effort to awaken the imagination and the need to realize oneself as a teacher in all present participants. Let the children’s feedback be our reward. After all, children are reflected in us.

From organizers‘ point of view, the conference fulfilled our goals and we look forward to cooperation with new schools that would like to become ULCA schools.

Author: Markéta Rusnáková, project coordinator



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