No more reckless experimentation, time for more scientific insight: this is what Education Minister Ben Wittes (N-VA) said at the launch of the Learpoint Knowledge Centre. “The goal is not to tell teachers what to do,” says principal and educator Pedro de Broyquere.
Today I gave the starting nod to Leerpunt. Exactly what does that mean?
De Broyckery: “We have launched our website, including the first toolkit. This is a collection of thirty classroom and school practices in which we have examined how strong the scientific evidence is, how much effort and money they cost, and what side effects you should be aware of. You can “To see it as a kind of handout, just like with medicine. We’re not saying, ‘This always works.’ But if you do it, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot of educational impact.”
What topics can teachers contact you about? Does it focus on Dutch and mathematics, as is the case with most of Minister Wits’ initiatives?
“Also, but it is broader than that. We have taken existing themes from our British predecessor, the Education Endowment Foundation, and translated them into the Flemish context. Later we will also add themes ourselves. For example, now it is really about learning how to learn.”
According to Learpont, repeating grades results in an average delay in learning of three months. However, it is a commonly used practice in Flemish education. Should schools not be allowed to implement this?
“No. The leaflet says it may have a positive effect on some children, but it’s hard to say who will and who won’t. Science is certainly not meant to tell teachers and schools what to do. Many people in the field are doing work Really well, and as scholars we do not always know the context of the classroom. We can only provide information about what can work. The teacher or school must then decide for themselves what they will work on. In this way, Leerpunt ensures the requalification of educational professionals.
Can teachers also make their voices heard directly?
“Yes. We really want to be the bridge between theory and practice. That is why a group of scientists and a group of users have a say in the operation of the center. The last group also includes teachers. Scientists must justify all decisions scientifically, and users make sure that everything is appropriate and useful for education.” Flemish. In addition, teachers can also ask questions on our website.
Leerpunt should help in improving the quality of education. But shouldn’t there first be enough teachers to translate these ideas into practice?
“Of course it is important to have enough teachers in the classroom. But one of the strengths of our site is that it offers small interventions with a big impact. For example, some schools actually allow each student to create their own study plan with the teacher. This is important Fine, but by assessing them together after tests, you dramatically increase the learning effect, while it takes very little time or effort.
How can you motivate schools to actually act on your vision?
“The current toolkit is already practically applicable, and we will be releasing more concrete advice during 2024. In addition, we will be starting several projects that educational guidance services, teacher training courses and other educational organizations can get involved in. The intention is that they will go into schools.” And they encourage them to implement the visions. I hope that the whole school teams will eventually work together. Because the more people are on the same page, the better for the student.”
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