Comenius 2.1 Project 2004-2007 DTMp: Differentiated Teaching Module - Primary: Preparing trainee teachers to respond to pupil diversity

Comenius 2.1 projects are intended for European cooperation projects for the training of school education staff.

The University of Malta, through the coordination of Dr Paul A. Bartolo, has successfully proposed a 3 year project on the production of a DTMp : Differentiated Teaching Module (Primary) for preparing trainee teachers to respond to pupil diversity.

The project aims to produce a multicultural, multimedia, internet-based teacher-training module to enable trainee teachers to respond to the diversity of pupil needs in primary education. This module will be a tool for all teacher trainers and trainees for primary education.

Wide transnational partnership

The project was conceived during a Research and Development meeting among a group of researchers interested in inclusive education from Greece, Sweden, Lithuania, USA and Malta during the Annual European Conference of the Association for Teacher Education in Europe. The meeting was chaired by Dr Paul A. Bartolo.  The group identified as a big challenge to current teachers the need to meet the needs of a diversity of pupils in todayís European classrooms.  It was suggested that these researchers could run a project to produce a training module to prepare teachers for responding to the diversity of student needs.  Dr Bartolo contacted other interested people for the project and coordinated a preparatory meeting held in Greece last year, attended by colleagues from six institutions across Europe, leading to the proposal for the present project which was eventually also joined by three other partners. The partnership consists of the 9 partners, namely the Universities of Leipzig (Germany), Manchester (UK), Inholland (Netherlands), Seville (Spain), Dalarna (Sweden), Thessaly (Greece), Marijampole College (Lithuania), and the NGO Motivace - Zivotni Styl (Czech Republic).

Main activities:

The project will be run over 3 years at a cost of over 468,000 Euros, of which over 349,000 will be supplied by the European Commission.  These are contracted to the University of Malta which then distributes them among the partners according to each oneís contribution for the development of the project.

The project consists of both research and the production of training materials.  Thus in the first year, all partners will first carry out research to identify training and support resources required by teachers for responding to the diversity of pupil needs arising from different backgrounds, interests, abilities, learning styles, and impairments. Later in the year they will then develop a teacher-training package (Manual for Trainees and Manual for Trainers) for preparation, implementation and evaluation of lessons differentiated by content, process and product within an inclusive culture, and in 9 languages.
In the second year, this package will be implemented by participating partners with groups of trainee teachers in the 9 different countries. There will be concurrent evaluation leading to the production of DTM p module in the third year.

Two major winning aspects of the project were: (a) the fact that it is addressing an increasingly felt teacher training need across Europe for responding to the diversity of students in European classrooms; and (b) the fact that it is intended that the project will be supported by another European Project coordinated from Malta, the Avicenna Virtual Campus, through which it is intended that the module will be available for use as a web-based training module.

The project is also expected to enable a wider ongoing network of collaboration on the development of tools for promoting differentiated teaching and inclusive educational practices across Europe.

Dr Paul A. Bartolo Ph.D(Lond.)
Faculty of Education
Project Coordinator