Cooperative learning course
A few words about the Cooperative learning training course in Iceland.
On the very stormy night of January 25th, 20 vocational teachers landed in Keflavík airport, travelling from Scotland, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Their journey didn’t start well, as the storm prevented them from leaving their aircraft for some hours. But at last they got to Reykjavík and we managed to travel through the snowstorm late in the evening to Borgarnes where they course took place.
Most of the teachers did not know each other previously, not even the ones coming from the same country. We started early the next morning with the programme which was about cooperative learning in vocational education.
The programme was a mixture of theoretical input and practical hands on tasks, with more emphasis on the practical work.
The programme started with trying out some activities to work towards a trusting and supportive class atmosphere, the teachers learned skill builders for cooperative learning norms, simple cooperative learning structures and more complex methods and they also learned how to create their own tasks in their own vocational subjects.
We worked most days from 08.00 in the morning till 16.00 in the afternoon, except the two days when we went on excursions, then we took a break during the day but started again in the evening. It was not easy to start working again after fighting the storm to reach the top of the crater – but nobody complained but enthusiastically started the work again.
The teachers were absolutely fantastic during the training. Right from the beginning they worked cooperatively, putting all their energy and focus on the tasks.
During the week they created several very interesting cooperative learning tasks, using different structures and methods. Already on the first day people were starting to connect with each other, laughing and talking freely – just the way we want our students to feel during our lessons. So altogether a very successful and interesting VoCol experience.
Here some quotes from the evaluation sheets
“I have completed some training in cooperative learning before. However focussing on employability and multi-cultural/European context was enlightening.”
“The teaching methods were wide and varies and coupled with Gudrun’s enthusiasm, made for an interesting and inspiring week.”
“I’ve now got a far better understanding of how all the different parts link together. This will make a huge difference in how I approach my teaching.”
“All activities have something to use in my vocational courses.”
“I have used many methods in my vocational courses but I didn’t have the whole structure, the whole circle. Now I have that. Thank you!”