The students and the staff were welcomed by the School of Education principal Prof. Jolanta Choińska-Mika, who presented the idea behind and the innovative nature of the School. She emphasized that the School fits into the mission of University of Warsaw, that is educating the elites among which teachers play an important role. Also very important issue for University learning and teaching unity, which is implemented by the School of Education through blending theory taught at didactic classes with school practice.
Prof. Choińska-Mika expressed her hopes that a year-long studies at the School will become a great educational adventure for its students who, when they have graduated from it, will have a feeling that they are ready to change Polish education and first of all the lives of their students for whom having good teachers is of a formative value. These are the objectives to be reached jointly by the School of Education students, staff, tutors and mentors. “Be those who leave a good footprint in your students’ lives; the footprint they can’t forget,” concluded Prof. Choińska-Mika.
The students and staff of the School of Education were also welcomed by PAFF Program Director Dr. Katarzyna Maniszewska, who started with expressing her hopes that the students’ potential, motivation and enthusiasm visible during interviews, will continue during the whole course of studying at the School of Education and will make the basis for their work as teachers after they have graduated. Dr Maniszewska described the objectives, mission and activities of PAFF, pointing in particular to its programs in the area of education, including the “Learning Schools”, whose experiences are embedded in the School of Education. She also thanked the University of Warsaw authorities for their commitment, kindness and openness which resulted in this joint initiative that was inaugurating its operation. Dr. Maniszewska pointed to the fact that the School of Education follows the American model but its formula, based on the model worked out at the prestigious Teachers College, Columbia University of New York, was thoroughly thought over and adapted and the final result was developed in cooperation with the partners from Teachers College, Columbia University and Polish experts and methodologists, who the students of School of Education will soon meet as the school staff and visiting lecturers.
The School of Education of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the University of Warsaw is an innovative post-graduate course for future Polish and mathematics teachers established thanks to engagement and cooperation of PAFF, UW, the Foundation for Quality Education, the Center for Citizenship Education and with substantive support from Teachers College, Columbia University. That is the first program of that kind in Poland in form of a year-long full-time course which combines closely theory with practice.