The seminar was attended by over 50 experts specialized in education, and the PAFF Board of Directors members – Andrew Nagorski (the Board Chairman), Prof. Anna Fornalczyk, Carla Skodinski, Prof. Krzysztof Pawłowski, and Joseph C. Bell.
The opening addresses were given by Prof. Jolanta Choińska–Mika and Prof. Maciej Duszczyk, UW vice-rectors.
Among other things, the experts discussed about what is especially important in teacher education, what support teachers need at the beginning of their career, who chooses in Poland a teacher profession, as well as why students resign from education, and how to motivate them to learn, or what factors are decisive for curricula to be effective, also in the case of curricula for disabled students.
“Education in universal in many aspects. Children are just children all over the world, and teachers at every level of education have similar tasks to do,” Prof. Thomas F. Nelson Laird said in his speech.
The PAFF and UW School of Education guiding principles and experiences gained in teacher training were presented by Magdalena Radwan-Röhrenschef, the President of the Foundation for Quality Education, while School of Education lecturer Maria Samborska spoke about methods of working with a student, e.g. the need to hold discussions at math classes. “In Polish schools mathematics is usually taught in form of a lecture. If teachers ask questions, they ussually are short ones. Ususally students’ answers are even shorter. Therefore I show teachers various techniques of asking opening questions which broaden the issue and make students talk,” Maria Samborska said.
The experts of Indiana University were interested in the PAFF and UW School of Education curriculum for mentors. Mentors are experienced teachers supporting students preparing to be teachers during their internships. “Mentors often record their classes and analyse them in teams in order to get feedback and improve their skills,” explained Maria Samborska.
“It was our first conference together and we hope to continue. We presented results of our educational research in various areas – math, sciences, and language education, teacher education, and broadly conceived education policy. We had also an opportunity to learn opinions of Polish experts who study similar issues,” said Arlene Benitez, director of School of Education, Indiana University after the conference.
The conference was organized by Warsaw University, Indiana University and PAFF and UW School of Education.