On September 5, 2016 r. the PAFF and UW School of Education hosted Dean of the School of Education of Indiana University Professor Terrence C. Mason. The meeting was a valuable opportunity to talk about cooperation and experience sharing by both institutions as well as University of Warsaw, represented at the meeting by Prof. Jolanta Choińska-Mika, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Quality of Teaching.
Discussed were matters related to ethics and prestige of teaching profession as well as challenges faced by Polish and American teachers. Other important issues included educational research, teacher’s work evaluation and educational processes. Their significant role was emphasized by members of the School of Education staff as well as Prof. Choińska-Mika, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Quality of Teaching, the first Director of the PAFF and UW School of Education, who expressed a wish to draw on American experience in that area, including that of Indiana University, which is the UW partner university.
Prof. Mason presented the structure and activities of the School of Education of Indiana University, one of the biggest in the USA academic centers that educate teachers. Interestingly, in addition to preparing students to teaching profession, the School of Education IU educates also future educational institution managers and administrators as well as scholars and educational evaluators within the structure of several units operating in that organization. As Prof. Mason noted, the main objective of the School of Education IU that he manages is working to improve the level of public education and assure all students equal chances in access to good education regardless of their place of residence and background. That mission is especially close to the Polish-American Freedom Foundation that among other things has been supporting initiatives aimed at providing equal educational opportunities for over 15 years, which was pointed to during the meeting by Dr. Katarzyna Maniszewska, PAFF Program Director.
The School of Education of Indiana University and the PAFF and UW School of Education have different scale of operation, experience and scope of teaching but as regards education of teachers they are based on the same basis of combining academic theory with teaching practice, as was accurately commented by Prof. Mason, who shared his favorite principle with the participants of the meeting saying that “there is nothing more practical than sound theoretical knowledge”.
The Polish-American Freedom Foundation and University of Warsaw School of Education is an innovative post-graduate course for future teachers of Polish and mathematics created jointly by PAFF, UW, the Foundation for Quality Education, the Center for Citizenship Education with support from the Teachers College, Columbia University. This is the first program in Poland of that type – a one-year post-graduate full-time course which closely combines theory and practice.