The PAFF and UW School of Education is a new, joint initiative of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and University of Warsaw aimed at preparing students to teaching profession. Initially the School will educate Polish language and math teachers. The innovative program which combines theory with professional practice is to be run in the form of a one-year post-graduate course. The initiative was presented at the meeting of members of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Board of Directors and the University of Warsaw management as well as representatives and staff of the PAFF and UW School of Education.
The University of Warsaw was represented by: Prof. Marcin Pałys, Rector, Prof. Anna Giza-Poleszczuk – Vice-Rector for the development and financial policy, and Prof. Piotr Węgleński – former Rector and at present Director of the UW Center of New Technologies (CENT). The presentation was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Poland Paul W. Jones, who participates in the works of the PAFF Board of Directors. The host of the meeting was Prof. Jolanta Choińska-Mika, the PAFF and UW School of Education Director.
‘Educational initiatives are a very important area of program activity of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, which from its very beginning supports development of teachers’ competencies. It is based on the premise that good education means a school open to changes and first of all teachers well prepared for their work, using modern teaching methods and knowing how to motivate students to effective learning,’ PAFF President Jerzy Koźmiński said in his welcome address. He also thanked the University of Warsaw management for getting involved into that joint initiative.
Prof. Marcin Pałys, the University of Warsaw Rector, expressed his satisfaction with establishing the PAFF and UW School of Education, emphasizing that it would be impossible without successful cooperation of PAFF, UW, and Foundation for Quality Education (FDE). FDE is the manager of this initiative on behalf of PAFF; it was established for that purpose by PAFF two years ago. In November 2015, FDE in cooperation with University of Warsaw established a joint institution, the Center of Innovation and Educational Research. The Center will develop two components: research and didactic, whose part is the School of Education.
In her presentation, Prof. Jolanta Choińska-Mika emphasized the School of Education innovativeness. The course program was developed in cooperation with the Columbia University Teachers College. ‘That is the first program of that kind in Poland – a one-year post-graduate qualification course. The graduates will be entitled to teach math or the Polish language at elementary, junior high and high schools,’ Prof. Choińska-Mika said. ‘Practical training is an important part of the course program and experience gained there will be discussed on a current basis. We are responsible for the training quality, cooperating with a network of carefully selected Warsaw schools, and our students will get substantive support from highly qualified lecturers and tutors,’ said the director of the PAFF and UW School of Education.
During the meeting the members of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation Board of Directors met with the staff of the PAFF and UW School of Education and among other things asked them for their motivation to participate in that initiative. ‘I work for the School of Education because its program gives an opportunity to implement my individual module of Polish teachers education, using my own didactic and research work experience. It also allows me to apply the latest foreign achievements in teaching mother tongues,’ Prof. Witold Bobiński, a lecturer of the Polish language said. Similar opinion was expressed by Beata Kotarba, math teachers tutor: ‘Everyday practice, opportunity to experience and analyze with your tutor or in a group of students various situations that took place at school allows the thorough self-analysis regarding the teacher’s work.’
After the presentation, the PAFF Board of Directors visited the UW Center of New Technologies building, where the PAFF and UW School of Education has its seat.