Teaching self and social competencies in vocational education and training has great relevance to achieve employability in all European countries. This especially concerns the customer-intensive retail sector. However, these competencies are taught insufficiently in vocational education so far. Therefore, four teaching-learning arrangements have been implemented in advance for vocational schools/further education colleges to develop self and social competencies of young people in the retail sector. These materials were evaluated very positively by teachers. However, the practical implementation of the teaching-learning arrangements showed that their distribution largely depends on the teachers’ readiness to use. The complexity and novelty of the developed teaching-learning arrangements discourage the teachers sometimes from integrating them as an integral part of their lessons.
Consequently, the focus of the project "Retail Sector Competencies for All Teachers" (ReCall) is now directed to the professional development of teachers in vocational schools. Teachers are trained in teaching self and social competencies. Scepticism about the existing material has been reduced and helps that teachers will lose their reservations regarding the use of the teaching-learning arrangements in class.
The training of teachers will be done by using a web-based Teacher Training Tool (TTT), developed in the framework of this project. The TTT includes information and practical exercises to relevant aspects for the four teaching-learning arrangements (to the sections ‘criticism’, ‘team competencies‘, 'time management’ and ‘self-evaluation of ability’) in classroom. Using descriptive and targeted training materials for the practical application of the teaching-learning arrangements, teachers acquire the content in self-study learning with learning supportive accompaniment.
The multimedia TTT integrates new information and communication technologies (ICT) in teacher training. The tutorial enables medial exercises and notes for the teachers at vocational schools in the retail sector, which can be acquired and gleaned at any time and from any place. The TTT and the integrated teaching-learning materials promoting self and social competencies are available as "Open Educational Resource" (OER) on the internet. The OER ensures the sustainable use and dissemination of the training and the connected educational materials in the Europe-wide teacher training.
Three universities that are renowned in the field of teacher education, as well as three well established vocational schools, each from Poland, Italy and Germany belongs to the project consortium. All partners have a great professional expertise and project experience.
The project will be implemented through a joint framework setting of process, responsibilities, and an accompanying management. On the one hand, the project quality will be secured through the involvement of two "critical friends" who are not directly involved in the project and are accompanying it from the meta-perspective. On the other hand, for the purpose of quality assurance, it is important to include external experts, such as social partners and teacher training institutions in the project. These experts are already actively involved at an early stage in the development process regarding the design of an appropriate TTT. To verify the handling, acceptance, and the learning effect, the digital training tool will be tested from at least 15 teachers per country under practical conditions. Therefore, the project partners develop an appropriate evaluation tool in advance. The evaluation results form the basis for optimizing the TTT and the final provision as OER. The distribution will be made through linking on the websites of the partners’ institutions.
The digital training will be available online and costless all over Europe in the languages English, German, Polish, and Italian. By strengthening the teachers in this field of competence, vocational education will be improved sustainably. The availability of the TTT beyond the three partner countries to all teachers in vocational schools in the retail sector will significantly get easier the application of the teaching materials and promote their use. In the long term the TTT can also be used in other areas of vocational education training as well as in different vocational fields because teachers are here demanded in the same way to teach self and social competencies. A multiplier event in all partner countries as well as extensive promotional and information measures will guarantee a most rapid and extensive dissemination for the ReCall project.