iBuild-IT: A Roadmap to Success
About the Project
Teachers from three combinations of primary and secondary schools from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Finland joined forces for two years to innovate English Language Teaching (ELT) through meaningful implementation of the TOEFL Young Students Series, and to find impactful and powerful solutions on how to approach and successfully integrate assessment-driven, research-based English language teaching methods within the national curricula, catering to the needs of all individual learners.
The TOEFL Primary and TOEFL Junior assessments have been used to assess and monitor students’ English-proficiency levels over the course of the project. As a curriculum-independent, large-scale assessment tool, the TOEFL Young Students Series (YSS) provides educators with a highly detailed score report on the different skills of English for each individual learner.
Goal Testing BV, full partner and co-coordinator of the project, has been collaborating with all the other partners for educational advice and training regarding the assessments and the educational innovations to be implemented.
What Do We Do?
“Good teaching starts from where the students are!”
Teachers must know what their students can and cannot do and which steps each student needs to take to progress. One key question is how teachers use assessments to adjust their teaching, and how we can use large-scale, standardized assessments effectively to inform English teaching.
During four training weeks and monthly online meetings, teachers from these countries have been working cross-sectorally and cooperatively, trying to create innovative ways to address the diversity in language levels in their respective classrooms, with a focus on maximizing learning gains for each student.
In the project, teachers have the opportunity to rethink and redesign their English classes based on the results of the TOEFL Young Students Series. During the teacher training weeks, teachers collaborate with other teachers teaching the same class in another country in a Professional Learning Group (PLG). In addition, “job shadowing” activities have been organized and teachers have been encouraged to share their experiences, observe each other and learn from each other and provide feedback for improvement. All this is collected and will be documented in the intellectual outputs.
Inspirational speakers who are experts in their field participate in the training weeks and give presentations and workshops.
Additionally, teachers from primary schools have been collaborating with teachers from secondary schools to find solutions to address the “gap” in ELT between primary and secondary education. The transition between the two levels is frequently mentioned in policy documents, but there is no real continuity in teaching practice. Teachers have been working on practical guidelines that other schools can use to help this transition. The goal is to redesign education so that the gap between primary and secondary education is reduced and the transition process is smoother.
Some other questions that have been explored within the project are as follows:
- How can we boost learners’ self-efficacy in English classes through differentiation?
- How can we create a positive and meaningful path for each learner in classrooms filled with students with different backgrounds and levels?
- How can we encourage teachers to experiment with a more open, engaging, and digital English classroom?
- How can we make each child’s learning progress visible?
- What materials (digitally and physically) and classroom organization enable teachers to organize ELT in a more personalized learning environment?
Within the project, there is a close collaboration with ETS (Educational Testing Service), ETS Global, SLO, and the municipalities from each country.
A research team from ETS is linked to the project to investigate key aspects within the larger context of more individualized English-language instruction. You can read more about the research team and the research studies here.