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Discovering the European educational landscape

Here is the first report from Marc-André Girard who shares with us various European approaches, ideas, events and ways of doing things.

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Quebec enjoys an envious reputation in France when it comes to education. Did you know ?

In fact, we tend to forget this when we review Quebec educational news in our main media. However, the Quebec school system is a progressive figure among the French, particularly in terms of study programs and the integration of technologies into educational activities!

However, it seems that France and Finland approach the issue of teachers' professional development differently. Myth? Reality?

In recent years, we have hosted a few French and Belgian delegations at school. If educational tourism initiatives are good from Europe to Canada, they are certainly good the other way around, right?

As a result, I have the incredible chance to be invited to the Laboratory of innovation and digital in education (LINE) of the Higher School of Teaching and Education (ÉSPÉ) of Nice (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis) and to be able to assist Professor Margarida Romero in various research related to the development of skills in the 21e century among students and teachers for five weeks. It will be a journey that will also take me to Lille, Toulon and Paris, where I will meet the speakers of other ÉSPÉs, of the French National Education, of CANOPÉ (the equivalent of Quebec's RÉCIT), as well as those of the Academic Delegation for Digital Education (DANE). In addition, I will go to Savonlinna, Finland to meet Kati Mäkitalo-Siegl, professor at the University of Eastern Finland and director of PREP21, a collaborative initiative involving three Finnish universities, whose aim is to develop the professional skills of future teachers.

There are three main goals of this trip:

1- Importing European ways of doing things

Importing winning European ways of doing things in my school environment in connection with the development of 21 skillse century, as much for the students as for the professional development of the teachers and that of the members of the administration.

How can students develop these skills in the classroom? Several repositories exist, the best known of which are those of Université Laval and ISTE. I am therefore looking to bring back winning practices to share in my community.

For education professionals, this is a little explored area. Moreover, in Quebec, taking the example of teachers, the professional skills framework dates from… 2001. That said, at a time when technologies have clearly invaded the school world, what are the new skills to be developed professionally or which old ones become even more important? How to develop them and what are the winning conditions for doing so?

2- Join the Quebec educational community

Disseminate European ways of doing things to the Quebec educational community to allow the emergence of local initiatives linked to the development of skills in the 21e century for professionals and students alike.

3- Contribute to French practices

Contribute to French practices by sharing winning practices from Quebec or North America. In this regard, the French are particularly interested in the following subjects (in no particular order):

  • Managing social media at school;
  • Managing mobile devices in the classroom;
  • The integration of electronic tablets in educational activities in 1: 1 mode;
  • Artificial intelligence;
  • Programming and robotics;
  • Digital manufacturing workshops.

Over the next few weeks, you will read about fifteen reports that will be published in the École branchée. They aim to share various European approaches, ideas, events or ways of doing things.

About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in social studies education (1999), a master's degree in history education (2003), a master's degree in education management (2013) and a doctorate in education (2022). He specializes in school-based change management and educational leadership. He is also interested in the 21st century competencies to be developed in education. He is a principal in a public high school and gives conferences on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in schools and the professionalization of teaching. He has participated in educational expeditions in France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book "Le changement en milieu scolaire québécois" with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the 21st century school with the same publisher. He is a frequent contributor to L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and principals as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement. He is a recipient of the Régent-Fortin 2022 scholarship awarded by ADERAE for the significant contribution of his doctoral studies to the development of practice and knowledge in educational administration.

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