Through eTwinning, student teachers can plan multidisciplinary international learning projects that they will then implement together with the pupils under the guidance of teacher educators.
The University of Eastern Finland (UEF), where eTwinning is a functional part of the studies of student teachers, is an excellent example. In 2021, UEF, the university’s Tulliportti Teacher Education School, and the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) planned and produced a series of videos explaining how eTwinning can be used in teacher education.
eTwinning in teacher education
‘At UEF, teacher students have the opportunity to learn about eTwinning during both the teacher education modules in the university department and the supervised teaching practice periods,’ says Professor Ritva Kantelinen from UEF. ‘First, we learn about it, familiarise ourselves with it, and practise developing ideas. Then we go on to the teaching practice period and carry out actual projects in the eTwinning network.’
The supervising teachers and the eTwinning ambassadors support the student teachers in the use of eTwinning during the teaching practice. This way, the future teachers will be able to safely practise working in a multinational classroom. The trainee teacheres at UEF have themselves been able to plan how to integrate eTwinning project work into their lessons. International cooperation and joint multidisciplinary learning projects are suitable not only for languages but also for other school subjects. In particular, they develop transversal competences, ICT skills, interaction skills, intercultural understanding, and cooperation skills.
Safe, versatile, and easy to use
‘It sure is great to be able to have pupils attend your class who are actually located thousands of kilometres away at the same time,’ says a teacher student on the video. ‘And most importantly, that it is so easy to organise,’ he continues.
Working with eTwinning has been found to be meaningful as pupils get an opportunity to work together with their peers in an authentic learning environment, in a foreign language, and using technology.
In the future, teacherhood and learning will be international
According to the student teachers on the video, it is great to be able to familiarise themselves with an international project from the teacher’s point of view and see how keen and motivated the children are. The students find eTwinning to be an excellent tool for future teachers.
‘eTwinning as an environment offered good examples and ways to develop myself as a teacher. Especially in the case of a future teacher like myself,’ summarises student teacher Viljami Viskari.
eTwinning provides teacher education and teaching practice with a tool that enables students to practise the skills they will need as future teachers under guidance. Future teacherhood requires flexible cultural and linguistic competences in diverse environments and situations. eTwinning provides a network of teachers and student teachers in which it is possible to constantly develop competences, share concerns and thoughts, and receive support and ideas for building their role as a teacher.
The “eTwinning for Future Teachers” video series
The videos have been implemented in cooperation between the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), the Teacher Education School of UEF (Tulliportti unit), and EDUFI’s eTwinning support service and eTwinning ambassador.
The videos can be viewed with subtitles in Finnish and English on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s (EDUFI) YouTube channel.
- Six short videos on different themes: ‘eTwinning in teacher Education’, ‘eTwinning promotes transversal competences’, ‘eTwinning is a ready-to-use platform for cooperation’, ‘eTwinning develops skills for the future’, ‘Future teacherhood is international’, and ‘eTwinning is an excellent tool for internationalisation’.
- One longer video: ‘eTwinning for Future Teachers’, which brings the different themes together.
Katariina Kivi and Tiina Sarisalmi