Lessner Lištiaková, I. & Preece, D. (2020) Developing curriculums and training materials internationally – lessons about communication and collaboration from ASD-EAST. University of Northampton Learning and Teaching Conference, 16 June 2020.
Abstract. For training programmes to be innovative and achieve social impact, they need to reflect, meet and exceed the needs of the participants (they need to meet the needs of participants that they did not even realise they had). The Erasmus+ ASD-EAST project focuses on improving the quality of life of students with autism in three central/eastern European countries, by developing, piloting and evaluating a training programme for specialist teachers who work with them. We mapped knowledge, attitudes and training needs of teachers; developed a curriculum and six training modules with materials differentiated for mainstream and special school teachers; ran pilot trainings in the three countries; and conducted quantitative and qualitative pre-, post- and follow-up evaluation of the trainings.
The main identified benefits of this collaboration were: sharing of knowledge and expertise – discovering ‘new topics’; knowledge and practical experience from the local contexts; innovative approaches to teaching ‘the old topics’; new perspectives that challenge and stimulate thinking. Some challenges that we faced included: understanding – different interpretation of concepts/words; different styles of working with colleagues; communication channels and response time; cultural expectations regarding roles and practices. How we addressed these challenges: time built in for small group discussions with partners; building relationships; creating an active community of practice within the project team; clear guidelines and regular reminders from the management team; creation of multiple methods and lines of communication; establishment and clear modelling of team norms.
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