Interdepartmental exchange of practice-oriented research
The event aimed to provide access to research projects and to share the experiences of scientists across the faculty. According to the Vice Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, Tomáš Janík, these expectations were met. "We have given space to projects whose outputs are intended to influence practice ‒ especially educational. It turned out that the Faculty of Education has a lot to offer in this respect. I'm convinced that we will hear more about its outputs."
A total of nine TA CR projects were presented at the hybrid symposium. (Editor's note: TA CR ‒ the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic ‒ an organizational unit of the state founded in 2009 by the Act No. 130/2002 Coll. on the support of research, experimental development and innovation). The flagship department at the faculty is the Department of Geography, which has experience and success with this type of project. Its representatives presented three projects, eg., Michaela Spurná presented the development of an online diagnostic tool to support the professional growth of geography teachers and students. According to M. Spurná, the tool's uniqueness lies in the fact that it focuses on developing the disciplinary-didactic area of professional growth. Thus, the tool will improve the school's geography teaching quality by guiding teachers to develop students' geographical thinking in context. The output of another geographically focused project is a tool for understanding how landscapes work. According to the project leader, Hana Svobodová, "both outputs intend that pupils from primary school onwards understand how humans can influence processes in the landscape and, conversely, how the landscape influences human life."
Another project presented is being implemented at the Department of Pedagogy, where a team led by Jana Kratochvílová is working on a new design of the school report card (or innovation of the final evaluation of primary school pupils). The goal is not only the development of a new report card but also the overall development of continuous assessment of children in the daily running of the school. “In this way, we are gradually moving towards a report card that is in line with the trends of countries with developed education systems", says Jana Kratochvílová. More details on the topic of formative assessment are available in an interview published on the MU Faculty of Education website (in Czech).
The project, led by Martina Kampichler from the Institute for Research on Inclusive Education, "Early Childhood Pedagogy in Day Care Institutions in the Czech Republic," is aimed at children under the age of three. The project deals with the issues of accessibility and conditions of early education and care services, and thus builds on the Institute's focus on inclusion, diversity, and equality in education. "Our aim is to contribute to the visibility of early education and care, not only within the field of pedagogy. We look at the everyday life of a group of children, the work of directors, teachers, and nannies, and the experiences and expectations of parents in these settings and reflect on these alongside the current systemic framework. We present our findings in, for example, the book 'A world for children under three? Insights into the current state of early education and care in the Czech Republic’, to be published by Masaryk University in September (2022). We also support the integration of this topic into teaching at different
educational levels, e.g., by creating educational videos and accompanying materials", says Martina Kampichler.
The Department of Russian Language and Literature is also working with a topical issue. The SLAN project (TL03000293) is developing a vocabulary bank to help teach Czech as a foreign language. "The output of the project will be a web and mobile interface of SLAN, in which all users (teachers of Czech for foreigners, foreign students, those interested in Czech) can create online exercises and worksheets for forming words in Czech, they can practice, e.g., forming names of women (e.g., doctor – doctor, colleague –colleague) and names of places (e.g., the place where I live is ... LIVING ADDRESS; the place where I park my car is ... PARKING LOT). In total, over 2,000 nouns have been processed, and the first piloting of the exercise will take place in September 2022", specifies the project's researcher, Anastasija Sokolova.
Another of the projects is focused on 3 D printing and its application in primary and secondary schools. "The project brings new technologies to schools. We want to create new and better didactic tools "from teachers to teachers."
The symposium participants appreciated the access to research results and projects, the hybrid format, and the opportunity to network and engage in discussions. "It was very inspiring to see what kind of research with a link to practice is being done at the faculty and to be able to have discussions with researchers about the challenges in implementation and other specifics related to this type of project," says Miroslav Janík from the Institute of School Education Research.
The next edition of the Research Symposium – June 2023 – is likely to be dedicated to research popularisation and communication. You’re all invited to attend.