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  • TEFE (Teachers of English for Future Europe) project triumphed with another great event – this time at the University of Passau, Germany

TEFE (Teachers of English for Future Europe) project triumphed with another great event – this time at the University of Passau, Germany

In September 2022, the TEFE consortium, together with 29 future teachers of English, met at the University of Passau to take another step towards the internationalisation of teacher education and practice. Karolína Dvořáková, Anna Chourová, Klára Nikitínská, Soňa Urbánková, Klapová Vendula, Karolína Volfová, Dr Alena Prošková and Dr Helena Lohrová represented the Faculty of Arts, University of South Bohemia. Glimpses from a week of intensive trans-national collaboration and observation of teaching in selected Bavarian schools have been recorded in a short TEFE video: YouTube.

The TEFE project (2020-1-CZ01-KA203-078201) funded by the EU Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships programme started its third year of strategic cooperation in September 2022. The TEFE consortium is formed of 6 European universities: Aston University (UK), Comenius University in Bratislava (SK), Jagiellonian University in Krakow (PL), Public University of Navarra (SP), University of Passau (GE) and University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice (CZ). The project which centres on the internationalisation of teaching practice is managed by the Faculty of Arts, the University of South Bohemia and is integral to the Faculty's initiative to internationalise teacher education.

Teacher education study programmes for candidates interested in teaching at secondary and high schools offered by the Faculty of Arts, University of South Bohemia is enjoying an increasing number of applicants every year. Students can specialise in subject areas including the English, German, French, Spanish, Italian languages, Czech language and literature and History. The internationalisation of studies, and especially of teaching practice, is currently a challenge that cannot be ignored in the education of future teachers. This approach provides future teachers with international professional experience which especially language teachers cannot do without.

As Dr Alena Prošková, a subject didactics teacher for languages at the Faculty of Arts and one of the coordinators of the TEFE project, puts it: “Modern teacher education programmes must equip the new generation of future teachers with the skills that will enable them to deliver education at a European level. This, however, requires that students can learn about European education as part of their studies and are enabled to gain practical professional experience not only from local schools they perhaps attended themselves, but also from schools across the EU. If we succeed in internationalising teaching practice, we will take a huge step towards the personal and professional development of the new generation of student teachers and how they can apply themselves in the job market.

Equally valuable for future teachers will be the personal contacts and friendships with student teachers from the partner countries that the TEFE project is creating. After entering practice, the graduates will certainly use these contacts to organise their own international projects in the schools where they will be working. This way they will contribute to the development of the internationalisation of studies at the level of secondary or primary education.

From the point of view of academics who also actively participate in international training seminars and workshops, TEFE is a unique opportunity to compare the content and structure of teacher education programmes. This allows education professionals to discuss the current challenges of teacher education, especially in relation to the reforms currently underway in the partner countries. The visit to Passau gave us an insight into the functioning model of teacher education that is already in place, which mirrors the key points set out in the reform of undergraduate education formulated in the framework of the Ministry of Education and Science's Strategy 2030+. This is something we aim for and may perhaps reach within the next five or ten years.”

What lies ahead for TEFE:

The academic year 2022–2023 is the third and final year for the TEFE project, and in terms of "what's next" it is also a turning point in the sense of how the consortium will build upon what they have started. At the end of 2023, the TEFE consortium will publish a methodology for the internationalisation of teaching practice, which will be followed by an implementation phase. In the meantime, several events await the participants and supporters of the project to further shape, discuss, present and, above all, put the TEFE agenda into practice. In January 2023, TEFE is heading to Aston University (UK). In April, the next Intensive Study Programme will take place at Jagiellonian University in Krakow (PL), followed by a presentation of the project in the panel discussion "English Language Teacher Competences" at the 15th International April Confe   rence: Humanity/Humanities. At the prestigious Jagiellonian University, TEFE will subsequently conclude with a project dissemination conference for English language teachers and those interested in teaching the English language.

Are you interested in our joint TEFE initiative? Why not meet in Krakow in the spring on 24–25 April 2023? Stay tuned to www.tefe.online.

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