Cohesion of competences, coherence of principles

  Exploring theories and designing materials for teacher education


February 2006|

September 2005|

May 2005 |

October 2004|

February 2004 |

Action Plan |

Calendar |


February 2006

CoCoCoP meeting in Bergen, 3-4 February, 2006

The last meeting of the CoCoCoP project was held at the University of Bergen on 3-4 February, 2006. This was an editorial meeting of the publication, and only the two editors decided by the project team were present: David Newby and Anne-Brit Fenner.

The structure of the publication had been largely agreed upon at the previous meeting in Graz, where the project team discussed feedback on the articles written by participants of the CoCoCoP workshop. A few articles and case studies on Content and Language Integrated Learning and Human Rights were written after the Graz meeting and had to be read and commented on in Bergen.

At the publication meeting all the articles and case studies were given detailed feedback and some parts were rewritten. Since then each contributor has agreed to the changes made. Some of the project team members were dependent on the finalisation of the other documents before finishing their own articles, which will link the various papers into a coherent publication. All the materials were compiled and the following structure and contents of the publication were agreed upon:

Section A: Theories and Principles:

  • Introduction to project publication
  • Communicative Language Teaching - a common denominator
  • Learner autonomy
  • Intercultural awareness
  • Intercultural awareness and Human Rights teaching
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning to promote intercultural awareness
  • Intercultural awareness and literature teaching
  • Grammar learning and teaching
  • Conclusion

Section B: Applications, Mediation and Implementation:

  • The Communicative Approach in teacher education
  • Learner autonomy in four European national curricula
  • Two case studies on Human Rights teaching
  • Grammar awareness raising in teacher education
  • Literature in teacher education: two case studies

September 2005

Publication meeting

The last major event in the CoCoCoP project took place in September in Graz. In addition to the project team, two workshop participants were invited to elaborate on their valuable contribution on Human Rights education.

Contributions to the publication from project participants had been received in advance of the meeting. Since the workshop in November 2004 the number of participants directly involved in the remaining phases of the CoCoCoP project has diminished, but the wealth of ideas in the contributions for the publication makes up for the participants who have not fulfilled their obligations.

During the meeting, contributions presented by project participants were discussed and the task of giving written feedback was distributed between members of the project team. The rest of the publication meeting was devoted to cooperation on joint and individual articles. Finally, deadlines were decided.

After an introductory article, the publication will contain both theoretical and practical aspects of the following topics:

  • Theoretical framework
  • Common ground: Communicative Language teaching
  • Learner autonomy
  • Cultural Awareness/Literature
  • Human Rights
  • Grammar
  • Mediation

David Newby and Anne-Brit Fenner will edit the publication.


May 2005

When planning the meeting to be held in May, the CoCoCoP team had felt that at this time of the year Graz is usually windy, cool and rainy and decided to try a different climate which is closer to the tropics. As a result, the so-called publication meeting was moved to sunny and breathtakingly beautiful Bergen in Norway. However, fortunately for the project and the publication, we could hardly move out of the university lecture room where we were based due to the unwelcoming natural phenomena lurking outside the windows!

The main aim of this meeting was to assess all post-workshop work done and presented by the various thematic groups, and see what further tasks lie ahead of the prospective contributors and the editors to conceptualize the forthcoming publication. Thanks to the active participation of the members of the networking groups, we have ended up with sufficient raw materials to begin the focused and detailed planning of the project publication.

As for its envisaged contents, a fair and proportionate distribution seems likely between contributions from the project team and those of participants, focusing on the following topic areas (focusing in this case equals a sort of critical analysis):

  • Communicative Language Teaching (in response to its overwhelming presence in teacher education curricula)
  • A selection of theoretical underpinnings similarly present in curricula (e.g. constructivism, cognitivism)
  • Learner autonomy
  • Cultural awareness & literature in language teacher education
  • Human Rights education
  • Grammar
  • Mediating theory and principles: towards practical implementation

Knowing the deadlines and having decided on the themes above means that some participants, as well as the whole project team will have a busy summer - don't we all prefer those to idle lazing about in the sun - in order to complete the remaining and/or the newly identified tasks before the next meeting in September, back in the welcoming premises of the Graz centre.

The materials already produced and compiled show that at least half of the participants of the November 2004 workshop have decided to contribute in some format to the publication. First and foremost, this proves that the work during the workshop proved to be meaningful and relevant with regard to participants' professional contexts. Beyond that, the learning outcomes and experience that will go into the publication through the variety of contributions will reveal all these individual and institutional perspectives for a wider professional audience. That's quite a lot, isn't it?

October 2004

It was 8 months ago, when we started working on the CoCoCoP project in earnest that we became aware of the possible 'cereal' interpretation of the acronym. Now that we got together again in September to continue the planning process, we tried to live up to the 'CoCoCoP - choco flakes' image by consuming serious amounts of chocolate during our meetings, which clearly helped us focus on the crucial professional issues better (you can see the results below).

It is not only the work that we, the four of us, have done which makes us relatively content and excited before the workshop but, in particular, the rich contribution made by the prospective workshop participants. By now virtually every nominated colleague has produced dozens of pages of written proofs of their extensive teacher education activities, and of the reflective thinking behind those. Apart from the responses to a couple of tasks, we have also been sent piles of teacher education and classroom materials, the reading and processing of which will easily carry us through till the end of the project in late 2006.

The brief account above indicates that the focus of our meeting in September was the four-day workshop to be held in Graz soon (3-6 November). We were fairly effective in specifying the key issues by narrowing down some of the originally set themes (see Project Description and News Bulletin 1). In this process we were influenced by not only our own professional plans and by the aims of the CoCoCoP project, but some decisions were unquestionably affected by the contribution of the participants.

Thus, the main themes, the theoretical aspects and their practical implications in teacher education, which will need to be covered - with critique - during the three working days will be as follows:

  • The Communicative Approach
  • Learning Theories
  • The Relevance of Theories in Teacher Education
  • Exploring and Exploiting Theories in Practice
  • Teacher Education and Classroom Materials Exemplifying Theories

To show our appreciation for the work our future participants have already done for the project, we have set a further, preparatory think-task for them. This way we may be able to motivate them even further by straining them to their limits in their otherwise tight schedules, working modes. If we are successful, they will come to Graz feeling that, whatever awaits them there, is going to be a relief, days of stressfree cooperation with other, similarly motivated and learning-thirsty colleagues from 30+ countries of Europe.

Well, we can hardly wait to welcome the participants on 2nd November for the first of the thirst-quenching sessions, which will be followed by four days of serious collaborative digging into the depth of the CoCoCoP cereal box. More news after that!

February 2004: team meeting report

Although for some time even members of the project team thought that CoCoCoP was a new type of cereal, the first session of the first project meeting of the first project within Group C projects (MTP Project C1) helped us clarify what the abbreviation meant for us, and what we want it to mean to anyone interested in our work.

In fact, such 'firsts' are supposed to act as major steps towards clarification of terminology, concepts, ideas and plans. The team managed to do just that, and now we know what we want ("Assertive, dear Watson, assertive!"). We have decided to focus on pre-service teacher education curricula, we would like to work with people whose job is to design and implement such curricula, syllabi.

Within such curriculum documents, our investigation will be focused on the approaches to or treatment of theories of:

  • Language;
  • Language learning;
  • Learner autonomy;
  • Intercultural awareness;
  • Content and language integrated learning.

However, this list is not carved in stone! Once we have gathered data about the participants of our 4-day workshop (to be held 3-6 November, 2004), we will enquire about topics and areas of their interest or expertise within the framework of our project, and may build those into the workshop programme.

The workshop itself was indeed central to our thinking. This also involved planning all the necessary steps, as well as tools, of the pre-workshop communication process. In this respect, one of the most important instruments seems to be a forum to be set up by the ECML, to serve both the team and the would-be participants, where not only moderated and thematic communication will be flowing into every direction, but materials, documents will be presented (i.e. loaded up and down) and discussed in preparation for and as a follow-up to the workshop.

So far so good, the first part of our job has been completed. Now comes the tasty bit: to wait for the results of the nomination process, to see the profile of the group of 30+ teacher education professionals coming from as many member states of the ECML. And that's when our next posting will be due!

The project team.