Piloting the ESSR: What Teachers Say

January 22, 2019

After the first phase of piloting at the national level in Slovakia we at ITG decided to ask one of our teachers to make an interview about the piloting, our suggested approach, pedagogical approaches and what advantages and disadvantages does she expected and experienced. Our interviewee is Janka Liptáková from high school Gymnasium of Ivan Krasko in Rimavská Sobota in southern part of Slovakia. She teaches at state funded public school and is one of our youngest piloting teachers.


What do you think about the project and the piloting especially? Can test and retest in cooperation with teachers work for developing a lesson plan? What advantages and disadvantages do you see along the way?

I consider the project itself in a positive way, because it bring new approaches and methods into the teaching processes about communist regime and students can thanks to these better understand and imagine the life under this regime. There’s never enough inspirational materials for teaching, especially those that really good and suitable for teachers’ practice. If we want a suitable lesson plans to be created, then we need the cooperation between the teachers and the developers of the lesson plans. Remarks and comments from the teachers can be really helpful to achieve the goals of the project. So, the main advantage I see in this cooperation. However while piloting we mustn’t forget the most important people involved for whom all of this is being designed. The lesson plan has to attract them and activize them and therefore I consider their feedbacks and opinions also important. At the moment I don’t see disadvantages of this cooperation, because if suggested lesson plan designed for teachers and students won’t work throughout the piloting, where’s the guarantee that it will be a success later. Therefore the whole idea of the project wouldn’t be fulfilled.


What do you think about the flow of the suggested lesson plan? What did you experience while piloting? Can you identify parts that didn’t work and parts that worked well?

I approve the lesson plan for sure. My experiences are positive and teaching with the suggested lesson plan went well. The lesson plan offers motivating activities that are interconnected and consecutive, encourage and lead to more complex thinking, discussions and to broader understanding of the issue at hand. I can’t say there’s has been a thing that really didn’t work, but there are more activities in the lesson plan, but they are doable. Despite this it is really possible to implement the lesson plan within one school hour, because it is up to teacher on how he will guide the discussions and flow of the lesson plan.


How do your students respond to such a lesson? Do you think that it was different from what they experience on regular basis?

Students’ responses have been pretty good. Apparently such teaching style grabs their attention and they enjoy learning in suggested ways. Motivate them to be interested in history isn’t easy, but this lesson plan made it happen. I think that it was so because of various activities that students had to go through and they kept their attention and interest. The whole lesson plan differs from a regular one right in the these activities. Students stopped to be passive recipients of information and started to be actively involved, to think more, to compare and to evaluate. That’s why they’re responses have been positive.


Do you think that pedagogical constructivist approach would be suitable for your teaching? Do you want to work more in this way? Which teaching methods and strategies do you consider as advisable for teaching?

Well, I try to use methods in the education process that activize students and encourage their interest, methods that make them the centre points of the learning process and therefore the lessons are not about me, but about them. Constructivist approach fullfils this criteria and therefore my answer is yes. I do consider the methods of active learning are essential these days, if we want the students to think critically, evaluate and create. This approach is very close to me personally and I try to teach in this way as much as possible, even it is more demanding for preparations. Therefore I really appreciate initiatives, projects and instructions (metodiky) that can inspire my work and can open the door to this afore mentioned teaching styles.