Country information for Poland - Teacher education for inclusive education

National legislation makes a distinction between teachers working in the school education system (which comprises early childhood education, school education and adult education in school settings and other educational institutions) and academic teachers in the higher education system. Separate regulations and different arrangements are in place for school education and academic teachers.

Initial teacher education is provided only by higher education institutions (HEIs). Initial teacher education comprises compulsory subject-specific training and training in psychology, pedagogy and teaching methodology.

National standards are in place for initial teacher education which specify:

  • the total duration, ECTS value and number of class hours for a programme;

  • courses, their ECTS value and learning outcomes;

  • general arrangements for internships;

  • requirements for teaching staff and teaching/learning facilities.

Training covers:

  • subject-area training;

  • teacher training, including psychology and pedagogy, and teaching and learning processes, including the basics of teaching and learning;

  • voice production;

  • training for teaching a main or an additional subject or conducting main or additional classes.

Compulsory internships take place in schools, counselling and guidance centres and other institutions in the school education system. There are also national outline programmes for qualification courses offered by in-service teacher training institutions.

The Regulation defines the standard of initial teacher training:

  • a subject teacher, a teacher of theoretical vocational subjects, a teacher of practical vocational training, a teacher conducting classes and a teacher of psychology (Annex no. 1);

  • a kindergarten and early childhood education teacher (grades 1–3 of primary school) (Annex no. 2);

  • a special pedagogue, a speech therapy teacher and a teacher conducting early child developmental support (Annex no. 3).

Currently, in mandatory initial teacher education, graduates must have the knowledge, skills and competences necessary to perform the complex teaching, educational and care‑related tasks of the school. This includes developing and adapting curricula to the needs and abilities of learners.

According to Annex no. 1, the overall learning outcomes indicate that graduates preparing to be a subject teacher, a teacher of theoretical vocational subjects, a teacher of practical vocational training, a teacher conducting classes and a teacher of psychology should (among other things):

  • in terms of knowledge – know and understand:

    • the issues of inclusive education and the ways of implementing the principle of inclusion;

    • the diversity of learners’ educational needs and the need for the school to adapt the educational process;

    • the rights of children and people with disabilities;

    • teaching methods and how to select effective methods to support the teaching of the subject or the conduct of classes, taking into account the diverse educational needs of learners.
  • in terms of skills – be able to:

    • observe situations and pedagogical events, analyse them using pedagogical and psychological knowledge and propose solutions to problems;

    • recognise the needs, possibilities and abilities of learners and design and conduct activities that support their integral development, activity and participation in the educational process and in society;

    • design and implement curricula, taking into account the diverse educational needs of learners;

    • undertake work with learners that stimulates their interests and develops their abilities;

    • properly select the content of teaching, tasks and forms of work in self‑education and promote learner achievements;

    • use assessment and feedback to stimulate learners’ self-development;

    • monitor learners’ progress, activity and participation in school social life;

    • work with learners with special educational needs, including those with adaptation difficulties related to migration experience, from culturally diverse backgrounds or with limited knowledge of the Polish language.

  • in terms of social competences – be ready to:

    • use universal ethical principles and norms in professional activity, guided by respect for each individual;

    • build relationships based on mutual trust between all actors in the education and training process, including learners’ parents or guardians, and involve them in activities conducive to educational effectiveness;

    • communicate with people from different backgrounds and with different emotional conditions, to resolve conflicts in dialogue and create a good atmosphere for communication within and outside the classroom;

    • make decisions related to the organisation of inclusive education.

These issues are included in the specific objectives of each group of classes, but there is no separate module for inclusive education.

According to Annex no. 2, the overall learning outcomes indicate that the graduates preparing to be a kindergarten and early childhood education teacher should (among other things):

  • in terms of knowledge – know and understand:

    • the issue of inclusive education and the ways of implementing the principle of inclusion;

    • the issue of intercultural education;

    • the rights of children and people with disabilities and how to enforce them and promote them in school, non-school and after-school environments;

    • the diverse development and educational needs of learners in the pre‑primary and younger school age (resulting from delays, disturbances or acceleration of development and conditioned by environmental factors) and ways to adapt development and educational tasks accordingly;

    • how to design and conduct diagnostic activities, taking into account the specificity of functioning of pre-primary aged and young children and their diverse educational needs, including the scope and quality of social support;

    • various types and functions of evaluation

  • in terms of skills – be able to:

    • identify the needs, possibilities and abilities of learners, design and conduct pedagogical activities, and plan, implement and evaluate personalised educational programmes;

    • use a variety of methods to organise learning and teaching environments in everyday educational practice, taking into account the specific needs and abilities of individual learners and groups;

    • identify and arouse the interests of learners and adapt the methods and content of education accordingly;

    • identify the spontaneous behaviour of learners as an educational and didactic opportunity and use it in the educational process and the achievement of therapeutic goals;

    • use assessment and feedback to stimulate learners in their own development;

    • effectively work in culturally diverse environments and with children with a migrant background, including those with Polish as a second language, using inter-cultural and glotto-didactic competences;

    • effectively use information about learners from specialists, including psychologists, speech therapists, pedagogues, doctors, and the learners’ parents or guardians.

  • in terms of social competences – be ready to:

    • use universal ethical principles and standards in professional activity, guided by respect for each individual;

    • build relationships based on mutual trust between all actors in the upbringing and education process, including the learners’ parents or guardians, and involve them in activities that foster educational effectiveness;

    • communicate with people from different backgrounds and with different emotional backgrounds, resolving conflicts in dialogue and creating a good atmosphere for communication within and outside the pre-school group and classroom;

    • recognise the specific nature of the local and regional environment and its impact on the functioning of learners, and working together for the benefit of learners and their environments.

These issues are included in the specific objectives of each group of classes, but again, there is no separate module for inclusive education.

According to Annex no. 3, the overall learning outcomes indicate that the graduates preparing for the profession of a special pedagogue, a teacher of speech therapy and a teacher conducting early child developmental support should (among other things):

  • in terms of knowledge – know and understand:

    • the sources and place of special pedagogy in science and its subject and methodological connections with the fields of social sciences, humanities and medical and health sciences;

    • the scope of special pedagogy;

    • the concepts of rehabilitation, education, re-socialisation and therapy for learners with special educational needs and the various conditions of these processes;

    • the contemporary approach to the problems of learners with special educational needs and the resulting new forms of education, including inclusive education;

    • the special education system in the context of the universal education system;

    • the organisation and methodology of education for learners with special educational needs in an inclusive system, particularly the models of co‑operation between special educators, teachers, specialists and parents or guardians, and models of lesson individualisation, effective teaching strategies and universal class design.

  • in terms of skills – be able to:

    • use and integrate knowledge of special pedagogy and related scientific disciplines to diagnose and analyse (complex) rehabilitation, educational, therapeutic and re‑socialisation situations;

    • design and conduct classes, taking into account learners’ special educational needs;

    • conduct classes in a diversified group, individualise tasks, adjust methods and content to the needs and capabilities of learners, including learners with special educational needs, and use the principles and methods of individual class design;

    • implement effective programmes to increase learners’ cognitive skills and social competences and improve peer integration of learners with special educational needs.

  • in terms of social competences – be ready to:

    • use universal ethical principles and norms in professional activity, guided by respect for each individual;

    • build relationships based on mutual trust between all actors in the process of education and training, including learners’ parents or guardians, and involve them in activities conducive to educational effectiveness;

    • communicate and co-operate with the environment and actively participate in groups and organisations carrying out educational, rehabilitation, therapeutic and re-socialisation activities;

    • communicate with people from different environments and with different emotional conditions, resolve conflicts in a dialogue and create a good atmosphere for communication within and outside the school classroom;

    • recognise the specificity of the local and regional environment and its impact on learners’ functioning, and undertake co-operation for the benefit of learners and their environments.

Annex no. 3 applies to education to prepare special education teachers, speech therapists and teachers conducting early child development support classes, in terms of:

  • education and rehabilitation of people with hearing disabilities (surdopedagogy);

  • education and rehabilitation of people with visual disabilities (tyflopedagogy);

  • education and rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities;

  • medical and therapeutic pedagogy;

  • education and therapy for persons with autism spectrum disorders;

  • inclusive education;

  • rehabilitation pedagogy;

  • speech therapy;

  • corrective pedagogy (pedagogical therapy);

  • early childhood development support.

In Annex no. 3 there is a separate module on inclusive education.

Teachers should continuously develop their professional competence in line with the needs of their schools. Theoretical vocational subject and practical vocational training teachers should take ‘sector-specific’ training courses, run in three-year cycles. For all teachers, participation in continuing professional development activities is also a pre‑condition for professional promotion, as the process includes an assessment of the teacher’s professional achievements, based on the implementation of a professional development plan (E. Kolanowska, 2021: The System of Education in Poland 2020).

 

Last updated 02/03/2021

 

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