What is the Retain website?
The RETAIN website is a result of the RETAIN project, which was supported financially from 2013 to 2016 by the Life Long Learning Programme.
A tendency in Europe is that the position as school manager is most often occupied by former teachers who haven’t received any or only little management training to carry out the job as school manager. This risks to have a negative influence on the working and learning environments in schools, because they have not been given the right knowledge and competences through relevant education.
Stress, burn outs, demotivation and teachers leaving the teaching profession, are all acknowledged challenges for the European school system, because it affects the quality of teaching of our children. The overall objective of the RETAIN Project is to support European teachers to stay motivated, creative and inspired in order for them to execute their teaching profession in the most qualitative way, for the benefit of the teaching of our children and their learning potential.
The RETAIN project was developed to assist school managers in their work to create more innovatice, creative and inclusive school environments in order to reach this objective.
What can you find on the website
On this website you can find all the material that the RETAIN project has developed.
If you click on ”RETAIN Toolbox” you will get into the complete RETAIN toolbox that was produced in the RETAIN project. The Toolbox consists of:
1. Introduction and recommendations
Within the inner circle, you will find an introduction to entire toolbox.
The overall managerial philosophy of the toolbox is first of all that school management should work with the tools within a bottom-up approach, meaning that a high degree of participation is needed. Secondly, school management should be ready to work with open ended processes, meaning that school management needs to let go of control in a certain degree, which should be replaced by common reflection between stakeholders and critical dialogue.
All thematic areas and the tools, which go with these areas, are all presented to support this overall managerial philosophy
The master version is in English. You can find versions in Danish, Spanish, French and Turkish if you click on ”Local Activities” (hyperlink) and go into the different country flags.
You will also find a list of 10 essential recommendations, which are important to consider before starting to work strategically with the toolbox.
A powerpoint presentation is also present in this circle, which give an overall presentation of the toolbox, and which can be used in a training situation.
2. Concrete and detailed description of the toolbox in 5 different themes;
The toolbox is divided into five overall themes, which are the following:
The first theme about inclusion and differentiation focuses on how to design and develop inclusive schools, classrooms and activities, which supports that ALL students participate together and nobody is excluded from the activities. This theme also focuses on the creation of a working environment, where collaboration and inclusive dialogue among teacher generations are highly valuated as well as the dialogue and collaboration between teachers and parents.
The second theme is about collaboration with the external world, where possible ways of supporting and developing inclusive collaboration with other agents and stakeholders, e.g. local enterprises, in the local communities around the school is exploited.
The third theme about professional identity provides tools which can help the novice teachers to construct their identity as teachers, and take active choices on how they want to be as teachers. The tools can help the novice teachers to be aware of and create their own values concerning e.g. discipline and their relation with the pupils.
The fourth theme is about co-construction, co-design and collaboration, and the tools that are presented here all have a whole school approach, stimulating the constructive dialogue between teachers and other stakeholders within the school in order to develop common initiatives and broad engagement.
The fifth theme about stress management and co-planning includes tools on how school management can work actively with the psychosocial working environment within schools in order to decrease factors which can have a negative effect on the worker’s health.
3. Concrete tools which can be used by school managers, senior teachers and novice teachers to
You can click on each circle of the toolbox, where you will find a number of different tools, which can be used within schools to work with the specific theme.
Some concrete tools are for example reverse mentoring, lesson study or collaborative dialogue. These tools have been tested among 25 pilot schools in the five participating countries and they have been translated into the 5 participating languages of the project; English, Danish, French, Spanish and Turkish.
Who is the website for?
The project has three main target groups:
1. Local school managers
2. Senior Teachers
3. Novice Teacher
If you are a local school manager, you can use this website to find inspiration on how to build up a strategic focus within your school on how to create an innovative, creative and inclusive working environment for teachers.
If you are a senior or novice teacher, you can use this website to find inspiration on how to work together with you colleagues in order to exchange experiences, co-create teaching material or create a dialogue about common values.