Structural Dimension

Research – practice interactive session Topic 3: Successful project designs to achieve scaling-up

Moderator: Andreas Obersteiner (University of Education Freiburg, Germany)

Input: Katja Maaß (University of Education Freiburg, introduction), F. Javier Garcia (researcher/team leader local implementation, mascil project ES), Mar Jimenez (policy, Spanish Ministry of Education), Christoph Selter (introduction, TU Dortmund university), Silke Sondermann (Primary School Essen)

In this session we will explore examples of sustainable project architectures and their core features: the project mascil is implemented in 18 countries and the German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education (DZLM) is a nationwide centre in Germany (where each federal state has responsibility for determining its education system).

Mascil aims to improve STEM education and main measures are developing classroom and PD materials based on the IBL approach with a world-of-work context and delivering related PD courses. The project architecture contains elements that aim to ensure that scaling-up effects are sustainable after project lifetime. Important principles that will be presented from research, practice and policy perspectives are the instigation of National Advisory Boards (NABs) that anchor international innovation in local settings. These boards represent key stakeholders, such as education authorities, teacher associations, parents, etc., that need to work together in local settings to reach scaled-up PD. This interactive session will also show how NABs are linked internationally so as to foster knowledge exchange. It will also address such principles as a participatory and collaborative style of working that allows external project groups to actively engage with the project and develop ownership, and, for example, the management of innovation, by actively taking up current trends and needs and connecting project work as much as possible to existing trends, structures or developments.

A moderated session will first introduce important principles of the mascil project (K. Maaß) and then allow the audience to see in detail how the principles are implemented in one country (example country: Spain). The case presentation will come from both a research and a practical perspective (F.J. García, local team leader in implementation), and aim to identify the interplay between these two dimensions. The policy perspective (M. Jimenez) will complement the case presentation.

Subsequently, the DZLM (German Center for Mathematics Teacher Education, will present its approach of a central institution that provides teacher training in mathematics in a federally organized country (Germany).

Structures for funding: The DZLM was initiated and is funded by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung (, a corporate foundation centred on improving STEM-education. On the recommendation of a panel of experts for ‘Mathematics across the Educational Chain’, the foundation created the DZLM in 2011 as a nationwide centre aiming at general quality standards for teacher training.

Structures for research and development: The DZLM develops long-lasting, research-based, continuing PD programmes especially for multipliers by combining the expertise of researchers at eight universities throughout Germany. The presentation will show how they work together across eight universities in different departments – some of them specialised on topics at specific school levels, others on concepts for research (also at PhD level), online-resources or networking. The departments cooperate with a network of developers and researchers from practice and other universities.

Structures for dissemination: To disseminate the courses at a large scale and to ensure their practicability for the target group, the DZLM cooperates closely with the education authorities in the different federal states, strengthened with the help of specific local coordinators and federal delegates from education policy. As an example for the dissemination of a material-based PD-program in several states, the DZLM-project PIKAS for primary schools will present how they offer the federal states different modular cooperation forms – both from the research and practice perspectives (Ch. Selter, The case will be complemented by the view from the policy perspective.

Questions for panel discussion:

  • Which structures have proven to be efficient, which have not?
  • What challenges do you face despite these structures for cooperation, despite long-term professional development courses and combination off- and on-job phases?

Questions for group discussion:

  • Which structures do you use in your countries? Which have proven to be efficient, which have not?
  • Why are they more or less effective?
  • Which challenges do you face in your country when implementing such scaling-up initiatives?
  • Could structures be transferred from one country to another? What is context-specific and what is general?
  • What makes a structure? Which are key elements of a workable structure?
  • Which theories can be used and have proven to be effective when tackling the structural dimension for scaling-up professional development?
University Klagenfurt
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The project mascil has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement n°320693