Innovative impact: Learning Circles create joy in Swiss classrooms through creative formative assessment practices

published 15 January 2024 updated 2 May 2024

Concluding at the end of 2023, the Teacher-led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project in Switzerland took a distinctive form. Containing only one circle composed of one facilitator and two primary school teachers, the small scale of the circle project in Switzerland did not prevent the teachers involved from having a large impact.

Through participating in seven workshops, three tutorials and two in-person networking events, teachers involved in the T3LFA project in Switzerland developed their leadership projects to understand how to best use formative assessment to lead learning.

For one teacher in Lucerne, this involved developing a leadership project around Minecraft after listening to student’s desire to use the game in the classroom. Getting students to use Minecraft to work independently on an interdisciplinary project, that extended from Maths to Architecture, the teacher created formative competency grids so students could continually assess themselves while learning. As a result of the innovate Minecraft project, the teacher in Switzerland reported that students enjoyed coming to school as they experienced themselves as self-effective in their learning as they were involved in their own learning process and could identify with it.

The positive impacts of the creative formative development practices developed by teachers' projects in Switzerland did not remain contained to their learning circles or their classrooms. One teacher was able to share their project within their school, creating a new community of practice. Both teachers alongside the project’s facilitator in Switzerland also had the opportunity to share their reflections to a global audience by speaking about creatively using technology to invent innovative formative assessment practices on the T3LFA podcast, Pedagogies of Possibility.

In addition to this, facilitator, Monika Bieri spoke at the 2023 Schools2030 Global Forum. At the forum as well as in her blog, Monika stressed the necessity for teachers to have the dedicated time to reflect on their practices to support their students to become subjects of their learning instead of being objects of assessments.

The positive outcomes of the T3LFA project on teachers and students in Switzerland clearly shows that there is a need for teachers across the country to have access to this professional learning and development (PLD) programme. Work must continue into 2024 to ensure that teachers are supported to provide all learners with the best opportunity to succeed by supporting teacher leadership for formative assessment.

The next phase of the T3LFA project is to share the promising formative assessment practices identified by project participants in all its seven countries within and across education trade unions at the final closing conference which is scheduled to take place from 8 to 10 November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Want to find out more or even keep up to date with the next phase of the project? Visit the T3LFA project page on the EI website.