An evaluation of the FOLA-lessons at the Atert Lycée Redange. Identifying success factors and areas for improvement towards better practice.
FOLA-lessons (Follow-up Learning Activities) at the Atert Lycée Redange consist of a number of weekly lessons in which students are expected to complete a series of tasks. These lessons are meant to reduce social inequality in order to provide students with equal opportunities to do their homework inside the school, especially for those who lack an adequate learning environment at home. In addition to this goal, quite a number of other aims and objectives were initially set for the FOLA-lessons and the use of a week-plan.
The present project is both qualitative and quantitative as the methodology used consisted in three different steps. A first step consisted in observing FOLA-lessons with different classes and teachers. Secondly, based on these empirical observations, two questionnaires were designed in order to shed light on the beliefs and attitudes of students and teachers in and towards FOLA-lessons. Two more questionnaires exploring teachers’ and parents’ attitudes are also occasionally referred to in our analysis. Thirdly, interviews with teachers were carried out in order to get a better understanding of the answers provided in the above-mentioned questionnaires.
Based on the data collected, this travail de candidature explores the positive aspects as well as the limitations of FOLA-lessons with regard to the initial learning objectives that this project identified based on the school’s archives. The impacts of FOLA-lessons were divided into four main categories, namely teacher-student relationships, learner autonomy, personalised instruction and cooperative interactions.
The outcome speaks in favour of an attitudinal shift within the school community. Focus on practice should develop into focus on deliberate practice, where teachers are to adopt autonomy-supportive rather than controlling strategies, thus encouraging students to self-regulate their learning with greater responsibility in order to develop more learner autonomy. This travail de candidature clarifies the concept of FOLA and suggests areas of action towards better practice in FOLA-lessons with regard to the learner, the week-plan and the teacher. It highlights the importance of learner variables such as student empowerment, self-regulation skills and social skills facilitating cooperative interactions. The week-plan also plays a role towards better practice in FOLA-lessons by providing clear instructions and success criteria, but also engaging and appropriately challenging tasks as well as prior scaffolding in class. Finally, teachers should also be made aware of their impact, which can be enhanced thanks to their psychological skills, positive classroom management, autonomy-supportive strategies and a greater synergy within the teaching staff. Analyses and hands-on advice provided throughout this travail de candidature are meant to raise students’ and teachers’ awareness of their actual impact as well as strategies they can implement to make the most out the opportunities which FOLA-lessons provide.