Teacher, learner, and motivation in education yesterday, today, and tomorrow
Read the report by Jolanta Gałecka from the international expert conference in Bratislava ‘Teacher, learner, and motivation in education yesterday, today, and tomorrow’:
I was invited to an international expert conference it Bratislava ‘Teacher, learner, and motivation in education yesterday, today, and tomorrow’. Organised by The Catholic University in Ružomberok and the Society of Dr. Josef Raabe Slovakia it attracted over 250 people and was really professionally prepared, with translators and touch-screen presentations.
The conference addressed the ever-changing position of the teacher, stating that the change of learner character required a different approach in didactic methods of teachers. The speakers defined the educational needs for educators and the introduction of new perspectives for education in the 21st century as well as identifying and interpreting the motivation factors influencing the process of learning, teaching and presentation of new trends in school education. They also presented an analysis of the changes in school legislation.
The aim of the conference was to identify current educational needs of learners and teachers and suggest effective solutions leading towards a better quality in the process of education.
And it turns out the needs are the same everywhere: financial problems need to be overcome, legislation needs to take on a new perspective and approach to education, teachers need to grasp the changes and embrace them, teaching needs to be more relevant, learners kept more engaged and curious. We need digital textbooks and we need technology as a tool to accompany all the changes in education.
Education itself needs to be redefined. The legal process of accepting the curricula, educating teachers and establishing financial means are a huge impediment and changes are not happening quickly in those departments. We also need to understand the young generation and stop seeing them as something worse, less developed or hastier than ourselves. We need to accept their individuality and uniqueness. See them for who they are and address their needs. We need to stop panicking that they are heading towards Armageddon and that technology will destroy them. They are different just the way we were different from our parents and we need to deal with it.
And some teachers already do.
In the evening there was a party in a beautifully situated castle. About 35 teachers participated, different subjects and different school levels. There was one thing they shared in common: a passion for what they were doing. They were also all in favour of technology.
How did this happen? As passionate teachers they welcomed anything new they could try, they were open to innovation and embracing the new generation. When an invitation from Agemsoft EduLab arrived they were more than happy to participate. They had been cooperating with them for over 4 years now, educating themselves in the new methods, retraining their skills, learning technology, developing new approaches.
Trying it all live.
Now, I was sitting at the table with 9 other teachers listening to stories of their adventures. They could not imagine a day without a whiteboard. They could not imagine teaching without technology. They thought their kids were wonderful and they were discussing the end-of-the-year presents they were going to give them to show them how precious they were. They thought the kids were curious and apparently the kids thought learning was fun. They were excited to start another day and thinking of all the possibilities they could introduce, show, express in the classroom. They discussed all the options and variations out loud with the whole classroom and were never afraid of being questioned by a student. They were not afraid to ask them technological questions or ask for help if such need arose. They thought that learning had everything to do with life outside school and that it all should be intertwined. Learning should be, was, relevant.
I was in a different world. These teachers did not participate in the conference. They put into practice everything that was said during the presentations. And I couldn’t tell if they were better teachers than all the others. But I knew that they were sharing two characteristics: passion and lack of fear for change.
With the help from Agemsoft and their technology and content (based mostly on Young Digital Planet’s products) they were given the chance to develop their skills and gain access to state-of-the-art materials. Once introduced to them, they got irrevocably hooked and could not do without them.
But most importantly they thought it was a huge improvement. It changed their profession, turning it into pure pleasure and filling it with excitement. For me it was like being on a different planet, in a more developed country or in a kingdom where all the conferences were put into practice. I could see it working. All those speeches that I had been giving were actually implemented. They were doing it. Those teachers were doing it together with their students. They had created a new approach to education and enjoyed it.