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Thursday, December 08, 2016

‘We have 20th century teachers educating 21st century students: we must improve professional development’ | TES News

If we are to better educate our kids, we need first to better educate their educators, says Tom Whitby, author, educator, blogger and founder of #edchat.

The flipped classroom; maker movement; project-based learning; blended learning; student-centered learning; hour of code; collaboration; direct instruction; and lecture: there are passionate teachers advocating each of these methods as the best way for kids to learn. I am sure there are others I have not mentioned.

Each of these methods to teach can be effective with many groups of students. The burning question should be, however, which is the best way to affect the greatest education reform? The focus for change in education seems to be in finding a way to best teach our students. The focus is targeting student learning. That assumes that once that method is found all will be right with the world of education and PISA (the Program for International Student Assessment) be damned.

I think that may be the wrong focus for reform. I believe that if we want to affect the greatest number of students by the way they are taught, we need to better educate their educators about the way they teach.

A combination of several methods might be the best path for students to learn. The focus should target what and how we teach teachers, not students. There are hundreds of thousands of educators who are familiar with many, if not all of the strategies mentioned here. Many are aware through their social media connections. The problem is that there are millions of educators who are far less connected, informed, or educated. Many of the uninformed educators may be far less connected to communities where discussions and collaboration with these topics go on daily.

I am becoming more of the belief that, at this point in time, we are not going to get all educators connecting, collaborating and creating through digital connections with other educators around the world. We do need to look at the benefits of these digital connections and find a way to create that resulting collaboration within the schools in which our teachers work without digitally connecting, those who will not connect.

Collaboration has become an integral part of professional development. We need to not only endorse collaboration, but we need to support it. It is a key to adult learning and teachers are adults. We must approach all PD through andragogy, an adult’s learning, and not pedagogy, a child’s learning. Teach adults as adults. 
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Source: TES News