Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Teachers’ Guide

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Table of Content

Chapter 1: Contemporary learners and learner-centred learning
1.3 The emerging mission of education
The changes in the beginning of the 21st century, developing globalization have caused the changes in labour market. Traditional approach which defines good education as formal education achievements is replaced by the concept of 21st century skills. World Economic Forum has drawn a vision of education referring 21st century skills and broadening the understanding of teacher’s role. The experts of World Economic Forum claim that the ability to apply knowledge, cope with challenges and adapt to the changes in the environment is of crucial importance and should be the focus of education. How students apply their skills to everyday tasks is called foundational literacies, e.g. skills of literacy, numeracy, scientific literacy, ICT literacy, financial literacy, and cultural and civic literacy. Competences represent the way in which students approach complex challenges. There are four basic competencies, e.g. critical thinking and problem solving, creativity, communication and collaboration. Character qualities represent the way in which student approach their changing environment. Curiosity, initiative, persistence, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness are the crucial character qualities in todays’ society. It is a challenge for a teacher to embrace all these skills. How education should look like in order to meet the needs of contemporary pupils and challenges of labour market?

Firstly, teachers have to apply the knowledge of cognitive psychology, i.e. how pupils learn, how their cognitive processes operate. Learning should be attractive, and engaging. Secondly, teachers have to cooperate by using web 2.0 possibilities, especially social networking and educational resources created by the users. Thirdly, learning has to be related to the application of ICT, and then students are likely to treat it as real and relevant to everyday life. Fourthly, education has to be organized by integrating the subject, by merging general and subject competences. STEAM is one of the best examples of effective subject integration. Fifthly, learning materials should incorporate the problems of sustainable development, such as the change of climate, ecology, etc. because the Z generation care about the world they live in.

Increasing requirements for educational content encourage teachers to choose untraditional methods of education, such as problem based or case study based learning. All these methods reveal a typical focus on a student: his/her activity, experience, initiative, consciousness.

Today teachers work with the awareness of responsibility for students with a wide and varied range of learning abilities. Furthermore, they have been taking consciousness of the fact that they cannot rely on a school year-round support by experts as regards taking care of students with behavioural issues, learning disorders, and attention deficit tendencies. Teachers must develop styles which can work well in different classrooms, aiming at effectiveness of teaching methods which can reach both gifted and slow-learning students. The development of new teaching styles is fostered by many resources, among which the most challenging are ICT and social networking, together with a great number of applications created to give further impulse to learning 'willingly'. The wonderment of teaching, what author/educator Dr. Harry Wong refers to as “that ah-ha moment” when a child “gets it,” is one of the most rewarding and seemingly elusive benefits of becoming a teacher. Nevertheless, taking up an even bigger job than just educators has turned out to be so demanding that it has led many teachers to feel exhausted, burn out, defeated. Whereas any new teaching way and innovative method can be a very good solution to motivate students, at the same time, any teaching way and innovative method may lose effectiveness if the human factor, the teacher, does not keep up with the role.

Our conclusion is that researching and creating new educational strategies and styles must be carried out together with giving value and voice to teachers, providing them with growth opportunities and empowering their own strengths, because a positive teacher, happy at work, represents the guiding light for students, and provides them with hope and the tools they will need to succeed well beyond their school-bound years.
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