Global dialogue in support of the teaching profession

The 8th annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession to be held in Lisbon Portugal on 22-23 March is once again a good opportunity to discuss the teaching profession between those who represent teachers and those who represent governments

Discussions will be based on earlier summits and on recognition that the teaching profession is at the heart of the mission of education nbsp ldquoSchools at the Centre of their Communitiesrdquo ldquoPedagogies for the Futurerdquo and ldquoTeachers well-being confidence and effectivenessrdquo are the three themes of the summit nbsp Schools and Communitiesunderlines the ties between public schools and the communities that they serve Schools are part of the community and have a very important contribution to make often in challenging areas These include social cohesion tolerance integration and strengthening active citizenship Quality education for students in all schools including the most disadvantaged ones requires development of and respect for the teaching profession Pedagogies for the Future will be a discussion about innovations by teachers and not a simple focus on technology There have been situations in which the work of the teaching profession has been influenced and distracted by the ldquooversightrdquo or ldquotrackingrdquo capacity of technology It is too often driven by technical possibilities or even the interests of vendors and a handful of giant internet companies This discussion is an opportunity to move towards placing the technology in the context of tools to be used to enhance the profession Such a sensible approach would be helpful in the current situation as well as for a future with the expansion of the use of artificial intelligence Information and communication technology ICT influences the learning environment as the internet becomes a growing source of information There have been problems with the accuracy and quality of the information supplied via the web The sheer volume of often unverified information available makes critical thinking even more central to education as students need to be able to filter information and make independent judgements Teacher well-being confidence efficacy and effectiveness is an important new area for summit discussions It is critical because the issues have great impact on the exercise of the profession of teaching and therefore on students and the quality of education Enhancing teacher well-being requires identifying factors that have negative effects and to the extent possible removing them It also means creating a positive supportive learning and teaching environment Many long-standing professional and working conditions issues have been sources of stress for example class sizes lack of preparation time and support There are also stress factors in some approaches to reform If the school environment becomes more competitive and less collaborative or if teachers are placed under pressure by mis-guided evaluation processes teaching and learning are often victims In an Education International EI survey on the status of teachers the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union KTU made that point ldquoFirst competitive culture has been introduced to the teaching professionhelliplike merit-bonus payment standardised testing teacher evaluation systemshellip Government policy makers wanted to showa big effort to bring innovative change among teachers but it has resulted in no positive fruit Rather those policies have played a role to break the cooperative culture among teachers Second studentsrsquo interest in learning has declined because of teaching to the test It has brought about studentsrsquo bad behaviour that teachers canrsquot controlhelliprdquo A major 2011 survey under the auspices of the European Trade Union Committee for Education ETUCE EIrsquos European Region conducted with the participation of more than 5000 teachers in 30 European Union EU and European Free Trade Association EFTA countries showed several sources of stress many of which were job related In the area of job satisfaction the survey revealed that the most important factor was ldquotrust and fairnessrdquo That is an area that should be able to be effectively addressed and improved In many countries cooperative efforts are being made to identify and reduce the impact of that lack of confidence and other stress risk factors Stress for teachers is not inevitable In the right environment teaching is an enormously satisfying profession What is more rewarding than making a difference for a child building understanding social skills and development Supporting teachers and enabling them to fully exercise their profession will improve the quality of education boost the status of teachers and help attract and retain talented and motivated people to the profession The International Summit on the Teaching Profession ISTP shows the irreplaceable value of serious exchanges among representative parties The shared values of governments and teachers inspire us all When applied to policy discussions they can build confidence and produce results for students but also lay the foundations for fair free and decent societies The presentation on quotNew challenges and opportunities facing the teaching profession in public educationquot given by EI39s consultant John Bangs at ISTP is available here twitter976747003634966528twitter nbsp

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