Last month I received an invitation from the Norwegian Minister of Education to be part of the Norwegian delegation, as the teacher representative, at this conference. Honored to have been chosen I have started to prepare and read up on the topics that will be covered there. The event takes place in Berlin on the 3-4 of March 2016. The conference assembles governments and teacher organisations from a number of high-performing and rapidly improving school systems, as certified by recent results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This is the 6th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) and I think the first time Norway is represented. No wonder I am excited to participate. More about the conference at their website. ISTP 2016.
The main theme of the 2016 ISTP
“Teachers’ professional learning and growth: Creating the conditions to achieve quality teaching for excellent learning outcomes”. The thematic ISTP sessions will address the following questions:
- Drawing the lessons from previous Teaching Summits: what competencies – skills, knowledge and dispositions – do successful teachers require?
- Which policies help foster teachers’ competencies so that they are effectively prepared for teaching?
- Implementing policies which promote teachers’ professional learning and growth: what are the challenges and opportunities?
To prepare I have read the Schools for 21st-Century Learners, Strong Leaders, Confident Teachers, Innovative Approaches, an OECD publishing. The report is based on data and comparative analysis from several OECD publications, TALIS 2013 PISA 2012 and Innovative Learning Environments. The chapter headlines are: building responsive schools for 21st- century learners, promoting effective school leadership, strengthening teachers’ confidence in their own abilities and innovating to create 21st-century learning environments.
“Today’s teachers need to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technoloiges that have not yet been invented, and to solve social problems that haven’t arisen before. Teachers have to do more than transmit educational content: they have to cultivate students’ ability to communicate and collaborate; they have to build students’ capasity to recongnise and exploit the potential of new tenchologies, and they have to nurture the character qualites that help people to live and work together”.
One important factor in innovating schools is; promoting effective school leadership. This includes empowering teachers to play a role in decision-making at the school level, provide opportunities for, and remove barriers to, continuing professional development CPD for principals and ensure that principals receive training in, and have opportunities to assume instructional leadership.
Innovating to create 21st-century learning environments
The last chapter is for me the most interesting one, focusing on change. It starts off by stating; Innovation in education is not just a matter of putting more technology into more classrooms; it is about changing approaches to teaching so that students acquire the skills they need to thrive in competitive global economies. And I couldn’t agree more. Here are the conclusions of the study; Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) carried out by the OECD as what makes schools powerful and effective in this area:
- Make learning central, encourage engagement, and be where learners come to understand themselves as learners.
- Ensure that learning is social and often collaborative.
- Are highly attuned to learners’ motivations and the importance of emotions.
- Are acutely sensitive to individual differences, including in prior knowledge.
- Are demanding of each learner, but do not overload students with work.
- Use assessments consistent with their aims, emphasising formative feedback.
- Promote horizontal connectedness across activities and subjects, in and outside of school.
These last points go well with the three books I have been reading, Richardson, Young and Couros. It also aligns with my beliefs of what the schools of the future should strive for. I look forward to discussing this with teachers from around the world at this conference in March!