This year’s global pandemic exposed as never before the urgent need to revolutionise teacher training as skills centres and vocational education and training schools were closed around the world, forcing a sudden switch to online learning.
Countries that had already started investing heavily online and blended education (where digitally-based distance learning is combined with practical training when and where possible) were better positioned to cope with the sudden shift off-campus, says Julian Stanley, a European Training Foundation expert in teaching and teacher training.
As this week’s ETF focus on teacher training gets underway with a raft of online events, including a webinar on Wednesday November 18 on ‘Exploring distance and online learning in Central Asia’ and a session on Friday, November 20 ‘Should we change our approach to summative assessment?’, he details the work the ETF had been doing to support the continuous professional development (CPD) of teachers in this most challenging of years.
“At a high level, we’ve been doing an international survey of teachers, their views and their working conditions, called ‘Listening to Teachers'”, Mr Stanley said.
Part of a two year pilot project with teachers in countries including Algeria, Tunisia, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Belarus and Turkey, the survey is designed to provide policymakers, authorities and vocational schools with a better understanding of the training and professional support needs teachers and skills trainers require today.
There has also been a scheme to support teachers and those involved in teacher training policy to better understanding how teachers can be supported through networks and peer-to-peer learning at a time of rapid change in the demands facing the profession.
“We’ve addressed such issues as how to do distance teacher training, teacher welfare, the opening and closure of schools during lockdowns – a raft of things to find out where teachers are now and to explore through international webinars different approaches and practices.”