Are Teacher Upskilling & Students Learning Interlinked
A skilled teacher would know how to apply the strategies of differentiation and ensure that each student learns at their preferred pace and medium
The simple answer is - 100 per cent yes. Teacher upskilling and student learning are not only interlinked but the latter is heavily dependent upon the former. Student learning, in principle, is the process by which students acquire and retain measurable skills, attitudes and knowledge.
Given that this process often requires a teacher’s involvement to be successful, teacher upskilling is of utmost criticality. Let’s look at an example: Every student has their own pace and medium of learning. An unskilled teacher won’t be able to identify the different needs of different students to enable maximum learning for each.
A skilled teacher, on the other hand, would know how to apply the strategies of differentiation and ensure that each student learns at their preferred pace and medium. A teacher's influence on students' learning outcomes and ability to succeed in school has been thoroughly documented and well-researched throughout the world.
Teacher quality matters
There is a wealth of research showing that the most significant factor in student achievement is teacher quality. Even the Coleman report evidently points out that ‘the quality of teachers shows a stronger relationship than school facilities and curricula, to pupil achievement’.
If we look carefully, teacher quality is directly related to the intellectual, social, emotional, academic and cognitive growth of teachers. Teachers need to step out of their comfort zone and upgrade themselves with relevant skills to deliver and meet the challenges of our time. For example, post-pandemic, most schools have adopted the blended learning approach, i.e. combining traditional face-to-face instruction with technology. However, for teachers, it is not just about incorporating technology into teaching. They also need to ensure that students self-learn beyond the classroom by using similar technology.
It goes without saying that student learning is improved by better teachers. If we want to hold students to high standards, we must be able to guarantee that the teachers who work with them meet a similarly high level of standards.
Hand-in-hand with the new age learners
We need to assess the skill level of our teachers to help students become adopters and adapters to the new global order and developing technologies.
They need to understand how to give their students access to technologically-aided learning opportunities. Today's students carry out their own research, speak with experts, and produce projects on their own with the help of the internet. They require direction and facilitation from their teacher. Teachers must acquire facilitation skills to aid their students in thinking, communicating and participating in the learning process.
They should have the skills to transform static learning spaces into active learning hubs, utilising approaches like reflective, integrative, flipped, blended, and hybrid teaching. With new innovations appearing in education technology every day, teachers have to grow their skills simultaneously.
Improved classroom experiences
As new tools and technology keep emerging, learning and adapting is essential. The use of technology for content development, content delivery, collaboration, and evaluation helps teachers teach more effectively. Having access to and knowledge of such technology helps teachers improve classroom experiences and feel confident in teaching.
It enables them to look at the components of a classroom environment and design lesson plans that maximise student learning and support greater digital literacy.
For example, in the last couple of years, we have witnessed an explosion of new educational technologies (EdTech). In a 21st-century classroom, teachers need to incorporate these technologies, such as online calendars, virtual classrooms, online assessments, and gamified learning. By integrating these technologies into the regular curriculum and ongoing activities, teachers can make learning more fun and collaborative.
Upskilling is hence crucial for teachers today for them to understand when and how using current educational technology can help them cater to the learning needs of their students in the best way possible.
We need to focus on having high-quality teachers in the classrooms – ones who constantly upskill and thus always remain relevant to the education system, catering to the needs of today’s students.
Our education policy has placed a strong emphasis on improving teachers' skills through CPD and other upskilling means. It is time for teachers to go outside of their comfort zones and take charge of their own professional development, not just for themselves,
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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