Five takeaways from INTED 2019
Last month, Abdul Karim Kadiri (M&E Officer) and Dr. Sam Awuku (Key Adviser for Institutional Reform) were pleased to share findings from research on the perceptions of Ghana’s newly-qualified teachers and on the role of quality assurance processes in strengthening teacher education at the 2019 International Technology, Education and Development (INTED) Conference in Valencia. Participants came from 75 different countries so there was a wide range of ideas and information on education across many different contexts which made us reflect on ongoing efforts in Ghana’s teacher education system and the education system more broadly.
The two keynote speakers set the scene and gave us a lot of food for thought. Professor Barbara Oakley used animation to explain how understanding the way in which learning changes the physical structure of the brain can inform how lessons are structured, while Eric Sheninger shared lessons on the need for educational practice to evolve at the same pace as other aspects of our lives, particularly the importance of leadership in setting an example for staff and moving things forward.
Here are five takeaways that made us reflect on the work T-TEL is doing and think ahead about the future of education in Ghana:
- Embedding practical elements into a curriculum enhances the learning experience of students. Evidence from the integration of mentoring and coaching into the core curriculum of a business studies course in the UK indicates it enhances the employability skills of students. As with the increased focus on teaching practice during the B.Ed. degree, students are developed practical skills which are directly relevant to work and can be applied to other aspects of their life, throughout their life.
- Quality assurance processes play a key role in improving the potential for learning. When linked to performance assessment, these processes can motivate lecturers to strengthen their learning environments, as we have found here in Ghana and as a literature review from colleagues in Spain highlights.
- Teacher education curriculum must align with the curriculum they will be teaching once they complete their studies. An example from Slovenia highlighted that problems arise when there is a disconnect between the content used to prepare biology teachers and what they are then expected to teach in biology classes.
- Young people are innovative and can be the leaders of today, not tomorrow. Encouraging emotional and social intelligence in the classroom inspires pupils’ participation in learning. Using an empowerment approach, the employability skills of young people in a Singapore Polytechnic were enabled to become global citizens supporting local communities across the world through problem-solving.
- Technology can be an effective tool to enhance approaches to teaching and learning. It can take on many different forms, from augmented reality to the use of multimedia resources. However, there should be a national policy, as in the case of Saudi Arabia, on how to use it – those teaching with it and those using it to learn must be comfortable with how it works so it improves teaching and learning, not a hindrance.