The future of teaching: 3 key takeaways from the Teacher Task Force Forum

To develop the skills now needed by learners, teaching practices need to evolve. Here are 3 takeaways on teaching practices for the future.

February 06, 2020 by Gerd-Hanne Fosen, Norad and Abdelrahman Almedaires, Centre régional pour la qualité et l'excellence en éducation
5 minutes read
Last December the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 convened its 12th Policy Dialogue Forum under the theme “The Futures of Teaching”.
Last December the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 convened its 12th Policy Dialogue Forum under the theme “The Futures of Teaching”. Here, a participant takes the floor.
Hamdan Foundation

Across the globe, the purposes of learning are evolving with the inclusion of concepts like innovation, preparedness, empowerment, ethical behavior and societal transformation.

As a result, the learning goals and skill sets of the future are uprooting accepted wisdoms about what is expected of teachers, how they should teach and even what form the classroom might take.

Last December in Dubai, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 convened its 12th Policy Dialogue Forum under the theme “The Futures of Teaching” to discuss these very questions.

The opening session of the 12th Policy Dialogue Forum
The opening session of the 12th Policy Dialogue Forum
Hamdan Foundation

Participants discuss teaching practices for the future

During the 3-day forum, we heard from teachers, education stakeholders, experts and policymakers, including ministers of education, from around the world to further understand how changes in thinking around the purposes of learning, and the expectations for teachers in the future, have concretely impacted teaching practices.

We also questioned whether there is a universal truth on what the future of teaching will look like globally.

Through the week of discussions and exchanges, we saw that many countries are already forging paths ahead – recognizing that learners today need much more than academic knowledge, and putting this realization at the center of their education philosophy and pedagogy.

We see that the role of teachers in many countries is already transforming and moving far beyond the act of imparting the knowledge needed for academic success. Dr. Maszlee bin Malik, Minister of Education of Malaysia, was keen to note that “the future is the present [and] this means that education practices need to catch up with current and future demands of society and labor markets”.

Monserrat Creamer, Minister of Education of Ecuador, insisted that “a change in paradigm is needed to bring values back to education; living together, peace and solidarity. This can be coupled with –and not against– technological change: digital citizenship is a fundamental line of work for teachers and learners, to foster participation and motivation.”

Key takeaway 1: no one-size-fits all

First, there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to imagining solutions to these challenges. Mohamed Elamin Ahmed Mohamed Eltom, Minister of Education of Sudan, reminded participants that “context is critical and education must respond to the needs of the country.”

The co-existence of multiple realities and countries advancing at different speeds was underscored. The challenges for teachers individually and collectively, and the teaching profession more generally, are of a qualitatively and quantitatively different nature in low resource countries compared to more advanced economies.

Displacements and migration caused by economic instability, climate change, conflicts, political crises and acute health concerns continue to cause major disruptions to teaching and learning, and can exacerbate existing inequalities in education outcomes.

Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley, Minister of Education from the British Virgin Islands, stressed that “being an island affected by climate change poses additional challenges to those already faced as, for example, 90% of educational infrastructure was destroyed by the devastating Category 5 hurricane of 2017”.

William Mushobya, teacher at Jamhuri Primary School in Kenya, explained that his school “handles a lot of refugee children who come with issues of trauma and psychosocial issues and do not match in age with those other age levels since they dropped out of schools. The school has also noticed that children from conflict areas have limited social skills and need a lot of guidance and counselling.”

Key takeaway 2: equity must be a central concern

Second, the urgency of accelerating progress towards SDG 4 means that all governments must now consider innovative and cost-effective approaches to teaching and learning that generate more equitable and immediate impact.

The education stakeholders at the Forum underlined the need for smart education and teaching policies that anticipate the full implications of emerging trends for the design of their teacher policies, the organization and management of the education workforce and education systems more broadly.

They recognized the need for clearly defined standards and guidelines for teacher education and career advancement, and access for teachers to continuous, quality, and relevant professional development opportunities.

Dr. Eugene Mulimura, Minister of Education of Rwanda, intervenes during a panel discussion on innovations and their implications for teacher education and practice
Dr. Eugene Mulimura, Minister of Education of Rwanda, intervenes during a panel discussion on innovations and their implications for teacher education and practice
Hamdan Foundation

Dr. Eugène Mutimura, Minister of Education of Rwanda, emphasized the “need to focus on the professionalization of teachers by means of teacher training (and credits for this) and Continuous Professional Development, and attracting the best talents to the teaching profession, including through teacher academies and innovation awards as well as school-based mentors.”

Participants re-affirmed their commitment to classrooms that do not perpetuate the cycle of exclusion of vulnerable and ‘at-risk’ children, to address the unique learning needs of all students, including children with disabilities, to promote positive role models and to avoid stereotypes that diminish the status of certain population groups or undermine learning.

To this end, forum participants pledged to provide teachers with the necessary tools, resources and pedagogic and psychosocial skills to use the new technologies in the classrooms of the future in a fair, safe, ethical and just manner. They also pledged to provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure this can occur, particularly in marginalized and disadvantaged schools and communities.

Dr. Abdulla Rasheed Ahmed, Minister of State for Education of Maldives, stated that his country had established a new inclusive education department that will help monitor and address inequality.

Key takeaway 3: working in partnership is crucial

Finally, arguments were made for stronger partnerships with civil society, including the meaningful involvement of parents and local communities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to expand access to quality education and to support teachers.

Dr. Maszlee bin Malik stated that “Education is no longer the responsibility of only schools and teachers, but communities, agencies, society, and not only the Ministry of Education, but ministries of agriculture, science, culture… They need to come together in equipping teachers and learners with relevant skills.”

All these agreements and recommendations are summed up in the Dubai Declaration on the Futures of Teaching, unanimously adopted by the Teacher Task Force’s members during the closing of the Forum.

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A very good article which enlightens the need and demands of the future of education.

Thank you for sharing such great information.

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