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Teacher Education, Professional Development & Best-Practice in Traditional and Virtual Learning Environments 1st ELFE Conference 22-23 November 2004 Brussels.

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Presentation on theme: "Teacher Education, Professional Development & Best-Practice in Traditional and Virtual Learning Environments 1st ELFE Conference 22-23 November 2004 Brussels."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teacher Education, Professional Development & Best-Practice in Traditional and Virtual Learning Environments 1st ELFE Conference November 2004 Brussels

2 ELFE -Aims Determination of how ICT can improve teaching The presentation of and debate on good practices The analysis of dilemmas, obstacles and opportunities

3 What do you Think? As the winds of change penetrate the very roots of information technology, instructional technology is now being defined as a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organisation for analysing problems, and devising, implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to these problems, in institutions in which learning is purposive and controlled. As the winds of change penetrate the very roots of information technology, instructional technology is now being defined as a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organisation for analysing problems, and devising, implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to these problems, in institutions in which learning is purposive and controlled. As instructional technology continues to reinvent itself, such transformation demands a bridge among ideas, disciplines, people, texts, processes...contexts, educational purposes and outcomes, theory and praxis (Semali & Pailliotet, 1999). As instructional technology continues to reinvent itself, such transformation demands a bridge among ideas, disciplines, people, texts, processes...contexts, educational purposes and outcomes, theory and praxis (Semali & Pailliotet, 1999). Many traditional teaching and learning methodologies which are found effective need to be re-examined within this new context. Many traditional teaching and learning methodologies which are found effective need to be re-examined within this new context.

4 Teacher Preparation in Ireland Teacher preparation in Ireland changed little for the hundred years following the establishment of the major teacher training colleges in the 1870s and 1880s. One commentator noted that up to the 1960s, the preparation of students for primary- school teaching was carried out in an atmosphere little different from that of a boarding school and subject to the same irksome restrictions. It was monastic in its insistence on the observance of times for rising and sleeping, for meals and leisure. The curriculum was limited and the arts largely ignored (McElligott, 1986)

5 Teacher Preparation in Ireland The approach in Ireland up to the 1970s fitted into a seminaristic or école normale tradition, which was common in many other European countries. The approach in Ireland up to the 1970s fitted into a seminaristic or école normale tradition, which was common in many other European countries. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the restructuring of teacher education in the 1970s was the opportunity provided to shift from the view that teacher education was rooted primarily in a training mould to one in which professional development (though it might not have been very well defined) was accorded privilege.

6 Teacher Preparation in the EU Teacher preparation in the countries of the European Union is relevant to a consideration of teaching in Ireland since a Directive of the Union (89/48/EC), which came into effect in 1991, and guarantees mutual recognition of teacher qualifications between countries on certain conditions. (January 1 st. 2005).

7 Teacher Preparation in the EU Teacher education in European Union countries is complex and diverse, sometimes even within individual countries, a situation that probably owes more to historical, political, economic, cultural, and religious factors than to any clearly articulated rationales relating to teacher preparation. While the core of teacher education has not changed much in recent years, almost all systems are undergoing change of some kind or another in an atmosphere of debate and uncertainty (Buchberger, 1994; Buchberger et al, 2000; Coolahan, 1991, 1995, 2000).

8 Teacher Preparation in the EU A number of issues are to be found in debates in several EU countries. 1.Programmes are criticized for failing to integrate theory and application. Courses in subject matter, teaching methods, foundation studies and ICT are usually delivered independently, and little effort is made to interpret their significance for the practice of teaching or future planning in professional development. 2.The need for continuous professional development is neglected. In adopting a rucksack philosophy; and static conceptions of teacher education, it is assumed that initial preparation can equip prospective teachers with all the skills and knowledge they will require to carry out the tasks of the teaching profession and the challenges of society over a life-long career, and provide them with the problem-solving capacity they will need to deal with the rapidly changing tasks of teaching and of the teaching profession that can be expected in the coming years. In adopting a rucksack philosophy; and static conceptions of teacher education, it is assumed that initial preparation can equip prospective teachers with all the skills and knowledge they will require to carry out the tasks of the teaching profession and the challenges of society over a life-long career, and provide them with the problem-solving capacity they will need to deal with the rapidly changing tasks of teaching and of the teaching profession that can be expected in the coming years.

9 Teacher Preparation in the EU A number of issues are to be found in debates in several EU countries. 3.Initial preparation, professional development, research, and further higher award work for teachers are not related. 4.The period available for initial preparation is regarded as inadequate. 5. Finally, structures to relate initial education and schools are limited Quo vadis?

10 Professional Development Many modern theorists focus on the importance of teachers becoming involved in the process of educational change. Malcolm Knowles (1984), Michael Fullan (1991; 1993), Parker Palmer (1999), and Donald Schon (1983; 1987) Many modern theorists focus on the importance of teachers becoming involved in the process of educational change. Malcolm Knowles (1984), Michael Fullan (1991; 1993), Parker Palmer (1999), and Donald Schon (1983; 1987) Drawing on their collective wisdom, educational change requires improving the ongoing professional development of the adults who facilitate student learning. Drawing on their collective wisdom, educational change requires improving the ongoing professional development of the adults who facilitate student learning. The necessity of nurturing teachers and providing positive support for their ongoing professional development. The necessity of nurturing teachers and providing positive support for their ongoing professional development. The emphasis is that change needs to come from the inside, from the teachers themselves as they seek answers to questions concerning improving their professional practice. The emphasis is that change needs to come from the inside, from the teachers themselves as they seek answers to questions concerning improving their professional practice.

11 Professional Development Inside-out Model International Best-Practice and my own experience affirms a picture of an inside-out model of professional development in ICT, which includes: International Best-Practice and my own experience affirms a picture of an inside-out model of professional development in ICT, which includes: process over product; process over product; helping participants to feel comfortable and engaged as ICT invades their domains; helping participants to feel comfortable and engaged as ICT invades their domains; teachers reflecting on their learning and seeking to improve their own practice in times of change; teachers reflecting on their learning and seeking to improve their own practice in times of change; teachers processing new ROLES and information and collaborating with students and colleagues; teachers processing new ROLES and information and collaborating with students and colleagues; and supervisors participating in the process of inquiry, reflection, and collegiality. and supervisors participating in the process of inquiry, reflection, and collegiality.

12 Best-Practice in ICT & Prof. Dev. 1.Best practice is teacher-centred. Across the curriculum, teachers' own questions and fears in ICT should take precedence over studying content arbitrarily selected by people removed from the reality of ICT in classrooms. 2.Best practice is experiential. Active, hands-on, concrete experience provides the most powerful and natural form of learning. Teachers should be immersed in the most direct possible experience of the ICT content and future possibilities of every subject. 3.Best practice is holistic and meaningful. People learn best when they encounter whole ideas, events, and materials in purposeful contexts, not by studying portions isolated from actual use. 4.Best practice is authentic and encultured. Real, rich, complex ideas and materials are at the heart of the curriculum. Lessons or textbooks that ignore ICT, water down, control, or oversimplify content ultimately disempower students and teachers.

13 Best-Practice in ICT & Prof. Dev. 5.Best practice is expressive. To fully assimilate ideas, construct meaning, and remember information, teachers must regularly employ the whole range of communicative activities -- speech, writing, dance, drama, music, ICT, movement, and visual arts. 6.Best practice is reflective. Balancing immersion in experience and expression must be opportunities for learners to reflect, debrief, and abstract from their experiences what they have felt and thought and learned. 7.Best practice is social. Learning is always socially constructed and often interactional; teachers need to create and allow the construction of classroom interactions that scaffold learning for all partners involved. 8.Best practice is collaborative. Cooperative learning activities tap the social power of learning better than competitive and individualistic approaches. 9.Best practice is democratic. The ICT-enhanced classroom is a model community where role reversal, role renewal, role creation and role innovation are all equal and acceptable and welcomed in society.

14 Best-Practice in ICT & Prof. Dev. 10. Best practice is cognitive. The most powerful learning comes when people develop true understandings of concepts through higher order thinking associated with various fields of inquiry and through self-monitoring of their thinking. 11. Best practice is developmental. Humans grow through a series of definable but not rigid stages, and professional development programmes should fit their activities to the developmental levels of its collaborators. KISS ! 12. Best practice is constructivist. Children do not just receive content; in a very real sense, they re-create and reinvent every cognitive system they encounter, including language, literacy, and mathematics. Professional Development programmes in ICT must take cognisance of this reality as roles are obscured, challenged, re-invented. 13. Best practice is challenging. Teachers learn best when faced with genuine challenges, choices, and responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others.

15 Traditionality Versus Virtuality When you watch students slogging through textbooks, memorising lists, being lectured at, and working on isolated skills, you begin to realise that nothing bears a greater responsibility for undermining educational excellence than the continued dominance of traditional instruction. (Strickland & Strickland, 1998) Strickland & Strickland, 1998Strickland & Strickland, 1998

16 My Experiences in TLE and OLE Hibernia College, Dublin, Ireland. Initial Teacher Preparation and ICT and Practicum. Students Perceptions based on experience. Preparing Teachers for the Society which does not yet exist in classrooms of the 21 st. Century. MIC. Univ. Lk. & TCD Ireland TLE OLE Confidence, Competence, Completeness

17 ICT and True Integration When technology is truly integrated into instruction, teacher preparation and professional development, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

18 ICT and True Integration Humans are powerful and computers are powerful, and together, they are extremely powerful (Tanguay, 1997).

19 Teacher Education, Professional Development & Best-Practice in Traditional and Virtual Learning Environments Dr. Daithi Ó Murchú 1st ELFE Conference November 2004 Brussels Quality Holistic Futuristic Responsible


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