There have been a great number of changes in education systems worldwide recently. However, in Europe we have experienced a great change with the enlargement of the European Union and its consequences. The European Union has published several papers on the future of education, both at compulsory and higher education levels1. In this essay we are going to examine the influence of the changes and its consequences on teachers in compulsory education.
If we aim to have a closer look at the characteristic features of the changes, we have to examine what they are. What everybody can see at first sight is that not only European societies, but also their schools went through relevant changes. Schools used to be the source of knowledge, a place where children were educated more or less without parental control. Schools used to prepare learners for exams (both final exams in secondary education and entrance exams for university admissions). Thus, teaching was mostly exam preparation or exam training, especially in the final years of the secondary schools.
Together with the changes, new expectations appeared towards our schools. Nowadays schools need to teach their learners how to gain information and how to select and use them. This happens so quickly that students learn how to use the Internet together with their teachers. Parents are involved in decision-making so they take part in the life of the school. It is no longer enough to send the kids to school in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon. Parents have to have a view of what is happening in the educational institution. Exam preparation is still important, but for example in Hungary the entrance exams are ‘past tense', the final examinations (matura) have changed, and the concept of learning to learn has slowly become a very important element of teachers' job.
The changes that took place in schools have changed theroles of teachers, too. In the past teachers used to be the major source of knowledge, the leader and educator of their students' school life. Teachers would organise after-school activities. They used to be the authority in the class and often took over the role of parents. Nowadays, teachers provide information and show their students how to tackle them. Although they are still considered to be a kind of leader in the class, they can be thought of as facilitators in the learning process. They are supporters rather than educators and also advisors towards parents.
If we focus on the teaching process, we still realise that there are a great number of changes in this field as well, and all of them have an influence on the role of teachers. First of all, teachers in modern classrooms are no longer lecturers, they are facilitators, their main task is to set goals and organise the learning process accordingly. Then, in the past, teachers used to follow a syllabus which was compulsory for them. Nowadays, teachers have a National Curriculum, a Core Curriculum and a local (school) curriculum that they have to consider, but - on the other hand - they have independence to choose the teaching materials (textbook), make up a syllabus of their own and teach their pupils so that they can perform well both at examinations and in life. Curriculum design is a task teachers have to be prepared for, although the present generation of teachers has been growing into making up syllabi for years.
Another difference between the past and present tasks of teachers is represented by the technical background they need to be able to use and handle effectively (computer, photocopier, power point, projectors, etc). Instead of teaching chalk face, they need to be an information technology expert, a technician or/and a photocopy master.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers is that their role in the school management has also changed. The school needs them as individuals, who can make decisions and cope with the stress of the changing world of schools. At the same time teachers need to be able to work in teams, co-operate with colleagues and parents, they have to write projects to gain money for the school programmes, they have to be PR experts and need to do all these things for a modest monthly income.
The main question is how these changes manifest themselves for the society, for the participants (teachers, learners, parents) of education. One of the mentioned European Union documents deals with teachers' role in the changing process.2 This summarises the characteristic features of future teachers who are to face a brand new situation in future education. According to the document, teachers realize the changes, but it is not sure whether they are able to face the new requirements or not. In the EU documents, a great emphasis is placed on both initial and in-service teacher education programs which are to prepare teachers to meet new demands.
Teachers' knowledge base
All the above-mentioned changes have a common root. They show that it is not enough for teachers to be masters of their profession ; they also have to be the artist of it. But what is the difference between a master and an artist ? How can a teacher be both ? What are the characteristic features of god or bad teachers/teaching ? This is an evergreen question which often cannot be answered without understanding the real contexts of teaching. However, researchers have examined and described the different components of teachers' knowledge (like Roberts : 1998), the characteristic features of teachers (Hargreaves & Fullan : 1992, Falus : 1998). They have come up with the importance of content knowledge (teachers' subjects), pedagogic content knowledge (how to adapt content to the learners), general pedagogic knowledge (e.g. classroom management), curricular knowledge, contextual knowledge (the context of teaching : community expectations) and process knowledge (learning skills, observation skills, etc.). Among the characteristic features, cooperation, flexibility and the ability to relate learners appear rather important.
Teachers' needs and expectations
In the first years of the 21st century, 500 teachers have been asked to fill in a questionnaire about their teaching practices and professional needs in the southern region of Hungary3. The teachers were subject teachers of foreign languages and primary classroom teachers prepared for foreign language teaching to young learners. The main aim was to explore the differences in the ideas and practices of language teachers with different training backgrounds. Three hundred and twenty-five questionnaires were returned and a small section of the r esults will be presented here. The questionnaire included two groups of questions which aimed to reveal teacher's thoughts on the characteristic features of a good language teacher and their teaching arsenal (methods and aids they use). They were also asked about the professional needs of practising teachers. We would like to give a glance on the relationship between the answers of practising teachers and the image of future teachers in EU documents.
Surwey Question No. 4 : What are the characteristic features of good language teachers ?
On answering this question, teachers were asked to mark the 5 most important features of good language teachers out of 16. About half of the offered answers were characteristic features of teachers in general. Most teachers marked elements like good teachers ‘can explain well', ‘use relevant teaching aids', ‘make the learners work hard', ‘prepare for the lessons', ‘teach about the target language culture', etc. Teachers showed priority to content knowledge (their subject) over the general characteristic features like ‘empathy' or ‘creativity‘.
More precisely, out of all the received answers, 50 % of the teachers marked only characteristic features of a language teacher (rather than general pedagogic features). About 90 % marked ‘good target language competence'. If we examine the elements provided for teachers to choose one by one, we can see that 82 % of respondents think good language teaching methodology is very important. ‘Openness' and ‘empathy' were among the 5 most important features only in 32-34 % of the answers. The characteristic features of modern professional teachers such as open character, empathy, motivation, etc. were ranked at the back of the list. The questionnaire results reveal that language teachers think that content knowledge is by far the most important, while pedagogic knowledge and methodology are not so relevant. It is a striking point in the light of the European Union documents and, also, according to some Hungarian experts who write about the most important features of teaches. Bárdos (1985), for example, as early as 1985, expressed very similar ideas to the EU documents. He says that the characteristic features of teachers shine through their content knowledge and determine the quality of teaching. Other Hungarian researchers like Mihály (2002), Petneki (2002), Poór (2003) and Nikolov (2003) - at the time of data collection - summarise the expectations towards future teachers, and they claim that future teachers need to be open towards the needs of the learners ; they should be innovative and creative.
Survey Question No. 5 : What are teachers' needs in in-service teacher training ?
First we thought that the answer to this question would show how much teachers are aware of the fact that education and society and the requirements towards teaching are in the process of change. According to the questionnaire results, teachers think that computer skills are very important for them (47 % of the answers would need a good computer course). It is also interesting that 43 % of the answerers (who are foreign language teachers by profession) think they need to learn of another foreign language. About 31 % of the answers say that an up-to-date foreign language teaching methodology course could be useful, and 27 % would like to improve their target language skills. About one third of the answerers think that syllabus-design (planning), textbook evaluation and classroom techniques are necessary for their development as practising teachers. Another interesting feature of the answers was that 29 % of the teachers would need self-management training.
Some of the answers (computer skills, methodology course, etc.) will definitely be very important in the future, and some of them are already part of our everyday teaching life (computer skills and foreign languages). They refer to the fact that teachers are mostly interested in practical, 'right-into-teaching' skills. These answers also reveal that the answerers are not very good at computing and they do not speak (more than one) foreign languages.
On the other hand, we can say that skills and competences which seem to be fairly important in the near future in education do not really appear among the needs of practising teachers. As we asked and interviewed some final year undergraduates as well in the data collection process, we can say that there are no significant differences between the needs of practising teachers and teachers-to-be undergraduates. Neither of the groups of teachers feels that convertible and renewable content knowledge, open and pedagogically well-trained teachers are the key figures of the future education.
Teacher Education for the Future
In my view, teacher education - rather than teacher training - needs to change in the near future. Some experts say it is too late to begin the changes, as we need new competencies in teaching right now. However, if teacher education in Hungary follows its best tradition, and it remains practical, flexible and child-centred, there is a hope that the next generation of learners will get the support and skills they need in life during their schooling years from their own teachers.
The need of a generation of teachers who aim to develop learners instead of teaching them, who help their pupils to become independent (learning to learn), who provide students with motivation and interest for life-long learning and urge them to become autonomous learners, is essential in the education of the future.
The responsibility of governments, higher education institutions, and mostly teacher educators both in pre-and in-service education, is huge. European Union member states take part in several projects which help us to prepare for taking the responsibility in achieving relevant change.
BÁRDOS Jenő (1985) A kreatív tanári személyiség Pedagógiai Szemle 1985/7-8. 753-759
FALUS Iván (1998). Didaktika Budapest : Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó
HARGREAVES, A. & M.G.FULLAN (1992). Understanding Teacher Development.
MIHÁLY Ildikó (2002) Pedagógusok a változ(tat)ás kihívásai közepette Új Pedagógiai Szemle 2002/4 79-88
NIKOLOV Marianne (2003) Az idegennyelv-tanítás megújulásának hatásai Új Pedagógiai Szemle 2003. március 46-57. old.
PETNEKI Katalin (2002) Az idegen nyelvek tanításának helyzete és fejlesztésének feladatai
Új Pedagógiai Szemle 2002/7-8 p. 147-160
POÓR Zoltán (2003) Pedagógusképzés és továbbképzés a változó pedagógusszerepek tükrében
Új Pedagógiai Szemle 2003/5 pp. 50-54
ROBERTS, J. (1998) Language Teacher Education, London : Arnold •
UJLAKYNE SZUCS Éva (2005) Language Teacher Training for Lower Primary Classes in Hungary In : Forschungs und Entwicklungsarbeit band 5 of the PÄDAK Krems "lehre durch forschung/ research in teacher education national/international "pp. 615-623
Common European Principles for Teacher Competences and Qualifications
Teachers for Tomorrow's Schools (1993)
1 See Sources.
2 'Teachers meeting the challenge of change' 1998. www.teachnet.gov.uk ; see other in sources.
3 Ujlakyné Szűcs Éva (2006), The Role of ELT Teacher Training to Young Learners in Lower Primary Teacher Education, Unpublished PhD dissertation.
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Teachers play important role in our life to become successful in career and business. A good teacher helps us to become good human being in the society and good citizen of the country. Teachers know that students are the future of any nation.
So the future development of any nation is in the hands of teachers. What we become in life is depends on teachers. Teachers impart the data and information in the brain of students to analyze. Analyzing in the situation what is possible is the most important thing that we learn from teachers.
Appreciation of teachers is very important because they are most important people in the country. What we’re seeing today in business, politics, and society all affected by teachers. So, in India, we celebrate teacher day every year on 5 September on the occasion of the birth Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5 Sep 1888 – 17 April 1975).
“Teachers should be the best minds in the country” – Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Today the people are changing and their thinking and development ideas are more against nature. Now for the world, a teacher is just a teacher. Politician just speech on teachers day on the occasion and forget. People share few post on social media regarding teacher and then forget. People forget more things than they are learning from teachers.
Schools and students celebrate the teachers day occasion and appreciate the efforts teachers are doing. This is great if people should follow the lessons of teachers.
The real gift for teachers is when students become a good human being, successful in their career and business. Not all teachers are good in teaching and similarly, not all students are like “Shishya and Guru” especially in the modern era. Some teachers are great and they are always in heart of students.
Students look up to teachers for advice and guidance. Students not only interested in academic lessons but they are interested to follow their life lessons. That’s why it’s highly important for teachers to inspire students to follow good habits not bad by their own example. An education is important in everyone’s life and plays various roles in different stages of life. It’s important that people realize the importance of teachers and follow their lessons.
Related: Great Teachers are good Human Being, Professional and Leader
How teachers bring changes in student’s life
For me, teachers are the real VIP’s, not politicians. We need teachers on every step of life and career. Teachers are not only important for students but also for society. Presence of teachers in any meeting and social activities boost the moral and make the time more valuable.
Parents are also teacher where kids become what they want to be. Teachers are not only human being but they are like natural plants.
A leader is a teacher in some cases where he/ she teach how to lead a company. Parents are also teacher where kids become what they want to be. Teachers are not only human being but nature, plants, table, pen,
Teachers are not only human being but nature, plants, table, pen, the internet, society all are teachers if we see these things from the eyes of the learner.
Life is a teacher. Time is a Teacher.
It’s depending on us what we think and how we think and what is the impact of our thinking on society and our career. When we learn we become creative and creativity leads us thinking and execution of thinking make a great from good and good from average. According to what I understand so far from these lines of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
“Learning gives creativity. Creativity leads to thinking. Thinking provides knowledge. Knowledge makes you great.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
I am not capable to explain the meaning of this great teacher but I will try. In this case, we learn from teachers that give us creativity. Creativity in students mind leads to thinking right or wrong. Taking a right decision in right time give us great results. These results bring changes in our life. Here are my thoughts about the importance of Teachers
Teachers build a society with good human being.
“To me, the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.” – George Bernard Shaw
Teachers help us to become a good human being. Good human being can contribute to the development of society. A developed society with good people helps others to become successful and happy.
The ideology and morals help people to learn how to handle relationships in life. Teachers help us and show how to interact with different personalities. These things really matter later in the life of students. This is why teachers are an important pillar of society.
Today our society need to understand and analyze right and wrong. We need people who think about the future and create solution those are nature-friendly. We need leaders who drive the nation into the development and independence. For the development of society, we can’t only depend on teachers.
We should need to execute their lessons in the society. We need to support people as a society to become successful. We need to post and share good things on social media that make others happy and positive. We need to explore possible solutions. We need to appreciate good things.
But this is not possible without self-analysis. Today I think societies are influenced by media. Media explore what they think right or wrong. It’s ok that they are doing their duty. But we all need to analyze that our duty is not to explore bad things but good things. What is coming generation learn from this kind of social media and politicians whereas they just criticizing each other for the voting purposes?
That’s why we need great teachers in schools who think about the future of the country. Teacher’s roles are really important to teach students what is right or wrong and what the effects of doing certain things.
I am no body and I think we don’t need designations to the good things. – Vijay Sharma
Teachers play a great role in the economic development of the country.
If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Teachers help us to become high-quality professionals. Only professionally qualified people produce quality services and products. Which play the huge role in the economic development of the country.
There are often you see the bad customer support, cheap quality products, dishonesty cases with customers. These are really very bad people. Even politicians, movie stars support these people. We can’t change these people today. But we can lead and guide coming generation on the right path.
The right path is where customers are not cheated. Where good products are endorsed by good people. It’s tough even after giving a certificate of honesty. We are influenced by some group of people to the wrong direction.
We need to understand that what is good for us along with society. Never make your decision inspired by politically people, never make decision-based on news channel or politically inspired dialogues.
We need to analyze facts and figures before taking a decision even before giving votes. Also, our election commission or authorities also need to test political leaders before giving them the ticket or authority to fight the election. It’s ok that I don’t have enough knowledge yet about such things. But today we all need good people in our government, businesses and in jobs. These people are not coming from another planet. All are coming from schools and colleges after taking degrees. Degrees are not a guarantee that someone is educated and know better than without degree people. Yes, education matter. But I think only practical education can develop the country.
So, for in the economic development, we need people who can take a risk and who are confident to start a business. Who can create new and innovate down market to a new level? This is not possible without getting lessons from expert teachers. Teachers teach students by real-time examples. Teachers can modify and change the world.
That’s why governments and especially Indian government should invest more money and allocate more budgets on education and high-quality professional teachers and education infrastructure in schools.
Why teachers are great role models in individual’s life
Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model. A.P.J Abdul Kalam
A teacher helps to become a great leader. Great leaders build a nation. Leaders play a huge role in the personal development of an individual. Great leaders inspire thousands of people to go into the right direction. Great leaders learned and followed the path provided to them by a teacher in schools and college times. Almost all good leaders will agree that they have learned valuable organization skills, personal development skills from teachers. These skills helped them to reach where they are today. They used their creativity in the right direction. Some students are great. Not because they are born with greatness but because teachers helped them to become what they are today. That’s why teachers are great human beings who know about the future.
A student is like soft clay in the hands of his teachers. Students mind can be mounded into any shape in tender age. If taught well by his teacher he can become an important tool for the society. If taught wrong he can become a weapon of destruction. We have an example today we often see on the news channels. A good teacher attitude reflects upon the students easily. Why, because students meet teacher every day for many years and replicate his mannerism and habits.
But not all colleges and teachers are good to increase the moral values of students. Few colleges and teachers just teaching for money and students are directed to earn money. These kinds of salary lover teachers drive the career of students in the wrong path. Some of the students from such teachers got the job by the approach of minister and influencers. This kind of teachers produces corrupt leaders, doctors, and bureaucrats. But good students and well sanskari one’s, honest students and intelligent getting job and starting a business after studying from such great principled teachers.
That’s why it’s really important to handover your child in a school where the teachers are great, professionally, personally and in social behaviors.
Importance of Teachers in India
Only teachers can develop nations no one else, everything else will destructive creativity. Even technology development and advanced technologies are destructive for nature.
Technologies are creating new natural resources it’s because today’s education especially content observation on the Internet is technical. Positive creativity and development that is nature-friendly only possible by teachers.
It’s because when practical teachers teach they explore and teach you about the connection of our life with nature. As I already told various times on my articles that we are the part of nature.
Humans are the part of nature. Nature, trees, plants, soil, water, animals and birds and all other natural resources that unfortunately we treat badly are our families.
But who teach and explore these things in children’s/students mind to think about it other than real and practical teachers? Is it social media, paid media or politicians? Never!
But today teachers are fighting with technologies, government policies, and social media and they have to fight.
Student’s minds are creativity they understand and implement things better adults. That’s why it’s important to allow teachers to implement and explore creativity in students mind for a better world.
Also, our all private and government teachers need career and income security from the government. It’s because they can’t teach effectively students if they are worried about money, poor financial conditions. Then it’s tough for them to teach creatively and practically to students.
That’s why I think it’s really important for any nations that they provide enough facilities and focused and consistent educational development works for teachers.
Today, we need to respect teachers and need to appreciate their good efforts. Teachers need security and safety from the government. Teachers want maximum infrastructure to educate students. We need to follow the lessons and spread more about good teachers verbally.
It’s tough to explain a life of teacher but we can help them by appreciating and giving them the gift of by becoming good human being.
What do you think?
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