“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats it children an their teachers” Nelson Mandela.
It is quite natural for companies and individuals that run education as a business to look for shot term returns, it is only the governments that can look at education from a long-term perspective so that the country reaps its benefits a few decades later. When governments start looking at education from a short-term benefit perspective or to satisfy political agendas it can lead to disastrous consequences for the country.
Very recently, I met Prof. Andy Hargreaves who is the Thomas More Brennan Chair, Lynch School of Education at Boston College and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Educational Change at the Transforming Education Summit held in Abu-Dhabi recently. During the course of our conversation I was fascinated with his clarity and understanding of the educational domain. I am taking this opportunity to share with you a few of his thoughts and my impressions during our conversation.
People who believe teaching is ‘easy’ have no idea what teaching is. Teaching is one of the most serious professions there is on our planet, but somehow across the world people believe that if you have a love for children you can teach well. This has led to an entire generation of teachers who have learned on the job, the scary part is that they have learnt at the cost of some children!
One of the reasons why Finland is among the best educational systems is because teaching is the most sort after profession in that country. This says a lot about the social status of teachers and their self-esteem. It is not possible for any one college or university to change the mindset of it’s society towards teachers. To bring about a change in any aspect of society the leadership has to be inspiring, urgent, inclusive, galvanizing and repetitive.
To improve the quality of education we need to build on the Professional Capital of teachers which comprises human capital, social capital (ability to learn from one another) and decisional capital (capacity to make judgements). In all professions and art forms an experience of 2,000 hours can be labeled as an amateur, less than that is still a rookie. To gain the status of maestro one takes about 10,0000 hours. This thumb rule holds good even in teaching, it is important that teachers keep track of their number of teaching hours.
The Teacher Evaluation Index of a modern teacher therefore will be a factor of
– Hours of Teaching
– Sharing of Learning
– Technology Usage
I personally think that the quality of a school is largely determined by the cumulative factor of the sum total of its Teachers Evaluation Index!