by Mar Arranz and Toribio Alonso, CFIE Burgos
Free movement of citizens inside the European range and the need to reconcile educational policies and teacher’s qualifying systems, oblige us to suggest long-life training plans which can and must encompass the whole professional career, under the principle of constant improvement of the professional competences that the early training cannot cover.
The school cannot be unaware of this fact, and tries to answer the rising demands. This requires teachers to train and update to achieve new knowledge, skills and attitudes that qualify them to develop key competenes in pupils to allow them to get on well in a plural, global, digital society.
Moreover, long-life training is the basis of research and innovation in education. To innovate, teachers need to know the latest trends and mainstreams. They must update their knowledge not only in a theoretical and scientific basis (know), but also in a methodological step (know how), know resources, new technologies, materials, areas, etc. As well as the change implementation processes, team-work and assessment.
Training is not only important to meet the rising needs, but also to walk a way back where the school can also generate changes in society by means of the creation of proposals and innovation projects which may influence the close environment and the society.
Training can be formal or non-formal, and it may include training about scientific knowledge of the different subjects and pedagogical skills. It can be made in different formats, such as courses, seminars, workshops, online training, conferences and peer learning, as well as the support of teachers nets. In certain cases, continuous professional development activities can lead to obtain additional skills.
In addition to these training formats, it is posible to find some others in the different autonomous communities, such as educational innovation and investigation projects aimed at reinforcing the ICT skills, meetings, modular training and internship.
Education Offices and Departments of Education of every autonomous community are encharged of designing the teacher and pupil training and innovation strands in their respective scopes by means of:
- General managements of all the autonomous communities.
- Specific technical units.
- Training consultancies, which are in charge of counseling the ones mentioned above.
Teacher long-life training is sustained through a close collaboration between Education Offices and Departments of Education in every autonomous community, the schools and the teacher training centres, where the teacher training is planned and imparted.
From our own experience, we consider that the most effective format is the one that merges from every school need, that is, the school seminar. This format is the most efficient since it means a higher commitment of the teaching staff. However, we think it is necessary to strengthen the implementation processes with the schools once the training has finished, with the commitment of the management team, with teachers who lead the changes and with external monitoring that guarantees training continuum in time.
For the aforementioned reasons, long-life training is the key to offer quality education which responds to the characteristics and the needs of the pupils, and the challenges that the society raises at any time.