The meeting brought together important leaders in the field of education and more than 700 virtual attendees. Dr. Michael Fullan, Director of Global Leadership, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning; the Minister of Education of Guyana, Priya D. Manickchand; Dr. Javier González, Director of SUMMA; Dr. Laurette Bristol, Programme Manager, Human Resource Development at the CARICOM Secretariat; and Dr. Carlos Vargas-Tamez, Head of Teacher Development at UNESCO’s Task Force for Teachers, participated in the event.
“Almost everything we learn is through implementation. Practice chases theory, not the other way around,”
said Dr. Michael Fullan as he opened his lecture.
The specialist’s keynote presentation focused on the 10 priorities to activate deep learning and the 6 “C’s”, global competencies to develop it: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
The academic presented on the framework for deep learning and emphasized that
“success occurs when leaders participate as learners with staff to change the culture.” Teachers must be involved in figuring out the details of implementation. There can be no progress without unity of purpose and action that involves a process of continually unifying a collective sense of purpose and the individual and group capacity to make improvements.”
The Director of SUMMA, Dr. Javier Gonzalez, thanked the participants from all over the world for their participation and highlighted teaching competencies as fundamental pillars for building a fairer education, especially in the context of Covid-19,
“The key point of these conferences is our teachers, who have worked hard but sometimes do not have the initial tools or public support to carry out their work. Talking about innovation does not necessarily mean software, or more technology, but better pedagogy”.
He showed SUMMA’s working model, its initiatives and the platform of effective practices, “probably the most powerful in the region that synthesizes more than 10,000 academic studies and 200 meta-analyses”.
According to data provided by the GEM Report, carried out by SUMMA jointly with UNESCO, there are a number of facts in the region that show that investment in training is needed. Twenty-one percent of teachers do not have a teaching degree and of those who do, 40% have graduated from blended or distance programs. In addition, the report shows the need to have more teachers in rural areas, in the disciplines of science and mathematics, in the massification of the profession to insert more men and in the preparation and training of teachers for a more inclusive teaching, which includes students from indigenous peoples, migrants, with disabilities, from the LGTBI community, among others, where teachers are the first to be trained in this cultural change regarding sexual and gender diversity.
During the panel on the main policies and practices for the professional development of teachers during the pandemic, the Minister of Education of Guyana, Priya Manickchand, highlighted the commitment of teachers,
“teachers have set an example of determination, greatness and innovation, and thanks to this, students have been able to receive and participate in classes in the safest way possible. As a Ministry we recognize the need for a complete and comprehensive response to the students in order to successfully adapt to this new educational reality. That is why more than 10,000 teachers have already been trained in ICTs, allowing Guyana to be a pioneer in the region”.
Dr. Carlos Vargas-Tamez, Chief of the Section of the Secretariat for Teacher Development of UNESCO – Teachers Task Force, highlighted some of the consequences and implications of Covid-19 on teacher training. He highlighted the issue of technologies
“but not only in reference to the Internet, but how we work with different media and technologies. The book is an example, and also radio, TV, newspapers, mass media. This has been underemphasized”.
He also stressed the importance of being able to train teachers to address the differences in learning among students. “It is very important to say that it is not the same how Covid is experienced in some homes and in others,” he added. And he assured that learning does not happen only at school or when we schedule it. The emergence of new educational actors tells us that there are new ways of educating, of mediating learning, of mentoring, taking advantage of these new actors and educational spaces. We must also talk about profits. Training for teachers in lifelong learning is fundamental”.
Next, Dr. Laurette Bristol, Programme Manager, Human Resource Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, said
“the quality of education is something that develops in a diverse ecosystem the importance of consensus and community support is also important for the quality of education and we need this at the regional level”.
Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, highlighted the opportunity presented by this crisis.
“We are working on a global catastrophe. We have to exercise metacognitive understanding and propose strategic solutions. There are common elements that will strengthen our work, such as redefining the work of teachers, or the role of education. We are in a complex educational transformation. It is about generating a robust teaching process and this situation has allowed us to talk about elements that perhaps we had not considered in the past. Covid has not only changed education, but has also imposed other changes. Parents and many teachers were not prepared for this new scenario. We must commit ourselves to a common purpose”.
Dr. Javier Luque, Country Lead of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), highlighted the importance of teacher development
“which is the great pending challenge in our countries, and how to ensure trained and motivated teachers in the classroom. The exchange of this event will facilitate the development or improvement of this type of policies at the country level.”
In closing the event, Raul Chacon, Director of KIX LAC, noted that
“these are times to learn and to listen. We have heard very inspiring words of what professional development means for learning. May these competencies flourish and transform us into local and global citizens”.