Thanks to everyone who has checked out the responses to the #threequestionsEDU series so far. Today’s response comes from Alicia Bankhofer. We’ve had some great responses so far from educators all over the world. Alicia writes her response from Austria and you can find her blog here.
If you’d like to respond to the questions please read this post first. I am still taking responses and would love to hear from you!
A bit about yourself:
I teach English and Information Technology at Middle School level in Vienna, Austria and I’m also the ICT coordinator for my school, helping teachers and students integrate educational technology into learning. I lead teacher seminars and workshops and collaborate regularly with educators around Europe on various online projects eg. http://www.bildungspunks.de #EduPnx #ADE2017
What do you think are the biggest issues facing education right now?
From my vantage point in Austria, I think the biggest tragedy is that we have students leaving school, having to begin learning skills or competencies that they were not taught. Because the educational system is not adapting to the requirements of the Information Age and of a Digital Society fast enough, we are seeing millions of young people unequipped for the working place.
This can be addressed, in my view, when we get all teachers trained in innovative didactical instructional methods and aware of the needs of students for their professional lives. Many veteran teachers are teaching the same content, using the same methods as they did 5, 10, 20, 30 years ago. The whole system needs to be geared towards what students need and we should re-examine and evaluate how we are spending years of instruction at school in order to give youngsters a good start.
What’s your favourite teaching and learning idea / technique / strategy / tool?
I really like challenge-based learning and genius hour, where learners are motivated to pursue an aspect of a topic that truly interests them and they may also choose the mode or medium in which they present their findings. I am a big believer in allowing learners as much freedom as possible, while operating within a framework which ensures that learning goals have been met.
Giving learners a certain autonomy really personalises their learning. They feel respected and empowered and the learning artefacts are unique and creative.
If you were appointed Minister of Education in your country, what would be the first thing you’d change and why?
I’d begin with the teachers. Break down institutional/legal barriers to allow more flexibility for teachers normally solely allocated for certain types of schools, so that for example a teacher with a degree for secondary school can switch to primary school if he/she wants. There is an appalling lack of teachers for some subjects and some school types, and we have many thousands of teachers looking for free teaching slots.
Want to take part?
Thanks to Alicia for her responses – I hope you found her answers of interest. If you’d like to submit your response to the questions yourself, please click this link. Please share your thoughts on today’s response in the comments section below.