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Re-engineering teachers' work (the new role of teachers)

Information and communication technologies have very swept through society at large, especially since the rise of Internet. ICT bring with them profound cultural, economical and political changes. Teaching and training will not escape this evolution. The education world has to reorganise itself, find out new curricula and schedules and revise the way teachers are trained to keep them knowledgeable and up-to-date.

Pre- and in-service training for all teachers is essential within this context. Teachers' role is changing. Many pedagogues have pondered on the agents and consequences of change. Let us quote among them Jacques Tardif who inspired the conclusions mentioned here (1).

Learning communities

We are in the course of an evolution that brings us from an information-based society towards a professional development-based society. The world of education is called to co-operate with all the actors of this new society.

• Society is becoming a learning society in which schooling plays a major role and has as primary task to network itself with all the various actors of education.

A 'learning' paradigm

We are shifting from a delivery-based model of learning (knowledge is acquired, the teacher is a solitary expert, the learner a passive receiver) towards a learning-based paradigm (based on skill development, teachers as coaches, learners as active actors in their training and learning processes...).

• The 'learning' paradigm is a basic element of the pre- and in-service training of teachers.

The new role of the teacher

The learning paradigm means that the role of the teacher has changed. He now becomes:
- a creator of learning environments;
- an independent professional, open-minded and critical;
- an active co-operator and collaborator;
- a mediator between learners and what they need to know;
- an integral part of the success of the learners in a given school.

• A new role for teachers means:
- to adapt schools' infrastructures, organisation and teaching resources (i.e. ICT) and to cast new roles for the different actors of education (learners, teachers, parents);
- to have teachers acquire new skills;
- to insure a better understanding of this process by decision makers in the world of education;
- to re-evaluate teachers' role positively and reward them better.

The importance of ICT

Knowing how to use ICT tools is of utmost importance for teachers in their role of creators of pedagogical environments. For example, ICT allow learners to perceive and understand subject matters, processes and situations that were formally taught with no particular graphical means. ICT networking makes it possible for learners to interact with experts and peers alike to gain a better understanding of what they need to understand and acquire. Teachers need not only to know about ICT resources but they further have to be able to guide their pupils along new paths for exploration and research purposes.

• An essential role for ICT in learning and teaching means:
- to elaborate new training concepts and procedures;
- to support innovative measures on how to provide for a meaningful training for teachers;
- to define new roles and functions (creators of ICT-based pedagogical resources...);
- to develop co-operative and collaborative projects that bridge over individual schools or levels of schooling;
- to provide the necessary financial support for infrastructures and material as well as for technical, pedagogical and human resources;
- to bestow a basic knowledge and understanding of ICT to all teachers (90'000 in this country);
- to grant specific skills and know-how to teachers, according to level of schooling, subject matter, domain and technology used (i.e. forum).

The Swiss Federal Council has deemed it necessary to launch a grand-scale "offensive for education" to provide to all citizens of all age and residence with new means to cope with the information society. The pre- and in-service training of teachers is a key element of this policy.

The concrete steps that will bring about this "offensive" should begin to be accomplished by year 2001. It is urged that those will follow the principles presented above.

(1) Passages in italics are quoted form Jacques Tardif, "Intégrer les nouvelles technologies de l'information", ESF éditeur, 1998. For further information on the author see: http://p.serres.free.fr/Conferences/tardif/index3.htm

August 10 2000 - KCTR-CH Group 1

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- a first work version in French, English or German (first Seminar);
- a revised version in French (second Seminar)

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reengeneering | ict curricula | strategies | future

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