The ATEE Spring University 2010,
Teacher of the 21st Century: Quality Education for Quality Teaching, was hosted by the University of Latvia, Riga, 7th-8th May. The suggested sub-theme of the conference was research understanding, self-evaluation and evaluation of educational achievements
This conference had delegates mainly from Scandinavia, the Baltic states and eastern Europe as well as a colleague from Japan. The language of the conference was English and Latvian, as Latvia was the host country this year.
The conference opened with a Latvian acapella choir.
The keynotes began with a presentation by Andrejs Rauhvargers, entitled
Achieving Bologna Goals: Where does Europe stand in 2010?
Andrejs explained that the Bologna agreement has the intention of creating a European Higher Education Area. This involves the harmonisation of awards across the region and the encouragement of mobility across, through the transferability of credits and the establishment of common points of entry and exit from courses. Traditionally, higher education covers undergraduate, masters level and doctoral study, but there is currently much variation, especially in vocational degree. The term 'cycle' is used to describe the three phases. The EU has mapped out 11 steps towards harmonisation but, so far, only eight countries have achieved this.
Andrejs stressed the need for Teacher Education to take the lead in these developments, as there was already expertise within Education Courses of the areas identified as in need of development; i.e. student-centred learning: learning outcomes-based approaches, qualifications frameworks, internal quality assurance, flexible learning pathways for lifelong learners, recognition of prior learning.
Irena Žogla then presented a paper entitled
Pedagogical Values of Peer and Self-Assessment
Irena considered the evidence for the importance of peer- and self-assessment in all phases of education. It is argued that the assessment of the learners' performance is crucial for developing effective curricula and instruction responsive to individual needs. Though learners quite often rely upon their teachers' or peer-assessment, self-assessment should be considered as one of the most effective elements of formative assessment and be taught both in teachers' professional studies as well as developed in school classes. Irena outlined five key arguments for the effective implementation of peer- and self-assessment:
1) Self- and peer-assessment are developmental and will need different pedagogies as they develop
2) Pedagogical procedures need to develop the peer- and self-assessment of all members of a class so they reinforce each other
3) The development of these skills will foster an ethos of dialogue and mutual understanding amongst a community of learners
4) Each learner is able to request and provide support to and from others, thus meeting social needs
5) Hospitable environments depend in part on leaders' skills and abilities to support opportunities that enhance learning
Maris A. Vinovskis then presented a paper on
Highly Qualified Teachers in the United States? An Analysis of U.S. History Teachers
This considered the impact of US Government initiatives upon the quality of history teachers. Under the Federal requirements of No Child Left Behind, states and school districts were mandated to have highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals in the classroom, but states were left to define what 'highly qualified' meant in practice, so that implementation was uneven. In the context of history teaching, this meant that a large proportion of children studying it were not taught by teachers trained in that area. The presentation considered interventions and evidence on means to address this issue.
Reference: Vinovskis, M.A. No Child Left Behind and Highly Qualified US History Teachers: Some Historical and Policy Perspectives in Wong, K.K. & Rothman, R. (Eds) (2009) CLIO at the table: Using History to Inform and Improve Educational Policy. New York: Peter Lang Publishing
The rest of the conference consisted of the themes and papers contained in this
list; these are provided to faciliate networking and collaboration.
Report by: Mike Blamires