Scotland to host International Teaching Summit

Scotland has been chosen to host an International Summit on the Teaching Profession, an event that brings together education ministers, teacher trade unions and education leaders from across the world to share global best practice in education.

The news was announced at the close of this year’s summit in New Zealand, held on 28 and 29 March. Canada, Germany and Hong Kong have also been selected to host the event, with the summit in Scotland provisionally scheduled for 2018.

A Scottish delegation attended this year’s summit in Wellington, led by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell. The delegation included Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).

Mr Russell, who made a joint presentation with Mr Flanagan to the summit, said:

“The past two days in Wellington have brought together Education Ministers, teacher trade unions and education representatives, from across the globe, and facilitated discussions on how best, our teacher workforces can be supported in delivering education for children and young people.

“The collaborative approach we take in Scotland in delivering education has attracted great interest and enabled a number of productive bi-laterals with Education Ministers from around the world.

“The considerable interest in what we do made our invitation to come to Scotland all the more powerful and I am delighted that the OECD has accepted our bid.”

Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the EIS, said:

“The key feature of these particular summits is that they focus on joint trade unions and government discussions. This allows teacher trade unions to present a united front to represent their members, on the issues that face them in the classroom every day. Given the emphasis on OECD PISA this is a significant debate that teacher trade unions must be involved in, at this international level.”

The Benefits of Joining a Management Training Programme

The core principles of management are quite simple. Regardless of what you are managing, the main objective is always the same: to make the best use of the resources available in order to achieve the long-term aims and short term milestones on time. Today, managers perform a variety of different duties in the corporate environment. Staff managers are responsible for keeping tabs on employees and managing different teams. Procurement managers are responsible for making sure that substantial inventory is available at all times, in order to ensure that the company’s production processes aren’t hindered.

Companies generally hire managers in order to lead teams and get work done. Over the past couple of centuries, hundreds of different management theories have been published. However, that doesn’t mean that the concept of management was introduced in the past two hundred years. In fact, scholars have been writing about the importance of management for thousands of years. Back in the days of ancient Greece, many distinguished scholars wrote about the qualities to look for in leaders and managers.

However, the principles of management have changed drastically since then. Today, managers need to be quick and decisive, and must maintain a proactive approach. Joining a management training programme is one of the best things that you can do if you want to excel in your career and wish to become better at your job. Here are just some of the many benefits that you get from joining a training programme.

Expert Insight into Modern Management Principles

Gone are the days when people used to rely on the theories put forth by Frederick Taylor or Herzberg. Nowadays, companies want to hire people who are able to make decisions quickly. The value of time has become immensely important.

After the market crash of 2008, many people ended up losing their jobs. Those who managed to retain theirs were working on a knife’s edge. Even a small mistake could get them kicked out. However, if you have taken a course on management principles, you could apply these concepts in your work life and get better results. These courses are taught by professional managers who have worked in the industry for many years. They will be able to offer expert advice that you won’t find in textbooks.

Better Job Offers

If you have completed a course from a reputable institute, your chances of finding a decent job will increase dramatically. It’s tough to find a job as it is these days. There’s a lot of stiff competition that managers face. If you have completed a course from a reputable institute in London, you can just list it on your resume and get a better job offer.

Networking

One of the biggest advantages that you get from taking a course on management is the number of contacts that you will make. You can exchange business cards with other participants. It is going to do wonders for you in your career as you climb up the corporate ladder.

Can you imagine a World’s Fair in 100 years’ time? Will we be able to celebrate our planet and our global success in securing an equitable future for all?

In 2016 we’re faced with significant global issues including mass migration and climate change (particularly at the forefront of people’s minds following the recent UN climate agreement in Paris). The United Nations was created by world leaders at the end of the Second World War as a way of systematically and collectively addressing the global issues of the time – international peace and security, and managing the mass relocation of people and homelessness. Today, however, despite the best of efforts, the world and the planet remain at risk.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described climate change as a “quintessentially global issue”. It is clearly a challenge that no country can meet on its own. So how are we going to deal with this global issue? Where does education in the 21st century fit in and how can it positively contribute?

According to Professor Charles Hopkins, who recently visited Scotland and GTC Scotland in his role as UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education, the UN remains the best tool we’ve got. When speaking at a University of Edinburgh open lecture, he described the UN as a meeting place, where nations can come together in an effort to deal with big global issues. Back in 1985, Professor Hopkins was tasked, along with others, to come up with a global development model that would address the desire of 80 per cent of the world’s population “to live like Europeans and North Americans” and simultaneously the desire of 20 per cent of the worlds’ population (those in the Americas and Europe) for environmental protection – no easy task.

He explained that the pragmatic decision was, “we’ll go with development, but it should be development that is sustainable”. This is the compromise that remains today. Embedded in this decision are so many important questions and in particular – “sustaining what and for whom?”

Positive action and results have followed out of this initial piece of work. First there was Agenda 21: the first work programme established by the UN (in 1992) to advance sustainable development. This was followed by The Millennium Development Goals and in September last year the world agreed on a new set of goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a nation, Scotland was one of the first countries to offer public support for this universal agenda for sustainable development for the next 15 years.

What is the Role of Education?

There is no doubt that education has a crucial role to play in the development of future generations and leaders in order that they have the skills and confidence to develop innovative solutions for a better future.

Goal 4 of the SDGs is Quality Education, with the goal being to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.”

But it’s not just about ensuring access to education. Target 4:7 reads: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”. There are strong echoes of GTC Scotland’s Professional Values here (embedded in the Professional Standards), of which respect, social justice and learning for sustainability sit front and centre. It is the role of schools and teachers to make these values live every day.

The challenge

“Education for sustainable development” is a reorienting of education to meet sustainable outcomes, not about adding a new subject or area to the Curriculum. In reality, it demands the repurposing of the world’s entire education system. Hopkins explained: “After Rio in 1992, education for sustainable development was “considered” but people didn’t understand what it was and saw it as something for someone else. We started working on guilt: ‘If this is the world we’re giving young people then what is our responsibility as education leaders? That worked a bit. But now what we’re finding is that it is a part of education quality. How can you have a quality education if you’re not addressing [sustainability]?”

Professor Peter Higgins, University of Edinburgh, who also spoke at the open lecture, explained that in Scotland, we instead use the phrase “Learning for Sustainability” to describe our particular approach. “It is more than Education for Sustainable Development; it includes global citizenship and outdoor learning too”. He explained that Learning for Sustainability has become a feature of Scottish Government policy over the last 10 years. Scotland is recognised internationally for being forward-thinking and proactive in this area. And in terms of the work of GTC Scotland, Learning for Sustainability is embedded throughout the Professional Standards at all levels. However, although much has been done to embed Learning for Sustainability within the Scottish education system, there is more to do.

So what next? What else can we do? This is what GTC Scotland Chief Executive Ken Muir asked Charles Hopkins. His answer: “Re-examine the purpose of education'”. Ask the fundamental question, “Why are we educating people?” And, if it’s not for a sustainable future, ask what is it for?”

World Teachers’ Day – empowering teachers, building sustainable societies

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In the busyness of our day-to-day lives we don’t always have time to sit back and put things in perspective. The minutiae of everyday living overwhelms the big picture. But today I’d like us all to take the time to stop and think about that big picture.

Education and good teachers in particular are understood to be the key to creating sustainable societies, fit for the future. Each and every one of us has a role to play in preparing young people for a future in which there are no certainties.

It is important to remember the central role that teachers play in society at a time when negative views about education are presented in the press on a regular basis. Negativity can de-motivate us, so let’s remember today the exceptional work that is going on in schools and colleges across Scotland and beyond. The complexity of teaching is not something that is readily understood by those outwith the profession. The job of a teacher is challenging, without a doubt, but it’s hugely rewarding. The hard work and dedication of the profession to deliver high-quality learning and teaching, and make a difference to the lives of young people, day in day out, is not always recognised but it cannot be underestimated.

World Teachers’ Day is also a time to look beyond education in Scotland and think about teachers in other parts of the world. What we may consider to be basic necessities – electricity, technology, science equipment, textbooks – are lacking in many classrooms. However, the differences between our own education system and that of other countries, of course, extends well beyond resources. It is important to think about what we can learn from our colleagues in other countries, and what we have to offer them.

Despite the undoubted challenges of being a teacher today, I am always enthused by the passion displayed by our profession. This is a passion that we need to share and pass on to the next generation. Worldwide it is estimated there is a need to recruit 25.8 million school teachers if every child is to receive a primary education by 2030. The Scottish Government has launched a recruitment drive to encourage more people into the profession. We need to recruit and retain high-quality teachers in the profession; teachers who match up to the professional standards set out by GTC Scotland and who accept regulation as a key element of being a professional. We owe it to the students of the future, as well as future society, to do all we can to ensure that teaching is seen as an attractive and rewarding lifelong career.

However, not only do we need to recruit and retain more teachers, we need to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills they need to do their job properly, and that they are supported in their career-long development. Promoting professional learning, developing enquiring professionals and engaging in a meaningful way in Professional Update are all key elements of the infrastructure designed to do these things. All of us have an important role to play in building a stronger, self-sustaining profession that supports lifelong learning and teaching.

World Teachers’ Day – a time to say thank you

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ day, ‘Invest in the future, invest in teachers’, aptly recognises the important role teachers, lecturers and other educational professionals play in society, our joint futures and the wider world in which we live.

Teachers have the enormous responsibility of educating a future generation who will go on to hold roles in all corners of Scottish society. And teachers are responsible for educating global citizens, who will play an active and important part in a globalised multicultural society. The critical role of teachers to prepare young people for this challenge in a rapidly changing world cannot be underestimated. It is a demanding and complex job; something that is not always fully appreciated.

Today is about recognising this and thanking teachers all over the world for the work they do in educating and improving the life chances of our children and young people.

World Teachers’ Day is also a time to look beyond education in Scotland and think about what life is like for teachers in other parts of the world. Think of what we have that others do not; for example, what we may consider to be basic necessities – electricity, resources, classroom facilities. But also think about what we can learn from our colleagues in other countries.

We recognise that teachers and young people face ever-changing demands on them, and we applaud teachers for rising to these challenges and delivering high-quality outcomes for their learners. We also recognise that some teachers still have concerns about the recently launched Professional Update process. We want to reassure teachers that Professional Update is about supporting them in their Professional Learning – it is an investment in our teachers, in order that they can deliver well for our current and future learners.

On behalf of everyone at GTCS, I send thanks to teachers around the world for their invaluable work and express our commitment to continuing to support and invest in the teaching profession in Scotland.