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Empowering Teachers: Empowering Learners – UNESCO Projects

The project draws upon earlier Agency work in the Teacher Education for Inclusion project (2009–2012) and establishes a conceptual framework that sees initial teacher education, induction and continuing professional development as a continuum with the need for strong support from politicians, leaders and external experts as well as all stakeholders in schools and communities.

In the second half of 2015, the Agency worked on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to provide a suite of materials on empowering teachers. The results of this work have been summarised in three documents: a literature review, a case study and a methodology overview. A further output includes a re-designed Inclusive Education in Action website: Empowering Teachers: Empowering Learners. The site includes over 30 examples from all around the globe, focusing on teacher education and professional development.
The project aims to strengthen policy and practice connections by exploring approaches to training and support for inclusive teacher practice. The study highlights the increasing focus on human rights and equity in international and European level policy that aims to promote social cohesion and stresses the need to improve teacher education programmes in particular through the role of teacher educators better prepared to address diversity issues.

The case study looks at practice examples from thirteen member countries Austria, Belgium (Flemish speaking community), Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, UK (England) and UK (Scotland) with additional country/policy information from France, Malta, UK (Northern Ireland) and UK (Wales). The study considers implications for wider policy development, teacher education and professional development and the development of teacher educators.

The results from this work point out a number of key considerations. Teachers should:

Confront their attitudes and beliefs about diversity and accept responsibility for all learners;
Support those vulnerable to marginalisation as part of their daily practice – not see this as an ‘additional’ task. This requires flexible pedagogy, organisation, curriculum and assessment frameworks;
Receive support and feedback to increase the capability to meet diverse needs and intervene early when necessary;
Collaborate with colleagues and work in partnership with families;
Engage with research, reflect and make connections to inform work in the classroom;
Take part in induction and on-going professional development to continuously improve;
Use resources in different ways and draw on social capital in schools and communities for support and personal professional development;
Work closely with school leaders who focus on learning and drive quality teaching and who also distribute leadership tasks to ensure sustainability.
With regard to teacher educators, the materials suggest that countries should:

Take a strategic approach to the recruitment and development of teacher educators in higher education and those based in schools, with an agreed framework of competences to support the development of inclusive teachers;
Take steps to ensure that teacher educators are able to model inclusive practice, engage with research and regularly update on current practice including the use of ICT in the classroom.
The case study and methodology, as well as the literature review are available for download on the Agency website. They will also form one of a number of thematic case studies from different regions that will be included in the UNESCO knowledge-base on inclusive approaches to teaching and learning.

source : www.european-agency.org

Democracy Education became one of the concerns ministers in Europe to counter extremis, racism

Democracy Education became one of the concerns ministers in Europe.

Education ministers and officials from 50 countries attended the Council of Europe Standing Conference of Ministers of Education, in Brussels from 11-12 April, 2016, to discuss the theme “”Securing democracy through education: The development of a Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture”.

Speaking at the event, which focuses on the democratic mission of education to face the challenges of violent extremism, migration and racism, Mr Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, commended the Council of Europe for “giving such high attention to the fundamental role of education in building and maintaining democracy and peace.”

Mr Tang presented UNESCO’s pioneering work on Global Citizenship Education and on Preventing Violent Extremism through Education, including the new UNESCO Teachers’ Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism and a forthcoming Guide for Policymakers to be launched in September this year in Paris.

In his welcoming remark, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe said: “If we want to promote democratic ideals we need to promote values, teach children to live with others equally.”

Minister of Education for the Flemish Community of Belgium Ms Hilde Crevits said: “In the long term education will be more important than any anti-terrorist law. Education plays a pivotal role in safety and security in Europe and beyond.”

The European Commissioner for Education, culture and sports Mr Tibor Navracsics added “While education is not the only solution, there is no other solution without education.”

New education tool to teach democratic values

The event also launched a new tool for teaching democracy and democratic values. The Reference Framework of Competences required to participate in Democratic Culture, developed by the Council of Europe with input from over a thousand teachers and experts across the continent, was launched at the event.  

“UNESCO is supporting countries to deliver education programmes that build young people’s resilience to violent extremist messaging and foster a positive sense of identity and belonging” said Mr Tang. He also expressed the hope that the event would help strengthen collaboration between UNESCO and the Council of Europe in providing effective citizenship education to prevent extremism and combat radicalization and a look at the relationship between European and global challenges.

In a Final Declaration, the Ministers of Education invite the Council of Europe to reinforce cooperation with strategic partners in order to further support education reforms in member States, including the United Nations system and its agencies, notably UNESCO, for its work on global citizenship education and the prevention of violent extremism.

Source: http://en.unesco.org/

The Big 5 ratings universities in the United States 2016

1. California Institute of Technology

Relative to the tiny size of the student population, CalTech has an impressive number of wildly successful graduates and affiliates, including 34 Nobel prizewinners, six Turing Award winners, five Fields Medalists and a number of national awards.

There are only 2,243 students at CalTech, and the primary campus in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, covers 124 acres. Almost all undergraduates live on campus.

Across the six faculties there is a focus on science and engineering; the university appears in the top 5 for engineering and technology (#2), physical sciences (#1), and life sciences (#5) rankings in 2016.

In addition to Nobel laureates and top researchers, the CalTech alumni community also includes a number of politicians and public advisers, particularly in positions that deal with science, technology and energy.

All first-year students belong to one of four houses as part of the university’s alternative model to fraternities. There are a number of house traditions and events associated with each house.

The university has the highest proportion of students who continue on to pursue a PhD, and the trope of the CalTech postgraduate has filtered into popular culture; all the main characters in the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory work or study at CalTech.

2. Stanford University

Based right next to Silicon Valley – or Palo Alto – Stanford has had a prominent role in encouraging the high-tech industry to develop in the area.

Many faculty members, students and alumni have founded successful technology companies and start-ups, including Google, Snapchat and Hewlett-Packard.

In total, companies founded by Stanford alumni make $2.7 trillion each year.

The university is often referred to as “the Farm”, as the campus was built on the site of the Stanford family’s Palo Alto Stock Farm. The campus covers 8,180 acres, but more than half of the land is not yet developed.

With distinctive sand-coloured, red-roofed buildings, Stanford’s campus is thought to be one of the most beautiful in the world. It contains a number of sculpture gardens and art museums in addition to faculty buildings and a public meditation centre.

As might be expected from one of the best universities in the world, Stanford is highly competitive. The admission rate currently stands at just over 5 per cent.

Of the 15,596 students – most of whom live on campus – 22 per cent are international.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A long-standing rival of CalTech, MIT also cultivates a strong entrepreneurial culture, which has seen many alumni found notable companies such as Intel and Dropbox.

Unusually, the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at MIT are not wholly separate; many courses can be taken at either level.

The undergraduate programme is one of the country’s most selective, admitting only 8 per cent of applicants. Engineering and computer science programmes are the most popular among undergraduates.

Thirty-three per cent of the 11,000 students are international, hailing from 154 different countries around the world.

Famous alumni include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and physicist Richard Feynman. Graduates are prevalent throughout science, politics, economics, business and media.

The university appears in the top 5 list in the Engineering and technology, physical sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities rankings published by Times Higher Education.

4. Harvard University

Harvard University is probably the best-known university in the world, coming top in the reputation rankings most years.

It was founded in 1636, and is the oldest higher education institution in the United States.

There are currently 20,152 students enrolled, a quarter of whom are international. Although the cost of tuition is expensive, Harvard’s financial endowment allows for plenty of financial aid for students.

The Harvard Library system is made up of 79 different libraries and counts as the largest academic library in the world.

Among many famous alumni, Harvard can count eight US presidents, about 150 Nobel laureates, 13 Turing Award winners and 62 living billionaires.

Unlike some other universities at the top of the list, Harvard is at least equally as reputed for arts and humanities as it is for science and technology, if not more so. In the 2016 arts and humanities ranking, Harvard takes the second position, and secures top 10 positions for physical sciences, social sciences and engineering and technology.

5. Princeton University

Like Harvard, Princeton is a prestigious Ivy League university with a history stretching back more than 200 years.

Princeton’s distinctive social environment includes private “eating clubs” – which function as both social houses and dining halls. Many of the clubs are selective and competitive, but others simply require undergraduates to sign up.

There are fewer than 8,000 students enrolled at Princeton, and just over a quarter are international.

Princeton’s campuses, in New Jersey, are located about an hour away from both New York City and Philadelphia.

Degree courses have strictly specified requirements. All students are required to do independent research as part of their degrees, and some must take a foreign language course.

The application process is highly selective. Unlike most US universities, Princeton does not now offer an early decision application route.

Renowned Princeton alumni include US presidents, astronauts, businessmen, Olympians and numerous award-winners. Physicist Richard Feynman attended as a graduate student, as did mathematicians John Nash and Alan Turing.

Source : www.timeshighereducation.com

The importance of understanding and handling a positive learning climate

The climate of a school can be affected by factors from classroom management, professional community, sense of personal efficacy and the teachers beliefs about students ability. The importance of understanding and handling a positive learning climate is apparent . Studies shows undoubtedly that schools identified as being optimistic, secure, and encouraging atmospheres firmed on learners education do better than schools that deficient of this climate. Pleasant teaching-learning climate that motivates learners to value learning, the belief that learners can do better in their school work are among the learner-centered practices teachers need to extend to their learners. Efficient teachers create classroom climates in which academic rigor and intellectual challenge are accompanied by the emotional support and encouragement necessary to meet that challenge.

Similarly, encouraging open communication and trust among the members of the school community, stimulating discussion of important issues and providing task relevant information at appropriate times; assisting the analysis of external factors such as competition, external threats, environment problems and opportunities, the development of norms and roles within the group are helpful steps to achieve inter group dynamics that help people do task easily.

Considerably, the goals of the people working together in the school as well as the goals of the group as a whole is important. Developing a reward structure that enables people to realize their goals by working towards the group can result in a very productive group endeavor of creating a helpful school climate.

The advantages of building a favorable positive learning environment are clear; such school will be a place that learners like coming to each day, an institution for which parents will be appreciative and labored to sustain, and a cause of pleasure and inspiration for the community.

When promoting for a favorable school climate for learning, advocates of transform strategies must gaze at their teachers, the parents, and the people of the school and work together in one direction, focusing on the hindrance and the solutions to be done.

Eventually, creating a conducive school climate is a must. Nevertheless it can be extremely complicated for educators to alter the way people believe, when things start stepping in the right track, encouraging outcome will closely be seen.

The greatest gain for any educator who victoriously manages to develop his or her school climate is the certain awareness of ones person, social group, and others, because recognizing what people feel and think permits them to be motivated and guided.

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