The competencies paradigm has dominated educational policy in teaching, learning, and as sessment in the last two decades. However, since its inception, it is known that this educational paradigm has been questioned for lacking, among other things, solid cognitive and pragmatic foundations. On the other hand, when promoting generic or transversal competencies, the interests are directed to develop them in the students. Instead of in teachers, didactic competencies or the so-called digitization of teaching is the focus point. But what about generic competencies in teachers? Can the teacher teaches what he has not developed in himself?
Even though the answer to this question is a truism –because it is known that no one can teach something he does not know3⁄4, in the practical reality of many countries that aspire to social and economic development, this obviousness is overlooked. This panorama has led us to establish three interlocking discussion points from which rethink the pillars of teacher training for the 21st Century: 1) Vindication of teacher career; 2) the relevance of teaching basic disciplinary concepts, and 3) a different approach for teaching training from a competencies model according to the challenges of this Century. Simultaneously with the reflection of these points, we are designing our teaching training alternative proposal for its soon implementation.
1. Vindication of Teacher Career
One of the benefits that social confinement has brought because of the pandemic is that, by
forcing the transfer of school-based education to homes, the awareness of teachers’ relevance has been unintentionally triggered. The authorities, the parents, and even the students them selves have valued more the teachers’ work. The situation has made us appreciate that success in teaching goes beyond the digitization of didactics ; it has to do with the teacher and what he does in an integral way as a person. It is about how he faces change, challenges, and how he proposes and restructures what, with what, and how to do it. Therefore, it has to do with the background that gives sustenance and orientation to the proceedings. In fact, that is the primary meaning of a model of competencies; they have to come out in day-to-day life; they have to be reflected in their thinking, saying, and actions, whether in the material world or the virtual world.
Thus, we agree to demand quality work from teachers with updated knowledge, but not without training and development opportunities. The idea is to offer solid initial training and guarantee teaching as a lifelong learning process to achieve positive impacts and guarantee attractive and fair incentives according to the level of performance and their students’ academic achievement. We propose this approach for the 21st Century teachers as O + E + I (Opportunities + Demand + Incentives).
The O + E + I constitutes the guiding principle of what one of us has proposed as the basis to create a National System of Elementary Teachers and Highschool Education (SINAMEM for its acronym in Spanish.) It is a personalized, lifelong training system based on a digital learning educational platform to professionalize elementary and high school teachers’. This platform would allow for user learning analytics, which would make it possible to identify strengths and areas of opportunity for personalized, lifelong training.
These learning analytics also could serve as the foundation for a voluntary assessment of teachers. We are interested in a non-punitive evaluation of teacher’s performance comparable to the so-call Researchers National System in Mexico of the National Council for Science and Technology (SNI-Conacyt for its acronym in Spanish.), which, according to a periodic assessment of the training, experience, productivity, and trajectory of the interested parties, are categorized to get extra incentives to their base salary, as well as to certain academic privileges according to the level of performance they obtain.
Download here the PDF of the entire work.
Andrés Fraguela Collar
Carmen Patricia Rosas Colín