World Teachers’ Day – celebrating the important role educators play in the future of every generation

05 October 2021
Posted by Study Group

World Teachers’ Day – celebrating the important role educators play in the future of every generation

Study Group CEO Emma Lancaster shares her perspective:

"World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to highlight the achievements of educators all around the globe and to appreciate the important part they play in the future of every generation.  

"One and a half years into the pandemic, we wanted to shine a light on the crucial role teachers are taking in reimagining the future of learning to support successful student outcomes.

"So, on World Teachers’ Day, we are launching a mini blog series authored by Study Group educators from across the world. The blogs will share best practices in effective education delivery and assessment during COVID-19 and key learnings for the future of education over the course of this month.  

"I am delighted to share the first blog in this series from Professor Elizabeth More, Chief Academic Advisor for Study Group Australia."

"No turning back”- transforming teaching and learning for an unpredictable future

By Professor Elizabeth More, Chief Academic Advisor for Study Group Australia

"It is our frontline teachers who will be confronting the future and building the more flexible and resilient approaches... reimagining the future of learning and teaching and equipping themselves to deal with its many ongoing challenges. They are the ones who through their commitment did and continue to do everything in their power to serve the best interests of their students. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude and congratulations!”

Throughout the world, COVID-19 has forced the collapse of traditional education at all levels.

For higher education, the challenge, as in medicine, fell to the heroic frontline workers – our teachers, and continues to do so. For most this has meant rapidly turning traditional face-to-face teaching and learning into online modes and transforming curriculum. Even those who had some experience in this pedagogy were stressed, never mind the many who had never taught online previously and who had to rapidly learn through workshops, trial and error, and support from more experienced colleagues.

Change was required across teaching and learning approaches, assessment (including examinations), diverse environments, student, and staff capacities, and new technical, regulatory, policy, and administrative processes and supports.

However, this global crisis demonstrated just how resilient our teaching academics were and continue to be in the face of such global adversity.

In a continually changing educational landscape, our teachers were at the forefront. As Mishra et al (2020), point out, they ensured the best way to use existing educational resources at our institutions, to change models of former education into digital online teaching and learning through virtual classes, using an array of diverse pivotal online tools.

The researchers also point out that this digital academic experience had to be adopted in a global transformative change process that gave reality to the classic change model of Lewin (1958) – traditional modes were unfrozen, changed teaching and learning approaches were adopted, and the change has been refrozen into new pedagogies, suggesting that we can never go back to where we were before the pandemic and that the new student-teacher partnership will continue to create the requisite educational innovations that a post COVID-19 higher education system demands.

Moreover, the paradigm shift in teaching and learning wrought by the pandemic means that we are integrating technology in the teaching-learning process at a far faster pace than could have been envisaged – what was previously thought would take a long change process occurred in a matter of a few weeks.

Challenges have been many:

  • a new emphasis on instructional design to enhance participation to increase engagement between teachers and students and among peers, and retain students online;
  • new approaches to assessment, including authentic assessment;
  • the challenges of online exams demanding new invigilation systems;
  • teaching in out of classroom environments including from a teacher’s home;
  • and the need to reinforce and deal with issues around upholding academic integrity and coping with its breaches.

Crucially, teachers have also had to deal with an increased need to support students in this new digital learning environment – not only in terms of educational content and processes but also supporting students and their emotional and mental wellbeing and dealing with the often-frustrating unreliability of the technology medium itself.

Disruptive changes in short timeframes demanding immediate digital skills and new pedagogies undoubtedly have taken their toll on our teachers worldwide. From listening to our staff and reading the increasing research, it is clear that the demands on teachers in the digital learning environment is very different to traditional face-to-face teaching methods and, in many cases, increase conventional workloads, and consequently lead to increased stress. This has been exacerbated by the threat to teaching staff globally of potential redundancies with the downturn in student numbers, decreasing resources, and problems in national economies.

The plus side is that COVID-19 has taught us many positive lessons for the future and forced higher education institutions and their staff – academics, supported by professional staff and regulators, to rethink teaching and learning, to recognise the vulnerabilities in global education, and to begin the simultaneously daunting but exciting roadway to transforming learning and teaching as they continue to confront ongoing unpredictable futures.

And, whether for those who are still teaching in COVID-19 lockdown scenarios, or those who have been able to return to face-to-face teaching, the new ‘normal’ will not be the old. It is our frontline teachers who will be confronting the future and building the more flexible and resilient approaches that our VUCAD world demands (Wahab, 2020; Chan et al, 2021), reimagining the future of learning and teaching and equipping themselves to deal with its many ongoing challenges. They are the ones who through their commitment did and continue to do everything in their power to serve the best interests of their students. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude and congratulations!

 

References:

Chan, R., Bista, K., & Allen, (eds), 2021, Online teaching and learning in higher education during COVID-19: International perspectives and experiences, London: Routledge.

Mishra, L., Gupta, T. & Shree, A, 2020, “Online teaching-learning in higher education during lockdown period of COVID 19 pandemic,” International Journal of Educational Research, Open, vol. 1, 100012.

Wuhab, A., 2020, “Online and Remote Learning In Higher Education Institutes: A Necessity in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic, Higher Education Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, pp 16-25. 

Blog archive

See all articles

Discover more about Study Group

X
This site uses cookies. In order to continually improve this site, we remember and store information about how you use it. Find out more.
Accept and close