Together we are strong
Education, the Netherlands (students age 4-18)
The consequences of the lock downs were impressive. Innovations already started suddenly got into a higher speed. The idea of ever returning to how things used to be had soon gone. The societal discussions arose about vital positions in society. Who is more important a teacher to a banker? Parents experienced at home that teaching is not just something; it is a professional, a difficult one and an important one. In schools teachers tried to solve things as well as they could, and they developed new competences to allow them to find solutions for the new challenges.
Not everyone is good at ICT, nor is everyone good in communication, management and so on. The challenge is not to have all teachers develop all competences needed, but to see to it that teachers together have the range of competences needed to realize what they are supposed to offer to students and parents.
In what ways did you respond to this dilemma?
In order to cope with the challenges it is important not to focus on individual professional competences only but to make an inventory of tasks, and competences and competences still to be developed and base the division and allocation of task on this inventory. Schools who did that appear to be far more effective than those that relied on the individual teachers mainly. Teachers’ tasks and related professional profiles will increasingly differ depending on their roles in the composition of education and teaching in the school. They may have special roles in the development of teaching materials, technical solutions, communication with parents, professional developments, coaching, counselling, video/webinar teaching.
What are the implications for teaching and learning?
Unexpected consequences arose. The stronger emphasis on ICT and technical aspects of education made school more attractive to men. Dutch education is femininized to a large extent, furthermore the system suffers from a severe shortage of teachers. Therefore this influx of men is very welcome.
The societal appreciation of teaching has improved. This also may affect the inclination of students (young women and men) to become teachers. Teachers’ teamwork, allocation of tasks, specialization, role differentiation
Keywords: Teachers’ teamwork, allocation of tasks, specialization, role differentiation