Tuesday, July 05, 2005

20 Basic Skills for Teachers

David Warlick, in his blog today posted a reply to Laura Turner's Every Educator Should Possess these 20 Skills. David distils the 20 into 4 points to be integrated into the curriculum: 1) Selecting and Accessing digital information. 2) Processing digital information. 3) Producing and communicating digital information. 4) Ethical practices in using digital information. The other group that also needs these skills are the instructors in the teacher training institutions. These are the people who are modelling to the new generation how to use digital media, install hardware and manage files. But the unfortunate part is (and this is where the generation gap seems to be) that with some exceptions, these people have no clue how to do these things in the classroom because they never had to and it's only in the past few years that they have been asked to know how to do this, after they leave the K-12 classroom. May of them who are able to transmit this knowledge do so from their experiences not in K-12, but in the post secondary schools that they are instructing in. Even then it is difficult, as they are trying to get across the essentials involved in the art of teaching (regardless of technology), curriculum, assessment and classroom management. From what I have seen, it is often the case that even the best "meta teacher" teacher of teachers can do is to emphasize the use of technology tools and perhaps make them the focus of one or a hand full of assignments over the semester. This makes sense as teaching is not only about the technology. One approach to solving this problem (and the one that we are attempting to use at the U of A) is to integrate technology across the BEd curriculum as well, so it is not seen only in one type of class. It's likely too early to tell how this approach is going, but if we are to get new teachers to have the 20 essential skills, they should have seen the skills displayed by their instructors a few times as well. PS - you'll notice many of the links point to the U of A in the THE article.