Friday 21st August 2020

Inspiring lifelong learning for the teachers of the future

What you learned in school does not necessarily prepare you for real-world situations. In an increasingly differentiated society, there is also an increasingly differentiated school system. The differentiation is in what makes a ‘good’ education with the gap being between a school which prepares a child to flourish in the future, and a school which prepares a child for the past, largely leaving them behind in terms of the skills they will need in life and the world of work.

Learning needs to be future-focused and prepare people for the 21st Century. The OECD’s Learning Compass 2030[i] (E2030) defines the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that learners need to fulfil their potential and contribute to the well-being of their communities and the planet.

Both teacher education and the lifelong learning of teachers needs to improve to be able to deliver the vision of E2030. Models of pre-service teacher education and of continuing professional development and learning (CPDL) must highlight the importance of learner agency, including greater individualisation of learning models and approaches. Children’s future learning should be at the heart of CPDL, appreciating that this will only be achieved through a high quality and flexible teaching workforce who themselves are open, lifelong learners who possess the skills and knowledge needed for education in 2030 and beyond.

While acknowledging that the design of the school curriculum is a major factor in the inability of teachers to focus on future fusion skills development, more general criticisms are levelled at teacher education and workforce development. ‘Fusion skills’ describe the competencies needed for flourishing now and into the future.  Without high quality and skilled teachers, transformation of education is unlikely.

Concurrently, in most of the economically advanced countries there is a teacher shortage and teachers are generally not adequately prepared as a future profession. The capacity to attract and retain high quality teachers is crucial for the ongoing success of schools. There are difficulties recruiting to initial teacher education and poor retention rates within the teaching profession. There are low levels of job satisfaction in the profession. Teacher development in all areas is vital. A key aspect of teacher retention is the provision of training. Schools could work more closely and collaboratively to provide opportunities for high quality CPDL.

The Teachers Inspiring Lifelong Learning (TILL) project is focused on developing a Lifelong Learning European qualification for teachers at all stages of their careers.

Professor Anne Bamford

Professor Anne Bamford OBE is Strategic Director of the Education, Culture and Skills for the City of London. Anne has been recognized internationally for her research in creativity, lifelong learning and technology.