2.1. Teacher skills and competences
The role of the teacher is broadening and becoming more demanding. Teachers are expected to use a wide variety of methods, tools and approaches and to tailor them to the learners' needs. They also need to have competences and skills necessary to create a positive classroom environment and work collaboratively with other stakeholders within and outside the school in order to provide timely support to learners.
There are some specific new skills and competences that teachers are expected to acquire or improve:
- Teachers need a positive attitude toward the benefits of having a diverse set of learners in their classes. Teachers need to be able to select from a wide variety of teaching techniques and active learning strategies (including: enquiry-based and project-based teaching, collaborative learning, etc.), in order to work effectively with and tailor learning for a diverse group of students – who, although in the same learning environment – have different learning needs and preferences.
- Teachers need to be informed about the latest research and evidence-based best practices in areas relevant to their work. Teachers who are lifelong learners also consider professional challenges as part of their learning process. They also gain knowledge and information that they can share with other teachers and in their daily practice.
- Teachers need to integrate formative assessment methods in teaching and learning to provide learners with feedback and support progress toward learning goals.
- Teachers need competences to diagnose ESL risk factors, which may include unfavourable school and classroom climates, poor teacher-students-relationships, negative peer-influence, truancy, illness, learning difficulties, etc. In addition, teachers should have a comprehensive knowledge of a range of effective interventions to prevent early school leaving.
- Teachers need to be able to effectively communicate and build powerful, positive and trust-based relationships with learners from all backgrounds. They should be able to deploy appropriate classroom management strategies, and techniques to resolve conflicts and prevent bullying and have interpersonal competences expertise to promote a positive school and classroom climate.
- Teachers who have a positive attitude and the ability to work in multi-disciplinary professional teams and professional communities co-develop teaching and learning approaches, act to prevent the process of early school leaving and are less likely to feel isolated. School leaders have a key role to play by providing the budget, time and space to support professional communities, school development projects and continuing professional development.
- Teachers should be encouraged and supported to lead and to act as change agents and mentors within and beyond the classroom. Teacher leadership can be characterised as a collaborative effort in which teachers co-develop expertise and promote professional development to improve their own and their peers’ educational practices and the school climate. Their aim is ultimately to improve student retention and performance.
- Teachers should have the ability to communicate effectively, and to cooperate with and involve parents in the learning and development of their children.
- Teachers should have the competence, willingness to cooperate, and creativity to involve external partners including local employers.
- Teachers need to have the knowledge and awareness of the cognitive, social and behavioural development of students (e.g. well-being).
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