“Principals should know the principles of education”

The slide which started the most heated and fruitful debate

In a short period of time I and Hanna Teräs, my wife, have done two conferences in the Middle East; Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University Annual Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and IEFE 2012 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In both of them our presentation was primarily about the changing roles of teachers and students, and how we believe our faculty development programme could offer a one solution for this complex matter.

The comments and active (sometimes almost heated!) discussions with the participants have offered a true learning experience for the both of us. Some comments below, both from Dubai and Riyadh, which made us feel we truly are on the same page with those who see the need for change.

e-Learning…

Isn’t just about technology doing it by itself, but how we use it.

(a Quote from an excellent Saudi research paper): “e-Learning is still mostly used for content delivery.”

The students need…

Instead of just passive teaching, our students need more basic research, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

…skills for positive interaction with each other.

…to become socially responsible, not just aiming for themselves.

…skills for actual life. 

Teachers…

…should attain a role and skills of a facilitator

…go to the level of students, not just be the one who “knows” 

…should make students understand the [actual value of] technology

(About innovation and teaching) To achieve something different, should do something different.

…should become as important and respected as lawyers and doctors

…should understand how to get the students to think, not just “make them learn”

Other questions and remarks:

Are our teachers (mentally) ready for this shift?

Principals should know the principles of education.

To conlude…

How much is this discussion different from what we see in the West, or other places? Some super-interesting conversations with local people have made me question who actually needs who to teach about what in the global world and who actually has the strongest will and environment to change their education system?

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