We have all spent more than a decade at school, and we have had many experiences that, taken together, have contributed to making us who we are: the friends we had, the spaces we explored, the books we read, the experiences we had, and the teachers who we had.
Much research shows that among the many factors that impact the quality of student learning, the most relevant are teacher training and experience. The better-prepared teachers are, the greater the diversity of teaching strategies they can use to reach more students, who bring with them different personalities and learning styles. More prepared teachers can make better use of educational spaces and resources, create more situations of interaction and collaboration among students so that learning takes place in a socialized and meaningful way, better select and use materials, and create mediation strategies among students and the knowledge to be built.
In a society where knowledge is produced and transformed more dynamically than ever before, teachers who know how to teach students to think, analyze, criticize, and create, rather than simply memorizing, achieve greater student engagement and participation, more lasting and applicable learning in the present and future life of the learners.
Good schools value the initial training of their teachers – that which enables them to practice their profession, and which is obtained through a university degree – but also continuing education, both at the postgraduate level and in short-term courses, offered by the school itself or in partnership with other institutions. Good schools also ensure that there is time to plan and replan, to collaboratively discuss the pedagogical project, methodologies, assessment, and educational innovations that are part of the professional growth of the team and the maturity of the institution itself.
Dealing with the advancement of knowledge and the complexity of the human being is inherent to the day-to-day of all teachers. Students bring us different challenges every day, their experiences, potential, difficulties, and interests. Knowing how to deal with this diversity and creating ways to promote learning in a way that makes sense for each student is a challenge that can only be overcome through the teacher’s background and constant reflection on the relationship between teaching and learning.
A good school is a learning community where we all learn and teach every day, and where teachers demonstrate through their example that learning is motivating, challenging, interesting, and very, very transformative.