Nigerian teachers participating in a Teachers Without Borders conference.
Old dogmas and new tricks: teacher collaboration versus magic bullets and killer apps By Dr Fred Mednick, Founder, Teachers Without Borders International agencies, NGOs and corporations have ﬂooded the developing world with a dizzying array of solutions designed to close the MDG education gap. Many solutions have proved their eﬃcacy as promising pilots, even as education tipping-points. However, without consistent local leadership and global teacher collaboration, these promising solutions often devolve into empty promises: ephemeral at best, even destructive. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s emphasis on “promoting recognition, registration, and standards” for teachers recognises the catalytic role of teachers in realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This article describes how low-cost, demanddriven teacher collaboration can deepen, extend, and accelerate Commonwealth nations’ educational objectives. Feng Ping, an elementary school teacher in Chengdu, China, watched an open-access video of a colleague implementing science inquiry in his classroom. By watching a colleague teach his class, 15 time zones away, Ms Ping reﬂected upon her teaching methods to better encourage scientiﬁc exploration and critical thinking in her classroom, located in post-earthquake Dujiangyan. She chose to connect inquiry science with safety, localised the curriculum, turned to 270 l Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book 2011
her colleagues at her school to ask for feedback, documented her progress, and shared her ﬁndings. Feng Ping’s story includes key features of best practice in teacher professional development. Her students have excelled on their mandated exams. Rather than rely on expensive textbooks, she adapted free Open Educational Resources (OERs) governed by the leastrestrictive Creative Commons licence. She blended
Published on Jul 31, 2011
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