This two-week course on Educating for the 21st Century is of significant benefit to teachers and principals at primary and secondary level as well as those working in adult education who are interested in increasing student engagement in their schools and fostering a range of 21st century skills – collaborative problem-solving, IT, critical thinking skills and learner autonomy. This course provides an overview of and a critical framework for assessing current pedagogical developments and aims to equip participants with a toolbox to enhance their own teaching skills across a range of school subjects. Participants have opportunities to share experiences and ideas on current thinking and initiatives with a range of international colleagues.
Course Objectives. The aims of this course on Educating for the 21st century are:
- To provide participants with an overview of and a critical framework for assessing pedagogical developments in the 21st century
- To provide participants with a toolbox to enhance their own 21st century skills and those of their students across a range of school subjects
- To provide opportunities to explore 21st century global issues and how these have an impact on our schools and students
- To promote responsible citizenship in our students
- To establish contacts and share information with teachers from a variety of backgrounds and facilitate future networking among these professionals
- To develop and consolidate participants’ own language skills
- To promote awareness of contemporary Ireland
- To produce high-quality learning outcomes for participants thereby re-enforcing the capacity and international scope of their schools
Methodology. The input sessions are a blend of theory and practice of the latest teaching methodologies using lecture format and practical activities that reflect the methodologies in question in each session. A wide range of topics is covered including: 21st century skills; the evolution of learning and teaching theory; reflective teaching practice; autonomous education; school gardens; modern technology in the classroom; project-based learning, problem-based learning, self-organised learning environments, content and language integrated learning; interculturality; critical thinking skills. Throughout the course, participants are encouraged to reflect on their own practice, consider alternative practices and try out a variety of classroom activities which are matched to their own teaching environments. The morning sessions are complemented and reinforced by a series of afternoon activities where the participants are encouraged to enhance their knowledge of Ireland in a more informal environment outside of the classroom, with a focus on exploiting school trips in their own teaching environments to develop 21st century skills, as well as films on the subjects covered.
Format. This course on Educating for the 21st Century is a two-week course consisting of 40 contact hours plus an extensive cultural programme which is directly linked to the morning sessions. Advice is provided on opportunities for extended Informal Learning and Personal Research related to their course on Saturday and Sunday.
Follow Up. On the final day of the course, the participants engage in a reflection session in which they are encouraged to examine benefits gained from the course and complete a course evaluation form. Participants are encouraged to keep contact via email and private social networking. Regular follow-up contact is made with the participants after completion of the course. The Alpha trainers are available for follow-up advice and support at all times.
1) Day one
- On arrival participants meet their tutors and are given an induction covering information about the school and Dublin. They also receive out-of-hours emergency contact telephone numbers for key Alpha personnel.
- On completion of their induction they discuss their needs analysis questionnaires. Details of the course are outlined including the content and methodology of individual sessions. Participants get to know each other through a communicative activity. Participants discuss their professional backgrounds and some general principles of education.
- Review of theory and methodology in modern education. Critical reflection on its relation to classroom practice. Implications for teaching in the 21st century. An afternoon orientation tour of Dublin provides participants with an opportunity to practise their English in a more informal setting outside the classroom, familiarise themselves with the geography and history of the city.
2) Day two
- 21st century skills – much more than just technological skills.
- What is reflective teaching practice? How can it enhance classroom practice?
- Visit to the National Museum with an activity to develop 21st century skills
3) Day three
- Using examples from around the world, an examination of how the concepts of autonomous education can be practically applied.
- An introduction to project-based learning and how it can be used to develop learner autonomy.
- Visit to St. Enda’s School
4) Day four
- What is problem-based learning? How does it differ from project-based learning?
- Introduction to self-organised learning environments (SOLE). The role of the teacher in these settings.
- Film “The Forbidden Education”.
5) Day five
- Technology for teachers. A look at useful tools and resources for educators.
- Technology for learners. A look at useful tools and resources for learners.
- Visit to the Science Museum.
- Working with limited resources – examples from around the world. Using limited resources to develop 21st skills in your own schools.
- How to become a more autonomous teacher.
- Visit to the Jameson Distillery
- A critical look at CLIL.
- Interculturality and its importance in the modern global context.
- Visit to Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art
8) Day eight
- Linking school gardens to other school subjects. Sustainability and permaculture in the 21st century.
- Issues in ELT – a critical examination of subject content through the lens of ELT.
- Visit to an organic food-producing garden
- Using critical pedagogy to promote responsible citizenship in our students.
- Using news items to promote critical thinking skills.
- Film “Schooling the World”
10) Day ten
- Course review and evaluation. Implications for future practice. Establishment of base and guidelines for future contact and networking.
- Establishment of base and guidelines for future contact and networking.