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Brazil Parliamentary Front of Education Hosts International Seminar on Teacher Training

Experts advocate changes in teacher training to improve education outcomes

Brazil Congress, Dec 6, 2016 | The Parliamentary Front of Education in partnership with the Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies held the International Seminar of Teacher Training on December 6, 2016 at the Chamber of Deputies, Brasilia, Brazil. Delegates included congressmen, senators, ministry of education, education professionals, national and international experts, federal managers, civil society, the private sector, international agencies, researchers and model school networks.

Continuous professional development of teachers and the role of the teacher in preparing students for the 21st Century workplace and world were among the themes elaborated upon. The meeting was an important stage of discussion, at the moment in which the National Congress is voting for the reform of high schools and the federal government is elaborating the National Curriculum for 2017. 40% of Brazil’s population is under 24 years of age and the median age is 31.6 years. Brazil’s youth unemployment rate is 15.8% of 15-24 year olds who are part of the labor force but are unemployed. Brazil has over two million teachers.

The President of the Parliamentary Front of Education, MP Alex Canziani (PTB-PR) opened the seminar and lamented the results of Brazil in this year’s International Student Assessment Program (Pisa), which showed a decrease in the three areas assessed: sciences, reading and mathematics. Brazil ranked 64th among 72 countries in the PISA mean scores. The results are published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The (PISA) assessment is undertaken once every three years and the 2015 results were reported on the morning of the seminar.

The President of the Parliamentary
Front of Education, MP Alex Canziani
(PTB-PR)

For Canziani, the results showed the need for changes, especially in teacher training. "When you take the course of pedagogy, which is among the least crowded, without a doubt the lack of career attractiveness and low salary have an important role in this," he said. "We need to be on the alert for the kind of professional we must have to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

Tony Devine Ed.D, Vice President, Education, Global Peace Foundation, said countries and ministries of education are increasingly realizing how important character and creativity competencies are to support social and political stability and counter corruption. Dr. Devine pointed out that in the 2015 PISA, it has for the first time started assessing the competencies of motivation, resilience, collaborative problem solving, social skills and well-being. Participants were surprised that the PISA’s 2030 Framework intends to assess a set of key Global Competencies that intertwine knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.

Devine demonstrated how the Global Peace Foundation’s (GPF) Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) aligns with the PISA 2030 Framework where the Purpose and Character Standards align with PISA’s Attitudes and Values; the Creativity and Relationships standards align with PISA’s Skills and the Learning Standard aligns with the PISA’s Knowledge area.

Tony Devine Ed.D, Vice President,
Education, Global Peace Foundation

Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) that is being developed in eight countries seeks to transform school culture by empowering principals, teachers, and students with the tools to model twenty-first century competencies in their classrooms and beyond. “Certain proficiencies are needed in the workplace,” he told the seminar, “such as integrity, respect, resilience, conscientiousness, creativity, and innovation. These intangibles account for about 80 percent how successful a young person will be in life and work. We are trying to raise the total child not just the cognitive child.”

Devine described another GPF-backed program, called Leap Hubs, which are Leadership and Entrepreneurship incubators in public high schools where highly motivated students are mentored to launch businesses and social enterprises. After three years of testing, piloting and full implementation Leap Hubs are in schools across Kenya with more than 120 innovative ideas in development and 11 are launched or launching. “We have to recognize that education is a complex undertaking,” Devine concluded. “Organizations too often work separately. What we advocate is public, private, and social partnerships among schools, governments, nonprofits, and the business community. This can have more impact. There are so many problems to solve in the developing world, unlimited problems that need entrepreneurship and innovative, ethical leadership.”

Secretary of Basic Education of the Ministry of Education (MEC), Rossieli Soares da Silva, reported that the MEC is attentive to private universities, responsible for training more than 80% of the country's teachers. "There is often a very great gap between what the teacher learns in college and what he is really going to be able to use in the classroom.”

The President of the National Council of Education, Eduardo Deschamps stressed the importance of attracting the attention of young people to teaching life. "It is necessary to create a kind of initial career, to make the student feel since high school interested in teaching," he suggested.

Secretary of Basic Education of the Ministry of
Education (MEC), Rossieli Soares da Silva

"Teaching is not trivial, but activity is trivialized. We consider a special professional who launches a rocket once in a lifetime, but we do not consider special a teacher who launches every year dozens of rockets that are student graduates." stated Priscila Cruz, Executive Director, Movement for All for Education.

Lin Goodwin, Vice Dean, Teachers College, Columbia University pointed out how Singapore (#1 in the 2015 PISA results) in 1997 created a new educational vision called “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation.” Thinking Schools represented a vision of a school system that can develop creative thinking skills, lifelong learning passion and nationalistic commitment in the young. Learning Nation is a vision of learning as a national culture, where creativity and innovation flourish at every level of society.” Finland (#5 on PISA 2015 Results) in the 1970’s transformed its educational system into the global success. Dr. Goodwin stated that although Singapore and Finland are small nations by population, they show that the possibilities of improvement are within the grasp of any country, or any city or state in a country with the right leadership and access to similar resources.

Speakers

Highlighted speakers were: The Executive Director, Movement for All for Education, Priscila Cruz; The Secretary of Basic Education of the Ministry of Education, Rossieli Soares da Silva; The director of Articulation and Innovation of the Ayrton Senna Institute, Executive Director, Lemann Foundation, Denis Mizne; Lin Goodwin, Vice-Dean and Professor of Education, Teachers College (Columbia University - USA); Tony Devine, Vice President, Education, Global Peace Foundation; Ira Lit, PhD in Curriculum Studies, Teacher Training, Stanford University (USA); Paulo Blikstein, PhD in Learning Sciences, Northwestern University.