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Elena Arbués, Director of Master's Degree Universitario en academic staff

The factor core topic to improve the Education

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 09:37:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

For yet another year we celebrate the day of those who dedicate themselves to the profession professor. It might seem a minor task in our global society of knowledge where information flows and we have the means to access it almost instantaneously. Why, then, would anyone devote their energy to teaching something that is within our reach? Precisely because in this local and global world, lifelong learning is inevitable. But that learning is age-dependent, so the touchstone is the professor able, in the school stages, to enhance the cognitive development , skills and attitudes for later and lifelong learning.

Several programs of study show that the quality of academic staff is one of the factors that most influence student learning and performance. Since 2000, the education systems of 63 countries have been evaluated every three years by PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment assessment . The publication of the results of this OECD report is a reference for governments, schools and families and, above all, a factor to be taken into account to guide the process of teaching of future generations.

Eastern countries are the ones that continue to obtain the best results. Among Western countries there are no significant variations, Spain has reached the average level in reading comprehension and science, but not in mathematics. In 15 years of PISA tests, Spain has only improved by five points. The country in our environment that stands out for its uninterrupted improvement is Portugal, which has risen nine points in three years. The country's academic authorities point out that the success is due to the measures implemented, among them, the final external assessment of the knowledge achieved by the student body and the introduction of clear curricular objectives; but also to improve, after the teaching university, the didactic training of the academic staff.

In Spain, the regions with the best results are Castilla y León, Navarra and Madrid. In the case of Castilla y León, its upward trend has been maintained for the last 12 years. Its good results cannot be attributed to a greater investment in Education, but to what the counselor of Education, Fernando Rey, and the general director, Pilar González, have commented: families who attach great importance to their children's Education and who trust and support academic staff; an educational policy that is committed to long-term improvement deadline; and a motivated academic staff , with a very good preparation, which must pass demanding competitive examinations.

The TALIS Study on teaching and Learning, also from the OECD, is an international program that focuses on the teaching and learning practices that take place in schools; that is, it focuses on the characteristics that make up effective learning. In the last report special attention was paid to the Degree self-confidence with which teachers face educational challenges; and to the extent to which classes take place in an orderly and favorable environment for learning. Among the conclusions drawn we find that, when teachers consider that effective teaching is a skill that can be learned, this feeling of self-efficacy financial aid them to better analyze and solve problems.

Particularly interesting is the work of Ildefonso Méndez, professor of Economics at the University of Murcia, Teaching Practices and Student Achievement, in which he correlates both reports in eight of the countries participating in PISA and TALIS, including Spain. According to teachers, the main factors that contribute to the improvement of their internship are: their level of training, that their students can work in small groups where there is no room for the lecture, having studied the subject they teach and their ability to motivate students.

The preparation of teachers is therefore one of the fundamental determinants of student performance. There are several fronts open in our system educational, but in terms of improving the learning of our students, it is important to focus on the solution. And there is no doubt that the factor core topic to improve Education is to strengthen a quality profession professor and to optimize the conditions in which they work.

Those of us who dedicate ourselves to the initial training of academic staff must participate in this task. Every day we see the enthusiasm with which students from the Degrees of Education or those who, coming from various university programs of study , are preparing to become teachers, arrive in our classrooms. Their initial training is core topic, but they are not immune to the pressure of improvisation, to the lack of means, to frustration, to slips in judgment, to the problems present in classroom, to worries and to mistakes. Let us make sure that they are able to carry out their work well and let us not kill their illusion.