Lesson for teacher at Korston: not to ban kids from using gadgets and learn how to use them

International EDU Russia Forum where challenges that modern school is facing were discussed took place in Kazan

One can understand the importance of the topic of education by the list of participants – Rustam Minnikhanov was among them. Despite his occupation, the president made time to visit the conference of teachers. Experts called Tatarstan an advanced region in terms of education. Schools and kindergartens are built and repaired, new technologies are implemented – teachers are provided with PCs and e-school diaries. The other side of the coin is that teachers can't use the tools they are given. As a result, they don't make progress. Realnoe Vremya tells about the gap between teachers and pupils, school of the present and future and how this gap can be bridged.

Where is the browser?

A school director (written on her badge) gave me her smartphone with a tone that doesn't tolerate objections and said like a teacher: ''Take a photo of us. Press here.'' She smiled and hugged her colleague (Selfie? No, she has probably never heard of it). I was asked by teachers to take photos another five times, they gave me their phones, poked in the screen: ''Press this button''. Then they looked at my eyes with distrust to make sure I did understand that I could take a photo by pressing this button where camera was featured.

''Now teachers get new opportunities. If earlier there were teachers who could not use the mouse, now new technologies give an opportunity to give classes of a better quality and do it creatively,'' told meanwhile Official Secretary and Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Russia Pavel Zenkovich.

Pavel Zenkovich: ''Now teachers get new opportunities. If earlier there were teachers who could not use the mouse, now new technologies give an opportunity to give classes of a better quality and do it creatively''

Probably teachers were taught to use the mouse, but technologies have developed so much in recent years that the mouse is not needed anymore. Teachers are thrown overboard again. Organisers of the forum demonstrated it even if they did not wish it. They offered to participate in an inquiry called The Role of School in Formation of Human Capital Assets.

The teachers were ready to raise their hands, but the moderator said to open the browser in their gadgets, sign in and choose the answer. The teachers were not ready for it. A madam with a bouffant hairdo like a director on the right asked where the browser was located. People on the left asked what ''to sign in'' meant. The teachers in front of them could not connect to Wi-Fi. As a result, nobody managed to answer. The director on the right reddened and sweated first, then gave up and started to watch a gallery, teachers on the left began to play Tetris.

''The main task is to adapt education to challenges and requirements of the 21 st century. The world we are living in changes at a cosmic speed…'' Zenkovich continued from the stage.

Modern school doesn't need old-type teachers

The gap between the teachers stuck in the past and modern kids who not only keep with the time but are also ahead of it is the main problem. Bluntly speaking, if earlier teacher was the only information source and was treated with undoubted respect, now one can get knowledge not only at school (wherever but not at school). All people speak about it but they don't know what to do.

''The technologies that presuppose that a teacher says and kids listen to her became obsolete a long time ago. School should not fall behind life, and modern teacher must be modern. It could not be an old-type teacher who was a mother for everyone. Of course, nobody cancelled human relations. But teacher must move with the time. If kids have gadgets, teacher must have a gadget. Teacher should not ban these resources but use them in teaching,'' says Education Quality Monitoring Director of the Higher School of Economics Elena Kardanova.

Elena Kardanova: ''Of course, nobody cancelled human relations. But teacher must move with the time. If kids have gadgets, teacher must have a gadget. Teacher should not ban these resources but use them in teaching''. Photo: hse.ru

Kids switch to domestic education

Now people don't trust school. Many parents are switching to domestic education. It is so popular judging by the exhibition – pavilions with online educational platforms were everywhere. One can get a certificate at home. Individual approach and flexible schedule are one of the advantages that modern school lacks.

''School was freed from its educational function, overloaded programme and non-compliance of teachers – it all pushes parents to switch their kids to domestic education. Home education allows to avoid stress that a kid faces at school. Stress arises because kids are not able to withstand these loads. But there are pitfalls – the compliance of parents' preparation level. It is impossible to achieve good results at primary and high school when subjects where parents are incompetent appear,'' says Irina Volynets, chairwoman of the National Parent's Committee.

Irina Volynets has four children. By the way, they all study at school and are not going to switch to home education. In general, she doesn't have claims against secondary education except the Unified State Exam. The National Parent's Committee fought for cancellation of the Unified State Exam. They think it is their victory that this year tests in all subjects besides the foreign language have been cancelled.

Irina Volynets: ''School was freed from its educational function, overloaded programme and non-compliance of teachers – it all pushes parents to switch their kids to domestic education''. Photo: rusakadem.ru

Losers go to pedagogical universities

The quality of knowledge of very teachers is another problem. We can tell off pensioners for not being modern as much as we want but young people don't want to go to work to school. Deputy director of the prestigious Kirov Physical and Mathematical Lyceum Aleksandra Kostrova complained that 1/3 of their teachers are pensioners. If they all retire at once, the educational process will either fall or lose its quality a lot.

''We are one of the leading educational establishments of Kirov Oblast. But the personnel problem is also as topical for us as it is for a small school in a village. A university graduate doesn't have accommodation, especially if he or she comes from a district. They have to rent a flat or take out a mortgage or live in a company-owned flat. We have two young teachers who used a housing programme. Another two young teachers have not solved this problem yet. And we ask whether they will stay or go if they are offered better conditions. The young needs guarantees. This is why they think whether they should go to work to school,'' Aleksandra Kostrova tells.

The quality of knowledge of young teachers is the other side of the coin. People who could not go to other educational establishments go to pedagogical universities.

''The High School of Economics Professor Anatoly Kasparzhak's analytical review appeared several years ago. He told that losers went to pedagogical universities, those who could not find a place. I don't agree. If a person went to pedagogical university to teach kids, he or she will get quality knowledge,'' Kostrova says.

To estimate teachers' professional competency in Tatarstan, they go through Unified State Exams for the second year. The results are not good, they know some subjects worse than graduates.

Marjo Kyllönen told there was not any personnel hunger at Finland schools. There was a queue of candidates, only the best people are chosen

Finland experience

Helsinki Education Department Director was a special guest of the forum. Finland school is considered one of the best schools in the world. Marjo Kyllönen told there was not any personnel hunger at Finland schools. There was a queue of candidates, only the best people are chosen. Moreover, people don't go to teach because of a high salary.

''Money?'' Marjo Kyllönen surprised when she was asked about the motivation of teachers in Finland. She said it was not the money. Pedagogical education was always appreciated in Finland. The profession of teacher is very prestigious. Kyllönen told about an interdisciplinary educational system when schools don't have any division into separate subjects. Projects are the foundation of education.

At the moment, Russia has other tasks except teaching teachers new technologies – to make education standard. A pupil just moves from one region to another one but turns out like in another country. Not only in another region, it is difficult to understand the programme at times having changed a school in one city.

''Our task is to give all our pupils one basic general nucleus,'' said Deputy Education Minister Pavel Zenkovich.

Another novelty is that knowledge is likely to stop to be given because one can get knowledge outside school. To teach a kid to find information on his or her own is the task set for teachers.

By Daria Turtseva. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru