Innovating Pedagogy

Motivated teachers have more engaged classes, and streamlining administrative tasks can help them focus more time on teaching. Globally, teachers spend three hours a day on work-related tasks like grading and lesson planning, compared to five hours per day actually teaching lessons.

3 hours

of a teacher’s day, on average, is spent on tasks such as grading and lesson planning.

Cambridge Assessment International Education, 2018


of teachers in Spain say technology allows for collaborative work between teachers.

Blink Learning, 2018


of UK teachers say educational technology enables pedagogical innovation and improves educational quality.

Tes, 2018

Innovating Pedagogy

A conversation with Anneli Rautiainen

Head of Innovation Unit, Finnish National Board

Anneli Rautiainen

How do you see professional development evolving over the next 10 years?

Professional development needs to be continuous and part of everyone’s work in the future. Teachers and principals should have an individual professional learning plan, which would include self-reflection and peer reflection. Capabilities will become even more important than knowledge in the fast moving world in the future. Online learning will be evolving. Learning will take place in learning communities, which can be global or local.

Describe effective classroom innovation in 10 words or less.

Effective classroom innovation has been co-created by or with students.

What foundational pieces must be in place for schools and educators to effectively innovate their classroom instruction?

A collaborative school culture must be in place. Teachers and students form a learning community, where learning is continuous and knowledge is being shared. Principal’s task is to build possibilities for the learning communities to meet and work together.

Hear more from the experts

Innovating Pedagogy

A conversation with Karen Cator

President & CEO, Digital Promise

How do you see professional development evolving over the next 10 years?

One-size-fits-all professional development classes have long been seen as inefficient and lacking impact on improving the decisions that classroom teachers make. Research shows that classroom coaching is one of the most effective forms of professional development, as the coach can model strategies for management and student engagement, co-teach with the classroom teacher, observe and provide feedback, or support groups of students. Improvements in the model and real-time virtual access to classrooms for coaching and mentoring are likely on the horizon!

How have you seen technology positively impact professional development?

Teachers are learners and like their students, they learn in varied ways. The internet enables online access to excellent opportunities to advance knowledge and skills through video explanations and demonstrations, access to experts, communities of practice, and myriad ideas and research results. Additionally, the ability to publish widely or share with a mentor or small community expands the opportunity to both reflect and receive feedback. Professional development that includes smart use of data, presented in accessible and understandable ways, can illuminate needs for changes in strategy or student groupings and provide recommendations on how to do so.

Describe effective professional development in 10 words or less.

Authentic and applicable, personal and relevant, connected and reflective, inquiry based and student focused.

What foundational pieces must be in place for effective professional development?

Professional development, as with all learning, must present a purpose for learning and teachers must think it will be a good use of their time. It should focus on the subject matter, student needs and/or management—aligned to classroom practice. It should present a clear opportunity to apply the learning, evaluate, and reflect.

Innovating Pedagogy

A conversation with Jun Takahashi

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Tokyo Gakugei University

How have you seen technology impact the way that schools enable educators to be innovative in their classrooms?

I think everything is changing. You can see how to improve the quality and quantity of teaching methods, evaluation methods, daily learning records, close communication with parents and students and their continuous records, and so on. For example, active learning emphasizes the aspect of using technology in learning activities, but it also contributes to improving the teaching ability of teachers. Effective and concrete teaching methods have been communicated to teachers on a daily basis one after another via the Internet. Compared to the previous books and papers, the frequency is higher, the videos are easier to understand, feedback is shared, and it has become easier to improve teaching methods. Improvements are progressing daily as learning processes and results are stored electronically, shared with children and parents, and the feedback is easily reviewed on a daily basis. Since these improvements are progressing little by little, day by day, there may be cases where the change can not be felt so clearly, but I think it has changed a lot compared to ten years ago.

What does effective innovation look like in schools? What about ineffective innovation?

I think that there are two types of innovation: a type that changes completely at once, and a type that changes dramatically as a result when looking back on a few-year basis with the accumulation of daily improvement. The former is also necessary occasionally, but I think the latter is particularly effective for schools. The work of teachers in Japan is very complicated, and there are many stakeholders such as students, parents, local people, teachers, the Board of Education, etc., and it is essential to form an agreement among them. Technology is a tool, and I think that innovation from day-to-day improvement is essential for development, given that it does not work well if introduced alone.

What foundational pieces must be in place for schools and educators to effectively innovate their classroom instruction?

I would say having a mind that will improve and develop daily without being satisfied with the current situation. For example, if a major innovation occurs, that part will develop greatly, but some distortion will occur around it. Distortion is something that you can see after doing, and you will notice in your daily work. As we deal with children with diverse and complex backgrounds, we can only improve and develop little by little each day carefully.

Innovating Pedagogy

A conversation with Dr. Hanna Dumont

DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education

How do you see professional development evolving over the next 10 years?

As our societies continue to become more and more diverse, teachers are struggling on how best to respond to the different needs of the students in their classrooms. This is not surprising given that most of instructional practices in today’s school are still focused on the ‘average learner’. In my view, the main challenge thus lies in advancing instructional practices that respond to the individual needs of students. This calls for intense professional development of teachers in which they learn how to teach 'adaptively'.

How have you seen technology positively impact professional development?

Despite schools being the institutions in which children spend most of their time, they lack behind in using digital technologies for instructional purposes. My impression is that the same holds for professional development. In other words, I have not yet seen technology impact professional development in education.

What does it look like when technology is used effectively alongside professional development? When used ineffectively?

I think one of the major potentials of using technology in professional development is to connect teachers with each other and help them to become ‘critical friends’, who can give each other feedback when trying out new instructional practices. More generally speaking, it is important that technology is not being used for the sake of technology - it is important that the technology is catered to the needs of teachers.

What foundational pieces must be in place for effective professional development?

Professional development is more likely to impact school practices, when teachers are asked to apply what they have learned to their own school and classroom context and try out new instructional practices. Moreover, peer learning and feedback among teachers should be an integral part of professional development.

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