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Inspiring educators through professional learning courses

While analysing the present needs of educators and developing the professional learning required, the Institute for Education is also trying to be proactive by anticipating the required changes in education. Photo: Shutterstock

While analysing the present needs of educators and developing the professional learning required, the Institute for Education is also trying to be proactive by anticipating the required changes in education. Photo: Shutterstock

In a global and fast-changing society, teaching has become an arduous task as it cannot be termed as the passing of knowledge to learners. It needs to reposition the learner as central while engaging him or her in the learning process through authentic tasks. This puts a lot of pressure on the profession as educators need to be equipped with the right skill-set to face these challenges and provide a worthwhile educational experience.

The vision of the Institute for Education is to offer a menu of accredited courses, short programmes and qualifications, contact and online or blended, from which teachers can choose according to personal relevance and identified needs. This accessibility to a variety of courses aims to increase the intrinsic urge to enhance one’s professional development and to empower teachers. It aims to truly treat the teacher as a reflective practitioner.

The institute promotes high-quality education for all educators, fosters learning communities and instils education with equity and social justice. It is a hub where educators have the opportunity to augment their required competences. Relevant accredited professional learning programmes are provided for educators at all levels as well as parents to help them enhance the learning experience of their students and children. The success of the learning programmes is experienced when the outcomes are visible in what the learners can actually do. Learning is scaffolded as the learner grows and moves on to higher levels.

The institute is set to empower teachers to be more self-directed learners. It aims to inspire educators through the professional learning courses it designs and offers, which will hopefully have a cascading effect, whereby educators inspire learners to cultivate an inquisitive, critical and creative mind. The outcome will provide a structured, coherent and comprehensive professional development system by moving away from traditional methodologies and adopting a more transformative stance, which will lead educators to maximise on professional learning and take responsibility for their own development.

A hub where educators have the opportunity to augment their required competences

The institute started offering courses in October 2016. It has since developed a large number of accredited short courses tailor-made to support the different professional needs of educators. Educators have the possibility to analyse their strengths and weaknesses and decide the areas in which they require support. Such courses can actually transform a perceived or actual weakness into an opportunity for professional growth.

The institute offers over 70 accredited courses that encourage teachers to continue to develop and to extend their competences, revitalising the pedagogical and assessment quality of education. The main challenge for the institute is the creation of a community of learners and effective practitioners who delight in the progress of their learners.

The institute’s courses range from MQF Level 4 to MQF Level 7, and one can choose to do short courses ranging from 1 ECTS to 8 ECTS. Many issues are covered in these courses, such as pedagogy, assessment, multiculturalism, engagement with parents, autism, dyslexia and inquiry-based learning.

Moreover, the institute has already developed two postgraduate certificates at MQF Level 7, one of which is aimed at supply teachers who hold a degree in a subject taught in a secondary school but are employed in a primary school. Twenty-six teachers have already graduated.

Another course at the same level, entitled ‘Assessment for Learning Strategies in the Primary Level’ is currently being delivered to a number of primary teachers during their curriculum time. LSAs are also being given the opportunity to take part in an MQF Level 4  course entitled ‘Supporting Students with Individual Educational Needs’.

Apart from all this, a number of teachers are seeking their own accredited professional development through the institute after school hours and consequently grow professionally.

The institute has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, the Institute of Tourism Studies, the University of Malta and HaagaHelia University, Helsinki, and also with the National Literacy Agency. More will follow soon.

The institute is experiencing a very interesting and exciting period as it is growing at a fast and steady rate. While analysing the present needs of educators and developing the professional learning required, it is also trying to be proactive by anticipating the required changes in education. It needs to equip all educators with the required competences to make them relevant and functional to the needs of their learners.

To view the institute’s prospectus visit the link below.

http://instituteforeducation.gov.mt/en/Documents/Prospectus.pdf

Joanne Grima is CEO of the Institute for Education.

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