Does a Competency-based approach, require a competent teacher?


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Does a Competency-based approach, require a competent teacher?

  1. 1. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 1 For decades competencies have been used in the Educational field. Some education systems in different countries have adopted this Competencies based approach. It was first introduced in the US, by the 60‟s. In the 70‟s Germany and United Kingdom, and Australia in the 90‟s. In the US, with the larger population of minorities, and racial integration during the 60‟s and 70‟s, the public school system had to grapple with issues of cultural sensitivity, as most teachers from public schools came from white, and middle class backgrounds. Most of these teachers were educated and primarily English speakers. Therefore the government of the United States observed the necessity of training educators in the area of competencies, that way teachers could work effectively with children of all social backgrounds and social classes. Remember that United States it‟s a country of Emigrants. Then in Australia and Germany, Competencies were recognized as a method for vocational training, in other words is what a person can do in their workplace.” People with different work training can achieve anything if they are trained in the Competencies based approach” According to the Australian department of education. In the United Kingdom competence was basically approached as „the ability to do a particular activity to a prescribed standard (Working Group on Vocational Qualifications 1986). UDACE proclaimed that „competence is concerned in what people can do, rather then what they know. In Mexico we have only two educational reforms based on competencies. The first educational reform based on competencies was introduced in 2004 in preschool level. It was first introduced as a pilot project, but later on, the PEP 2004 (Programa de educacion preescolar) Work under this competency based approach. Where children are able to integrate their own learning and use them in their own context. The Second reform was introduced in 2007 in High School level by RIEMS.(Reforma integral de la educación media superior) Which I‟ll explain further in this document. This is only a clear indicator of how far behind we are in Educational system here in Mexico. When in the countries mentioned above, had developed a quality educational system, in our Country we still are debating about teaching by competencies. And some schools are still against this Competencies approach. Perhaps the work and costs that implies to be certified as a trained teacher to teach under the competency approach, many teachers are reluctant to get trained, especially in the public education system. In this paper I want to demonstrate what are the benefits of teaching by Competencies a foreign language. But reasoning in the retrogression our educational system is, I can‟t avoid asking something that comes in my mind. The Competencies- based approach requires a competent Teacher?
  2. 2. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 2 Later on I will talk about the different competency- based curriculums and exit profiles of students. Whenever the term competency is mentioned, a “Know- how-to act” process is implied. Because of its global and integrating characteristics, acquiring a competency requires learning in motor, affective and cognitive fields. In my opinion there‟s no doubt that students can learn a foreign language by competencies, it‟s a very effective way of learning, because it implies constructivism, and Social constructivism. Competencies consist of a description of the essential skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors required for effective performance of a real world task or activity. Constructivism and Social Constructivism related to competencies? As David Ausubel mentioned in his Constructivist theory, “knowledge should be meaningful for students, based on their own construction of knowledge” In order for students do develop competencies they must have prior knowledge and then construct new knowledge in a meaningful way. And then once the new knowledge is acquired, the students need to solve problems in a real life situation, and here it is where Social constructivism comes in. Lev Vygotsky establishes the importance of working together in order to reach deep thinking. By acquiring new knowledge that is significant, students now can share, discuss, and argue with peers. And eventually solve problems in an effective way, once they have construct, reconstruct and construct knowledge again. But today let‟s focus on the Teachers Competencies. According to Hugh Field a professor of Garnett College, says that CBTE (Competence based teacher education) difficulties arise when attempt precisely a teacher‟s role. Generally Knowledge, technique and style are essential. Knowledge: include education theory Technique: implies mastery and application of teaching skills Style: embraces attitudes and traits I consider these three concepts to be basic in a Teacher who wants to develop competences in his or her students, a Teacher should have a total domain of what education is, and solely mastering of the subject to be taught (English) . Also the Methods and techniques need to be mastered by the teacher in order to have Students learning properly. And finally the Style which is very important to create a bond with students and have an effective communication between teacher and student. The teacher style will define whether a class is boring or not. The approach based in competencies takes us to question ourselves as teachers. What do I need to do to develop competencies work on students?
  3. 3. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 3 I‟ll definitely say that we need to change our attitudes toward knowledge and teaching. Although we are in constant training taking courses here and there, there is still room to grow as professionals, and I‟d like to point out some competencies or qualities that we as Teachers need to put in practice.  Do more than Teaching as merely communication Knowledge: We need to reflect on, what are we transmitting to our students? Is my teaching meaningful to them? We need to go beyond the curriculum to teach and transmit meaningful knowledge.  Make students learn: It seems like we‟re very busy going through our programs and trying to finishing books, though we forget sometimes about allowing students learning. And by the end of the scholar year, students know only a certain percentage of the subject.  Get involved In all activities: It‟s important for us to get involved in some other activities in our workplace that do not directly correspond to our area of expertise, This way students can see that we have a commitment to get the best out of ourselves and participate in other areas as well. By doing this we create empathy with the students.  Create various means of teaching: This is essential for teachers. We need to look for different ways of teaching our subject and get constantly training to do so. Opening to learning from the teacher it‟s not all, but we also need to commit to ourselves and our students.  Negotiate with students and accept their points of view: Negotiation is the key for many accomplishments. Like everything in life we also need to negotiate learning with our students, what do I have to do as a teacher in order to have a positive outcome? And as prepare as we are, there‟s always something that we ignore and we need to be humble to accept students‟ points of view. There shouldn‟t be always our way. Our curriculum tells us what to teach, but we must make this learning significant for students.  Work on projects: Teachers must have a wide knowledge about procedures on investigation and research. This way students learn to investigate and not having everything easy. Projects are excellent ways of develop Critical Thinking in our students. One basic ability to work under competencies  Complete knowledge on group Dynamics: Every teacher need to have this competence well developed in order to have every student being part of the whole class. The Teacher needs
  4. 4. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 4 to know how to distinguish the different kinds of dynamics, and a solid knowledge on group techniques.  Being an assertive and propositive guide: The teacher must be able to conduct discussion, to act as a mediator between the learners, and analyze the group functioning.  Be an Encourager: The teacher must appreciate the learner‟s effort to succeed and make students understand that errors and doubts are part of a learning ´process  Enhance the value of team work: Nowadays social learning it‟s essential to facilitate learning, some students learn better by sharing with their peers, and this way they have a more complete idea, and knowledge will grow inevitably. Construct, Reconstruct and construct again. (Social constructivism theory of Vygotsky) To be competent as a teacher it is necessary to develop problem solving skills and abilities to think as a whole, it has a direct relation with the idea of “Construct” which is the perception that competencies build and develops from these aspects: The curriculum as a closets reference to the master, and the programs and plans of study, that are synthesized in social-culture that each teacher face with students in the classroom. I also consider important to have teachers trained in pedagogical models that can help us to understand the new education focused on the mind‟s education and the socio- affective spheres of students, teaching students in an integral way (as a whole). Teachers from new school based on competencies need to be facilitator of learning processes, problematizer teachers that challenge student‟s mind to develop competent students. Of course in the end, the possibilities of being a competent teacher are based in certain skills and abilities we all posses in some extend, and a full commitment to continuously get training, and updating or teaching Methods. And as I mention before the second educational reform in Mexico, based on the competencies approach, started in 2007, but this time in High School level. It‟s important to mention that besides creating this new reform mainly to form competent students, it was also created to stop the increase in drop out students from high school. A great number of students were not continuing their studies due to different factors. Economy, Girls becoming mothers at early ages, dysfunctional families, gangs etc. So with this new reform, the SEP (secretaria de educacion publica) Helped students to continue their studies at least until high school.
  5. 5. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 5 According to RIEMS these are the eight competencies that express the profile of a teacher in High School working under the competency based approach. 1 Organizes his / her continuous professional career formation: I think it‟s important for all of us as teachers to be aware of being constantly in trainings to be better teachers. 2 Dominates and structures the knowledge to facilitate significant learning: As teachers we must mastering our area of expertise, so that we can transmit significant learning. 3 Plans the learning and teaching processes under the competency approach, and situates them in different context, as disciplinary, curricular, and social: It‟s important to plan our competencies to be developed by our students in different fields and context, so that they know how to solve a problem whenever is faced. 4 Takes to the practice the teaching and learning processes in an effective way, creative and innovated to his/ her institutional context: Remember that our teaching have to be significant to our students, so we must look for attractive ways of teaching and use them in our own school.(context) 5 Evaluates the teaching and learning processes with a formative focus: We are teaching future members of society and we want them to be productive members that fit nice with others and have significant values. (Forming the cognitive subject) 6 Builds environments for autonomous and collaborative learning: Our students need to learn by themselves and also with their peers. (Constructivism and social constructivism) 7 Contributes to the generation of a healthy environment that facilitates the integral development of students: We need to keep in mind that besides academic content we also need to take in consideration the students fulfillment of their physiological spheres. Taking care of the student as a whole. 8 Participates on projects in order to help the school be a better institution: As teachers we have the moral obligation of help our schools to get better, by designing programs, giving extra hours teaching, opening after school labs, etc. To show commitment tours our school and students. The first objective that each school should have is to have students acquire learning to get the necessary tools that allow them to survive, and to subside in society in which they are immersed. Teaching Significant Learning Context Teacher Mediation (Competences Acquisition) Learning
  6. 6. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 6 PROS AND CONS OF TEACHING BY COMPETENCES CONS: Many teachers here in Mexico are used to teach in a traditional way, so these will imply a change in the teacher‟s attitude toward knowledge and towards teaching. Due to the fact that teaching by competencies requires the use of Technology, many teachers don‟t even know how to operate a computer, nowadays technology plays a very important role in modern Education, and unfortunately there are still teachers afraid of it. Getting trained or certify to be a teacher with a degree or a diploma in teaching by competencies, it‟s expensive and no many teachers are willing to pay, or the schools they work for do not support them economically speaking. The context where some teachers work it‟s not favorable in many occasions, especially in the public school system. Lack of interest on principals to get their teachers trained. Few institutions officially recognized to give training. Teachers free time to attend school. Time frame for training can be too long (8-9 months). PROS: Professional development as a teacher Increase of curriculum More opportunities to teach in different schools Perhaps better salary More knowledgeable teachers Better job opportunities Confident increase Being recognized as a competent Teacher As we can see there are the two sides of the coin in teaching under this competency based approach, I‟m sure that results can be observable in the long run, if schools could do a follow up on students careers. I consider that these two reforms in Mexico are essential for our education system success. By having kids at early age starting to deal with real life situations and continue all the way to High School, where students are ready to face, their professional lives.
  7. 7. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 7 COMPETENCIES TIMELINE 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2004 2010 (2007) 2020 According to what I‟ve shown in this paper, Mexico is far behind in education in comparison with other countries. Although there have been accomplishments made on this matter. We as teachers need to have students, principals and SEP. Rely in what we are and what we have, and so they need to rely as well on us as capable teachers willing to respond to the education demands. And with every person involve in Education, Teachers, principal parents, administrative staff, and support staff, we all can transcend in favor of our students‟ education. If there were a measurable evaluation, as far as how competent our students are at the end of their education here in Mexico. I definitely think that we could improve or experiment with new approaches in education. Tangible results would be evaluated and seen by those people involve in education. Having said all the information above, I‟d like to say that the Competency based approach; it‟s no longer a paradigm. It‟s a reality that has taken over the traditional school teaching, more and more schools are getting familiar with this approach in the public and private system. Competencies first used in the USA Competencies in Germany and the United Kingdom Competencies in Australia Competencies in Mexico (preschool level) Competencies in Mexico (High School level) Where Mexico is going to stand in Education?
  8. 8. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 8 Some known schools here in Mexico that work under the competency based approach are: UAG (Universidad autonoma de Guadalajara) Tecnológico de Monterrey, ITESO (Instituto tecnológico de studios superiors de Occidente) Universidad Anahuac, only to mention some. These institutions have proved that the Competency based approach, really works, demonstrating that graduate students from these campuses, are competent enough to get a job in a foreign country, with high demanding standards of productivity. And answering the question which is the title of this paper. I‟d say that definitely the competencies- based approach requires competent teachers. COMPETENCIE BASED APPROACH IN MY CONTEXT (SCHOOL) Now it‟s time for me to tell you about my school. I‟m currently working in a private institution in Uruapan, Michoacán. The name of the school is, “Colegio Hidalgo de Michoacán, AC”. A Catholic institution that is part of a congregation called, “Hijas de María Inmaculada de Guadalupe”. This congregation has presence in the majority of the states in Mexico, but also there are schools in South America and North America. In South America, we have presence in countries like, El Salvador, Bolivia and Chile. And in North America we have presence in Chicago Illinois. So it‟s really a big congregation of schools under one philosophy, which is the formation of students in values, and an integral humanistic approach. This was the philosophy of the founder “José Antonio Plancarte y Labastida”. My school was certified as a quality school for education, in 2008. By the CNEP (Comisión nacional de escuelas Particulares) and one of the strengths to get this certification was the competency based approach, which we have worked for the past five years. Thanks to our “continuous improvement department (designing a competency based approach panning)” and principals, we have adopted this way of work. Taking Dr. LAURA FRADE as a model to develop this approach under competencies. Being one of the first schools in Uruapan that started working under this approach. First we started to work in preschool level under competencies by the 2004, with the Education reform above mentioned. Later on we continue working and planning our classes like this in Elementary, Junior High and High School. Back in 2009 when I was a High School teacher, all of us (High School Teachers) attended a training called. “Diplomado de educación basado en Competencias” given by. Tec. de Monterrey. This was an action as a response to be certifies teachers that SEP requested in order to be teaching in High School. I have to mention that some students‟ generations are different than others as time passes by And as they graduate, we can see what they‟ve achieved during the scholar year.
  9. 9. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 9 The first generation of students that graduated under the competency based approach implemented in my school, showed favorable results in at least 85% of graduated students, who continued their education in different universities. With proud and happiness we (the high school teachers) received very good comments from those universities where our students continued their education. They had a profile of competent students academically speaking, but also they were well educated, with values that made them different from other students. To me this is a clear indicator that this approach really works. But still we need teachers trained on this matter to develop the skills needed to be a competent teacher, working under a competency based approach. As I was doing research to do this paper, I found that in The US, the public system schools in some states like California are working now with what they call “the Technology Competencies”. Where the schools provide lap-tops and electronic tablets for students, so they can learn in a more meaningful way in their own pacing, and contributing to help our environment using less paper in the classrooms. And again I ask myself. How long it has to pass for Mexico to imitate this model or other Successful models throughout the world? Are we not capable to transform education, so we can get out of this retrogression? We can make this a reality for everyone if we keep pushing our education department and by getting rid of syndicates that stop education. Teachers, parents, and administrators we still on time to embrace the 21st Century teaching methods instead of seeing technology as the "enemy" of education
  10. 10. The Competencies- based approach: Requires a competent Teacher? INSTITUTO CULTURALMEXICANO NORTEAMERICANO DE MICHOACAN 10 SOURCES: Wikipedia. Org tbgspe. Anuies// portal educativo Riems 2007 Cambridge Journal of Education 1991 Cpled Cida (Canadian international development agency) Robert J. Marzano British Council BBC Digital education/Techno competences. 2010