Pedagogy and assessment to support employability in a world of sustainable and inclusive development 

This session was chaired by Rupert Maclean, QAPCO Professional Chair in Vocational Studies, UNESCO Chair on TVET and Sustainable Development, CNA-Q, Qatar. Presentations were delivered by Tapio Varis, Professor Emeritus of Professional Education; UNESCO Chair in Global E-Learning, University of Tampere, Finland and Maurice Galton, Associate Director of Research, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

New Challenges to Vocational Education and Training: Approaches in Finland
Tapio Varis (University of Tampere, Finland)

The presenter reviews a number of strategies including UNESCO Education 2030; Finland’s Education Strategy after 2015; e-Learning trends in 2018; a plan for New Vocational Education and Training in 2018; Confederation of Finnish Industries; success stories in Finnish education and the Media Literacy Staircase (Finland).

A critical review of TVET in Finland is provided. “Why am I proud of Finland? We think we are good in education. Are we good in TVET? This is another issue.” Education is very important in times of rapid change. But according to the World Bank, providing education is not enough. What is important and a real return on investment, is learning and acquiring skills. In many communities learning is not happening, and this is a waste of human capital.
From the perspective of the learner this includes competencies. There is not enough theoretical understanding that in essence we are dealing with communication competence, where media is only part of a process. Some societies communicate by dance, others by art, others are oral communicators. For example, the best sales people are interested in people and their needs rather than necessarily the product. They can communicate. We must incorporate this broader view of skills into our education system.

Using Classroom Research to Help Leaders and Administrators Formulate TVET Policy
Maurice Galton (University of Cambridge, UK)

Design and technology are creative learning. They teach you about possibilities, competency and resilience when you fail. Why does innovation in schools often fail? Teachers repeat the same things over and over.  Examples given from Confucius through to modern time demonstrate that this is an issue.

High stakes testing puts emphasis on drills. There is a lack of flexibility. Three key things are required to foster creativity: autonomy; competence and relatedness.
You need a system that allows participants to share. Tasks that are authentic and meaningful are best. The speaker referred to an example of an Asthma Space Mask designed by an 11-year-old.
It requires a move from a default pedagogy to exploratory pedagogies through to negotiated pedagogy.  
How do you develop a pedagogy for the 21st Century? Any professional development course must be sustained over time; involve a group of teachers; focus on key instructional issues; and involve a task that teachers use in their class. An alternative is to set up in-house professional development with communities of practice among teachers. What is required is professional learning communities, encouraging a dissemination of knowledge; deep learning experience; wide spread communication; reflective practice in the schools; interschool sharing; linked to specific content. Then you are likely to be able to see real change.