Portsbridge Educational Services, with support from the University of Sussex UK, held the annual Exposure Conference on “Rethinking Teaching and Learning: Developments, Problems and prospects” in Rockview Hotel Abuja, from 7th-8th of June, 2019.
The Conference had 80 educators from across Nigeria, experienced education experts, development partners and researchers. The resource persons were Dr. Katrina Korb, Dr. Modupe Olateju, Mrs. Carol Barlow and Mr. Franklin Adjetey
The high level conversation projected and harnessed innovations and best practices that are evidence based and crucial drivers of increased educational development in Nigeria.
Partners from World Bank and University of Portsmouth in their goodwill messages encouraged Dr. Stella Ozigi-Adagiri, The Director of Portsbridge Educational Services, to remain steadfast in improving the standard of teachers’ continuous professional development. Dr. Adekola from World bank stressed the need for robust collaboration between the three tiers of government, NGOs and private sectors to bridge the existing gaps in the educational sector. He further expressed the willingness of world bank to partner with individuals and organizations on project as the Exposure Conference to fine tune the educational sector of Nigeria.
Dr. Modupe spoke on the topic; Conceptual Framework of Teaching and Learning in the classroom. She outlined basic domains needed to upturn and shift education to the next level. They included; Curriculum and its assessment, the teacher (teaching vs facilitating), School leadership, wellbeing, attendance and psychological balance of students, link and partnerships with parents and communities (observational skills, mentorship and communication), accountability mechanisms and processes, quality assurance and support systems (in terms of monitoring, evaluation, supervision and impaction). She stated that learning can only occur when a change is observed (it could be daily, weekly, or seasonally) or when a skill is mastered. She reiterated the need for cross cutting factors in terms of Technology and finance as a major force to rethink the status of teaching and learning process.
Mr. Franklin, the founder of Project Know Thyself, explained the project as an enlightening, enriching expository and creative platform designed to transform lives of children in primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Mr. Franklin asked very thought provoking rhetoric questions; what is actually going on in our schools in this 21st century? What is going among our leaders? Are our children critical thinkers or just going to school to pass exams? According to Mr. Frank, tomorrow’s illiterates are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. He added that a child has to know himself in terms of his interest and desire and, teachers ought to understand the process of monitoring a child’s learning process. He outlines some of the contents of PKTL such as; Confidence building, talent exploration, time discipline, self-discipline, career exploration, public speaking and persuasive skills, positive thinking, target setting, young entrepreneurship, overcoming academic obstacles and challenges, learning outside the classroom and educative trips.
Project know thyself is majorly helping your learner know more about their creative and critical thinking skills. Emphasis was laid on creating platforms that spur learning to know more and do more.
He concluded his presentation by stating that “we reap what we sow, but most importantly we also what we fail to uproot”.
Mrs. Carol Barlow gave a presentation on overcoming challenges of a broken system (Nigeria as a case study). She stated as a matter of fact that the Nigerian system is in a pitiable state in terms of the quality of education, security and terrorism and economic status. Statistically, Nigeria is approximately 195 million of which 75million are children and 25% of the working population are not duly employed. Giving statistics, by 2050, what will be the state of education in the country? Mrs. Carol exposed the backward state of Nigeria and Africa at large compared to the technological space in the world. She encouraged teachers to develop the critical thinking capabilities of the learner in order to compete at the world stage. She added that teachers should enable children to develop critical thinking capacity, such that the child can be able to conceptualize, analyze, synergize, apply and utilize the spontaneous mental process. Mrs. Carol posited that, in critical thinking, there are no right or wrong answers but individual opinions.
Dr. Katrina Korb, a seasoned speaker and an associate professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Jos did a presentation on; “When the Drummers Change their Beats, the Dancers Must Change their Dancing Steps. Question is who are the drummers and who are the dancers.
According to Dr. Katrina, the society beats the drum and the teachers are to change their dancing steps with the kind of methods, strategies, resources, environment, curriculum and modalities for teaching and learning process. She highlighted the skills necessary for being valuable in acquiring jobs in the 21st century which are; creativity & innovation, critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills. She also hinged the poor quality of education in Nigeria to wrong mindsets. It is the wrong mindset that has wagged its tail and taken its toll on the country’s best legacy which is Education.
She advised teachers to always ask questions for clarity. It is imperative to know that “mistakes are the most powerful learning opportunity available for children”. Teachers need to develop strategies to daily monitor learning. Emphasis should be placed on doing and rewarding. Teaching in the 21st century is beyond definitions and, learning is meant to be active not passive. She added that the best way to build effective critical thinking skills in children is always “ask good questions”.
The world is a place where life and comfort is threatened by happenings around us that can lead to either acute or chronic stress. Hence, the Stress Management session anchored by Mr. Wale Craig, staged by seasoned expert in the field of Stress Management from Reconnect Development Initiative. The meaning of stress was established and the various stressors in our environment were identified. It was recommended that people should get regular exercises, sleep adequately, live within means and seek professional advice where necessary.
Some of the 21st Century innovations and best practices that have produced excellent results were shared by educators from Raberto Schools, Elis-Angels Model School, and a host of others. They are;
- Online Foundations of Teaching and Learning (FTL). A program by the commonwealth of Education Trust Fund that expose the teacher on the nitty-gritty of teaching and learning processes, strategies to build critical thinking skills.
- Activity-based learning by WhyBlueSkye
- Efficacy of Play in learning in the Early Years
- The presentation of an Application called “speak up”. This App was Developed to enable females speak and report cases of sexual harassment in the society
- The presentation of Agrilation Application. An App developed to foster the export of Agricultural products and non-oil products within and outside the country.
All presentations were preceded by intense discussions, which led participants to be mentally upgraded, professionally satisfied, socially validated and cognitively charged to rethink a better teaching and learning Process.