There was a time where the classroom was a place of tradition and blackboards, chalk, sponges and textbooks. Yet the rapid technological developments we are witnessing combined with the shortcomings and often difficult professional profile of teachers in recent years translates into a need to modernise how education is delivered to students. The need for young people, along with teachers from all paths of life to acquire digital pedagogical and innovative skills has brought the emerging “education tech” into schools and into policy discussions to help teachers tackle subjects such as English, Geography or Mathematics in creative ways. Most important of all, however, is the need to attract skilled and motivated people into a career in education to help overcome the shortage of teachers in schools and respond better to needs in the classroom and to students across Europe.
The “New Way for New Talents in Teaching” project, also named NEWTT, was created to define innovative, value-added ways to bring new talent into teaching, and ultimately provide a meaningful solution to EU-wide challenges in providing equal access to school education, overcoming the problems of teacher shortages, teaching quality and limited diversity in the teaching force. This project is co-financed by the European Union through the Erasmus+ grant and is run by a consortium of 15 partners. It was presented for dissemination in Brussels on Wednesday 6 December at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
NEWTT consists of piloting and testing different alternative pathways to teacher certification in five European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, and the Basque Region of Spain) that are currently or will soon be facing shortages of skilled teachers in general and especially in schools serving underprivileged communities (e.g., poor students, students from ethnic minorities, students from disadvantaged groups).
Thirteen of NEWTT’s 15 partners are spread across the five countries where the pilot is taking place: Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania and the Basque Country. The remaining two partners are the Evaluation team whose members come from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and Teach For All, a non-profit organisation that manages a network of partner organisations who work to bring access to an excellent education to all children in 40 countries worldwide. Each organisation, for instance Teach For Romania or Teach For Belgium, can bring local non-teaching graduates and current teachers onto the programme in a wider mission to rebuild community ties and help students achieve better results.
The teaching model was first launched in 1990 as Teach For America. It proved successful and so other countries soon adopted the model. Then in 2007, these groups were brought together under the Teach For All network.
The NEWTT event was an opportunity for teachers, people working in the teaching profession or related to the teaching profession to discuss the state of the profession and its future in the years ahead. SOLIDAR Foundation has supported and called for access to lifelong learning for teachers as well as enhanced methods at national level to deliver adequate and accessible training for teachers, along with better teaching conditions.