Begin with Passion:
Annual Induction Training for New Teachers in the spirit of Co-learning
More than two thousand newly inducted teachers of preschool, elementary, junior high and high schools in northern, northeastern, central and southern regions respectively participated in four training camps over 7 August to 19 August. Each camp comprised workshops and lessons over a three-day period, mobilizing around a hundred lecturers for innovative teaching practices and over three hundred co-learning facilitators for 462 practicum workshops. Held at Fu Jen Catholic University, National Changhua Senior School of Commerce and the National University of Kaohsiung, the collaborative trainings were proposed by Crestar learning community founder Chang Hui-cheng to the Education Ministry to expand the networks of educators for professional support.
For the first time, the camps were a concerted effort by teacher groups and community networks, in true spirit of sharing professional development and innovative teaching practices. The Education Ministry invited The Alliance Cultural Foundation (ACF) to act as the connector for educators, in partnership with National Changhua University of Education, having brought on board MAPS, Sci-Flipper and various other educator co-learning groups and initiatives, and achieved the the support of several school leaders. The PaGamO team headed by National Taiwan University's Professor Yeh Bing-cheng also took charge of placing the training content into the online game format.
The theme of the camp was Begin with Passion on the Journey of Education, where mentoring teachers would share their experiences and motivations with newly inducted teachers, and work alongside to realize their personal missions in education, in turn helping students to realise their academic ambitions. The training content included Sharing by Model Educators, and practicum workshops covering the subjects of Preparation and Teaching, Classroom Management and Positive Counselling, Parent and Teacher Communication and Co-operation, Technology in Pedagogy and Education Trends and the New Curriculum, attracting the best educators in Taiwan to mentor new teachers.
For the first time, the co-learning facilitators were also assigned to learn alongside the newly inducted teachers, with a one to twelve ratio. Within a year of the training, the senior teachers may continue to guide and mentor junior teachers who are based in different schools and bring more teachers onboard the co-learning programme. Prior training for facilitating mentor teachers were held on 18 July this year, where Chairman Yen shared on his experience of forum sharing at the Young Presidents’ Organization. After this round of induction trainings, junior and senior teachers have committed to staying in touch, with gatherings planned up to next June.
During the Sharing by Model Educators, the speakers exuded passion and professionalism sharing inspiring life and career journeys. Taipei Lishan High School head of department Lan Wei-ying shared in her talk "Let learning be free” that teachers ought to expand their horizons in order to join and lead students in discovering the world. In the same vein, schools need to have visionary planning to support teachers in curriculum and pedagogy design, and set themselves apart from other schools. NTU Professor Yeh said as students transit through the stages of learning, teachers have to be on the ball to motivate them effectively at these various stages, through gaining their respect, upgrading their skills and seeking to understand students at each life phase, recognizing their strengths and also having a vision of the future which they wish to mould these young minds into.
Chairman Yen voiced his hopes for teachers to inculcate in students how to get along with people, think critically and be their own mind in an ever-changing world. He also prioritized exposure to sports, literature, music, drama, dance and the arts for students to live fulfilling lives. Mentioning that students ought to learn that freedom needs to be reined with discipline, he hopes that with the ground-up education reform would shape the students to be more proactive, outward looking and independent in thinking.
Participants have given feedback that the model educator sharing sessions touched on educational philosophies and ambitions which were different from the traditional mindsets, serving as inspiration and fodder for brainstorming on improvements, while the practicum workshops were enlightening through the scenario of classroom challenges presented. The interaction between senior and junior teachers was heartwarming and the participants felt mutually encouraged and inspired, to better themselves and the education landscape in Taiwan.