Teachers need to work collectively & collaboratively for students’ success

MESC Minister Magele Mauiliu Magele,guest speaker Barbara Alalatoa (Principal Sylvia Park Information NZ) and MESC CEO Falanaipupu Taniely Aiafi.

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: MONDAY 19 JANUARY 2015: School principals and teachers   should work “collectively and collaboratively” together if they wish for the students to be successful in their endeavors.

This was a direct message from the Minister for Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) Magele Mauiliu Magele during his presentation today on the topic “Education for Sustainable Development” at the MESC annual conference 2015.

He pointed out that the Government was pouring millions of dollars into the Ministry and yet, the number of failures in some of the core subjects especially Mathematics last year were very poor.

He reiterated the questions posed by MESC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falanaipupu Tanielu Aiafi, whether it was worth investing in education or a waste of time.

He said sometimes, teachers tend to forget, that the children and students are the most important people inside the classrooms, not the teachers nor principals or the Ministry.

In order for this to happen, teachers need to work on some development elements such as:

  • Support shared teaching
  • Share values and vision
  • Collaborate on learning and applied it in solving problems
  • Share personal practice.

Magele said this is where the skills and knowledge of veteran teachers comes in.

“These (veteran teachers) have been in the field for a long time and know what is happening and the new teachers need to work together with the veterans,” said Magele.

“Do not think you have a degree and then you know better,” said Magele. “Work collectively to share and solve problems,” said.

Magele is not keen on teachers attending a one week workshop overseas and even challenged anyone who had attended such workshop if they had shared what they learnt from the workshop with the teachers here.

He said what is learnt overseas is not applicable to the local problems.

Through the School Based Professional Development (SBPD) programme, Magele said teachers should utilise the programme.

“SBPD intend approach is to improve the teachers and principals effectiveness in teaching and ensuring the students achievement,” said Magele.

He said there must be a “common language to focus on the positive side of teaching in a climate where everyone seeks improvement.”

But above all, he challenged the teachers and principals never to “fear failure”.

“Focus on collegiality and collaboration to achieve a good outcome.”

His advice to the teachers was to respect your mistake but use it as solid foundation to grow from for better decisions in the future.

The conference guest speaker is Ms. Barbara Alalatoa, Principal of Sylvia Park Information from New Zealand.

A chance was given to the principals and teachers to ask questions.

Former Avele principal Aiga Levaopolo acknowledge the SBPD programme but wanted to know how it will be monitored.

Also taking the opportunity was the Catholic Church School Director Aeau Chris Hazelman who wanted to know why copies of the exams results were not given to all the teachers.

The conference is for two days and there are other speakers lined up for tomorrow.