The teacher’s training: an important element for
innovation and improvement of educational centers
La formación del profesorado: elemento fundamental para la innovación y mejora de los centros educativos
*Director de Posgrado y Docente Titular Agregado Tiempo Completo
de la Facultad de Cultura Física, Universidad Central del Ecuador
*Docente Titular Agregada Tiempo Completo de la Facultad de Filosofía, Letras
y Ciencias de la Educaciónde la Universidad Central del Ecuador
*Docente Titular Auxiliar Tiempo Completo, Coordinador de la Carrera de Trabajo Social
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, Universidad Central del Ecuador
*Docente Titular Auxiliar Tiempo Completo de la Carrera de Psicología Educativa y Orientación
de la Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias de la Educación
de la Universidad Central del Ecuador.
*Docente Titular Auxiliar Tiempo Completo de la Facultad de Cultura Física
de la Universidad Central del Ecuador
PhD. Ángel Freddy Rodríguez Torres*
MSc. Eloísa Jacqueline Altamirano Vaca*
MSc. Antonio Rubén Chicaiza Farinango*
MSc. Milton Eduardo Benalcázar Galarza*
MSc. Eduardo Arturo Aguirre Obando*
Innovation is an intentional process whose purpose is to improve the quality of learning based on the specific needs of the educational center, but this will not be achieved if teachers are not involved. The objective of the research is to describe and analyze how teacher training contributes to educational innovation and to the improvement of the educational center, for which a systematic bibliographic review was carried out. This change is only possible when the teacher is motivated, assumes its role and is involved in this process, so it is necessary to professionalize it and have a scientific and pedagogical understanding what you want to change; And this contributes to implementing profound changes in the teaching - learning process; To achieve this, it is necessary to have a stable teaching staff that can work collaboratively and in networks of professionals.
Keywords: Teacher training. Educational innovation. Center improvement.
La innovación es un proceso intencional que tiene como finalidad de mejorar la calidad de los aprendizajes sobre la base de las necesidades concretas del centro educativo, pero esto no se logrará si no se involucra el profesorado. El objetivo de la investigación es describir y analizar como la formación profesorado contribuye en la innovación educativa y en la mejora del centro educativo, para lo cual se realizó una revisión bibliográfica sistemática. Este cambio sólo es posible cuando el profesorado está motivado, asume su protagonismo y se implica en este proceso, por lo que es necesario profesionalizarlo y tenga una comprensión científica y pedagógica lo que se quiere cambiar; y esto contribuya en implementar cambios profundos en el proceso enseñanza – aprendizaje; para lograr esto es necesario contar con un profesorado estable y que pueda trabajar de manera colaborativa y en redes de profesionales.
Palabras clave: Formación del profesorado. Innovación educativa. Mejora institucional.
Reception: 03/19/2017 - Acceptance: 05/28/2017
1st Review: 05/05/2017 - 2nd Review: 05/26/2017
|Lecturas: Educación Física y Deportes, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires - Año 22 - Nº 228 - Mayo de 2017. http://www.efdeportes.com/||
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There are a great variety of innovation projects that have been implemented in schools. It can be pointed out that "the main problem is not the absence of innovation in educational institutions, but the presence of too many unrelated, episodic, fragmentary, and superfluous projects" (Fullan, 2002, p.53).
Educational innovation is an intentional process of change (Moreno, 2000), carried out by a teacher or a group of teachers who modifies contents, attitudes, ideas, cultures, models and introduces new methodologies or uses new resources and technologies in the process of teaching and learning and which "natural" place of development is the classroom (Murillo, 2002, Anderson, & Shattuck, 2012, Education, & Mean, 2013).
Innovation requires builders and non-road followers, to mobilize the imagination and commitment of those who wish to build "something different," or "doing differently" what is done ordinarily (De Souza et al., 2005).
Innovation generates changes in educational processes, teaching practice and results. And for that change is required, to understand its complexity and what aspects should be considered for its implementation. Therefore, the teacher must be involved and predisposed to change, he plays an important role in any innovation process since he is the one who puts it into practice in its teaching management.
To accomplish this work, we have taken into account some considerations applicable to the revisions, proposed by Sánchez & Botella (2010). It is intended to answer how teacher training influences educational innovation and the improvement of the educational center. To achieve this goal, a study search was conducted taking into account the following selection criterion: the existent works that refer to teacher training, educational innovation and center improvement. Once the criteria for the selection of studies were established, the search process was carried out.
An exhaustive review of the scientific literature of 64 bibliographic sources was carried out; the materials were research articles, theoretical articles, books and doctoral theses during the period 1995-2017. The search tools used to make the review were ISOC (Social Sciences and Humanities), Redalyc, Dialnet and Google Scholar with the following keywords: teacher training, educational innovation and improvement of educational centers.
It was made an interpretative review of the information, distinguishing between research studies and theoretical works. Regarding the analysis of the information, this was carried out in an inductive way. As the material was studied, it came up different elements related to the teacher’s training and its impact on innovation and improvement of the educational center. In order to facilitate a better understanding and exposition of these issues, they were divided according to a double vision: from the perspective of theory and from the perspective of the person who innovates (teacher) and contributes to the improvement of the educational service (Abad, Benito, Giménez & Robles, 2013; Sánchez, 2010).
What do we call educational innovation?
According to the Spanish Royal Academy the determined concept for innovation, is that it is conceived as the "action and effect of innovation".
Educational innovation is generated in school institutions and has some elements that should be considered such as: the alteration of things (Riesco, 2013); which is linked to creativity (De la Herrán, 2009) and has an intentionality and tries to modify attitudes, ideas, cultures, contents, models and pedagogical practices (Carbonell, 2001). It promotes changes that can be managed by a teacher or a group of teachers to modify the learning environment, contents, ways of seeing and thinking disciplines, strategies deployed and the ways of organizing and linking each discipline with another. It introduces new methodologies and means of communication, it uses new resources and technologies to evaluate the teaching - learning process which "natural" place of development is the classroom (Murillo & Muñoz, 2002; Shapiro, Henrik & Bayer, 2007; it implies a change that seeks the improvement of an educational practice; it is a deliberate, organized and planned effort aimed at qualitative improvement of educational processes; it entails learning for those who are actively involved in the innovation process (Margalef & Arenas 2006); to improve the quality of the student’s learning (Blanco, 2005) and achieve transformative action in the world (UNESCO, 2016).
For the Ministry of Education (2017) innovation is defined:
As the process of change in which an educational institution incurs, where it seeks to give a true transformation to the reality that experiences and depends on the level of depth and the type of changes you are looking for. The purpose is to engage in a cycle of innovation, a spiral of changes, which purpose is for the student's learning process to become increasingly significant, understood as the act of going to the deepening of the acquired knowledge, the developed skills, the enhanced values and the educational process in which it is linked (p.1).
De la Torre (1997) contributes with four new aspects related to innovation:
Innovation as a process, whose management is learned, must arise in the educational center and is managed from the center itself.
It is a specific and global change in all fields of education, it not only contributes to the improvement of practices, but also in the field of ideas and instruments and materials.
The process culminates with the consolidation of innovation, the internalization and the institutionalization of the process, so that the change is incorporated into the system.
Personal and institutional growth as a permanent improvement. The real change of all innovation, its ultimate purpose, is not in things, not in forms, not in instruments, not even in processes, but in people and institutions. That is, it contributes to the growth of: a) the teacher, at a personal and professional level that can range from the personal satisfaction of having completed a project or work until the best understanding of the processes, changes of attitude or habit of reflection on their practice ; B) of the students as beneficiaries of the innovation is evidenced in changes regarding the solidity, effectiveness or transferability of the learned things to new situations and contexts; In the greater involvement in the learning tasks; in the awareness of their own learning or metacognition; in the acquisition of new social values; cooperation, democracy, respect for others, conservation of the environment, etc. ; and c) institutional, which manifests itself in the improvement of the communication climate between the different members of the educational community; new channels or channels of communication with the outside are created and support among the teaching staff; it has a positive external projection of the educational center. Innovation also helps to sell the image of a living institution adapted to the new times and requirements of today's society.
Educational innovation is a multidimensional process where technological advances, globalization of markets, global politics, new social trends, new values, new social practices and others affect different contextual levels, from the classroom level to the educational center (Salinas, 2004, Salinas, 2008, Castillo & De Benito, 2008). Therefore, innovation becomes a widespread need, since society is constantly changing and requires organizations and individuals to adapt, to review their ways of acting and to seek maximum coherence in relation to the needs of the environment, and be approached with different strategies (Garín, 2003, p.11). Innovation introduces changes and produces improvement, these changes respond to a planned, deliberative, systematized and intentional process, not simple novelty, momentary changes or visionary proposals (Salinas, 2004). Therefore, it requires builders and non-road followers, to mobilize the imagination and commitment of those who wish to build "something different", or "to do differently" what is done in an ordinary way (De Souza et al).
The changes can come from different forces, regardless of where they come from they basically disturb. They cause fear related to the loss of: security, ability, relationships, territories and direction.
An innovative educational center
Improving schools do so primarily because they understand that the classroom is the core of change (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2014). And it is an opportunity and an excuse to reflect on the practice as a means to promote improvements in schools (Gairín, Armengol & Muñoz, 2010).
Some theorists define some characteristics the educational centers that innovate have (Blanco, 2006; Hopkins, 2008; Murillo & Krichesky, 2014; Marcelo, Mayor & Gallego, 2010; Arencibia & Moreno, 2010; Aramendi, 2010a; Aramendi, 2010b; Sánchez And Murillo, 2010, Santizo, 2009, Pont, Nusche & Moorman, 2009, Bolivar, 2015) as follows:
Communities that take on challenges and are constantly looking for new ideas and ways to achieve greater development in teachers, students and the school itself.
Concerned about the quality of teaching they develop and perceive that these innovations have positive impacts on their classes (Marcelo, Mayor & Gallego, 2010); they foster the educational success of all students, the attention to diversity and the opening of centers to the community (Aramendi, 2010a). They produce important changes in the life of the center, in the teaching and learning processes, in the use of teaching materials, in the distribution of time, in the assignment of tasks to students, in the relations with the community, in the distribution of spaces and schedules and in the equipment of the educational center (Aramendi, 2010b, p.169).
is a willingness to change the conceptions, attitudes and practices; it
fosters a culture of work and cooperation, focused on learning and teaching.
-It lives a good center climate and fluent communication processes (Sánchez & Murillo, 2010, p 178).
They generate team processes of investigation and critical reflection that allows not falling into a routine practice.
There is an experienced staff, willing to face problems and take risks and to carry out new initiatives (Marcelo, Mayor & Gallego, 2010). It improves the professional self-esteem of teachers, forming a cohesive and stable group of teachers. Teamwork and the involvement of professionals are encouraged to consolidate change initiatives (Aramendi, 2010b; Sánchez & Murillo, 2010).
Managers are interested in and involved in projects, so their leadership plays a key role in improving school outcomes by influencing teachers' motivations and abilities, as well as the work environment the teachers have. School leaders are the bearers of all innovation and should focus on teaching and learning, this drives the improvement of academic achievement to become schools, as complex organizations, into teaching communities (Santizo, 2009, Pont, Nusche and Moorman, 2009, Bolivar, 2015, Marcelo, Mayor & Gallego, 2010). Managers have experience and professional prestige (López & Lavié, 2010). "Management teams are the soul of these changes that occur in the centers" (Sánchez & Murillo, 2010, p 178). The management team of the center is the leader of these processes, but this depends on their attitude, the role they assume in the educational center and how it is seen by the rest of the teachers (Sepúlveda & Murillo, 2012).
The center has a culture of innovation, which includes the processes of change (Arencibia & Moreno, 2010). The collaborative culture of teachers is necessary for professional development, which implies continuous and collaborative learning through which all teachers increase their knowledge, both individually and collectively (Krichesky and Murillo, 2011); and innovation is not reduced to mere structural changes (Salinas & Cotillas, 2010). Where the satisfactory school climate contributes to the continuity of the processes of change (López, 2010).
Teachers are involved in professional networks that make it possible to share ideas and experiences (Escudero, 2014).
They have a professional development plan for teachers and this is an essential tool for school improvement "(Vaillant & Marcelo, 2015). Where teachers commit to transform some of their conceptions and practices around pedagogy, methodology and didactics to find new ways to meet the needs and interests of their students (Castro & Martinez, 2016).
Educational innovation generates changes
Innovation must generate processes of change. The following aphorisms help us to understand the concept: a) we cannot hide ourselves in order not to change. Change is inevitable; b) although we resist change, it is challenging us permanently; c) Change is to live. Change is so important that not changing is being condemned to death; d) Changing thinking about change is the most difficult and attractive challenge that exists; e) We do not change by methods, but we do not change without them; f) It is more difficult to change at an older age; g) We can see the change in the others. But not in us, this is the blind spot of change; and, h) the effects of change cannot be predicted, although we can know its causes. (De Souza et al, 2010, p.90).
The process of school change begins when a member of the school community, a member of the management team or a teacher, concludes that he has to "do something" to change the educational situation and initiates a process of transformation (Sepúlveda, & Murillo, 2012, p.7) These authors conceive change as "any process that implies alterations from an initial situation, modifications that can be both intentional, managed and planned as natural. Likewise, changes are the result of such processes. "
Fullan (2002) indicates that "the implementation of educational change implies change in practice" (p.69). Therefore, it is taken into consideration to: a) the possible use of new or revised materials; b) The possible use of new didactic approaches; and c) The possible alteration of beliefs.
Murillo & Krichesky (2012) state that in order to design and sustain a process of school change, it is necessary to know at least the nature of the change, as well as the stages through which educational centers develop improvement programs (p.41). As can be seen in the following table.
Table 1. Basic assumptions to face a process of school change
School’s change processes
Source: Murillo & Krichesky (2012)
Although the processes of change are complex, these types of recommendations can be guidelines for addressing them.
The improvement of the school is a systematic and continuous effort to effectively meet the needs of 21st century students by changing the learning conditions and other associated internal conditions in one or more schools, with the ultimate objective of achieving the educational goals, more effectively "(Murillo & Muñoz, 2002; Kampylis, Bocconi & Punie, 2012). It is also conceived as a series of concurrent and recurrent processes by which an educational center optimizes the integral development of students, by increasing the quality of the educational service and its teaching staff (Murillo & Krichesky, 2014).
Schools that have a culture of improvement develop and are more likely to succeed than centers that often try to avoid change and fear innovation. In this way, the culture of improvement can be considered as the basis of all the processes of change of the educational centers (Sepúlveda & Murillo, 2012)
In order to have a change, we must consider some realities that occur in the educational center, such as the cultural roots of teaching practices, ways of influencing the center's political decisions, declarations and processes for the development of innovations and reforms that affect each of the educational institutions, prestige or dominant social and economic practices at a given time and place, professional beliefs, management modes and contents of the problems of schools ... are some of the elements that interact to create, or not, the correct conditions to change (García, 2005).
The main character of educational innovation
The success of the transformations that are carried out in the educational centers is necessarily due to the cognitive and affective involvement of the teaching staff, who from their personal and professional characteristics can design and execute positive change actions within the framework of their pedagogical practice, But this can be achieved through the professional development of teachers that contributes to school improvement (Vaillant & Marcelo, 2015).
Teachers are the main characters and authors of educational innovation. Therefore, they must be involved for the changes to be profound, lasting and transformative. It is very important that the changes make sense for them, so, they respond to their concerns and needs (Blanco, 2006; Rodríguez, Pozuelos & García, 2012). A center is difficult to improve if teachers do not change and, in that line, teacher training has revealed itself as a strategy for change and a key factor for the success of the programs. However, it is important to emphasize that the training must be linked to the center and the students' own needs to improve the learning quality of the students and the achievement of learning standards (Murillo, 2003, Ríos, 2009, Company, Gómez & Perandones, 2009, Commission of the European Communities, 2007, Rodríguez, 2015). This training commits teachers to transform some of their conceptions and practices around pedagogy, methodology and didactics to find new ways to meet the needs and interests of their own contexts (Castro & Martínez, 2016; Hopkins, 2008). Teachers have predisposition, attitude and eagerness to see what is not working well and change the reality (Arencibia & Moreno, 2010).
Teachers experience change both personally and professionally. In fact, change depends on the thoughts and actions of teachers, which means that the role of teacher development is not only a process but one of the desired results in the improvement of the school. Essentially the improvement of the school depends on the participation of teachers and has major implications for their own development (Stoll and Fink, 1999, p.238).
Reynolds et al. (1997) state that the school will not improve if teachers do not evolve individually and collectively. Although teachers can develop their own practices, if the school as a whole aims to evolve, there must be many opportunities for teacher’s development so that teachers can learn together. Teacher’s training has emerged as a strategy for changing and a key factor in the success of the programs. However, it is important to emphasize the need for the teacher’s training to be linked to the center and its needs (Murillo, 2003).
Bolivar (2009) proposes that any change requires teachers to become professional:
"All the educational reforms of the last decades have included in their priority proposals that the exercise of education can become more" professionalized "as a prerequisite to increase the desired educational improvement. Placing teachers as the key to the success of educational changes, it is proposed to transform the roles and conditions of teaching professional practice. On one hand, political rhetoric links the key mission of teachers, on the other hand, the controls of new educational policies and the prescriptions of the experts contribute to make them less professionals"(p.32).
Zabalza & Zabalza (2012) state that there is no innovation without training, so it is necessary to have sustained processes of teacher’s training and all the persons involved. And it must meet two basic requirements, being permanent and relevant: i) permanent: is often thought that with a conference, workshop, seminar, etc., the teacher is in a position to implement innovation. Unfortunately, this is not the case, since there must be an adequate planning to ensure its sustainability. (Ii) Relevant: consistent with the spirit of innovation. It would be desirable for any innovation proposal to always include a parallel training proposal for innovation.
Therefore, in order to achieve quality education, it is necessary to transform "classroom work", where teachers are responsible for fostering a learning community through methodologies that favor authentic, intriguing, situational activities, considering the context. This allows to have a better holistic understanding of the problems of life, while the students propose creative and innovative solutions, and the evaluation is a space for reflection on their learning and the aspects that should be improved (Bain, 2007; Rodríguez & Naranjo, 2016). In order to develop innovative teaching practices and approaches to creative learning, it is crucial that the training process prepares new teachers to become reflective professionals able to discern how a teaching method or activity can activate creativity in their students (Kampylis, Bocconi & Punie, 2012). So, today, it is a challenge for teachers to learn new ways to manage the classroom and encourage students to learn based on inquiry. But in order to achieve this, it is necessary to have high-quality training processes that are supported by the change of mentality and the student-teacher interaction that the teaching requires and allows them to encourage scientific inquiry in the classroom (Rodríguez, Chicaiza ,Granda, Reinoso & Aguirre, 2017).
Elmore (2010) indicates that the goal is not only to improve the practices and performance, but to "teach people working in the organization to think and act on learning for continuous improvement" (p.138). The changes that occur in the educational center depend on what teachers do and think they believe, as described by Stoll and Fink (1999):
We know where we are going: It is important that there are shared goals throughout the staff of teachers and by the educational community as a whole. To achieve this, dialogue is necessary: it has been shown that the centers where teachers debate more frequently about teaching problems and the ways of solving are better prepared to face improvement processes.
We must all succeed: The program belongs to everyone, which implies that it is necessary to reach a collective commitment to achieve it.
We can do it better: The idea of continuous improvement must permeate all the actions of the center. One of the ills of our teachers, more generalized than it would be desirable, is complacency, thinking that nothing can be done to improve.
Everyone must learn, learn is a matter for everyone: There are two key elements: the teacher training and the organizational learning. Teachers are characterized for being permanent apprentices; it is not possible to improve a center without everyone’s effort in this sense. Likewise, the center, as a living organism, learns from its past experiences. It's all about taking advantage of that learning.
We learn by trying something new: The center must take risks; making decisions for improvement is making mistakes, but without that risk you cannot move forward.
We think better together: The teaching work should be a team work. And not only because it is essential the coordination between subjects, classrooms and grades or courses but because the work, when is done among several, is enriching for all and of a better quality. Therefore, it is necessary to structure the schools as communities, by transforming the individualistic school culture into a culture of collaboration, which is seen as a device to learn and solve problems, build cooperation in school or a path of professional development of its members.
We feel good together: In order to refer to the quality of the relations between the members of the educational community, we technically speak about the "climate" of the classroom or the center. It must be considered that with good relations a person (a teacher in this case) works better.
In the study carried out by Rodríguez (2015), it is stated that the teacher’s training is fundamental for the implementation of innovation processes in the center, due to the following:
Training to innovate is equivalent to learning. Training to introduce changes and improvements in the teaching and learning process; preparing to create means having the necessary skills, through continuous training, that enables permanent professional improvement (De la Torre, 1997; Gather, 2004). Training for uncertainty, provisionality and control against failure, must be an essential training content in the training of teachers interested in innovation and change, so that it is not discomfort and discouragement what prevents permanent initiatives towards improvement to be carried out (Poncet & González, 2010).
The educational change depends on what teachers do and think about classrooms [...] and schools (Fullan, 2002). Teachers are involved in processes of continuous training and networking, which allows them to develop better processes of innovation and improvement at school (Sánchez & Murillo, 2010)
The teachers are the main actors for a quality education, since they are the "agents of change and recipients of it" (De la Torre 1997: 28). A motivated teacher participates actively in the processes of permanent formation and has, at the same time, an opportunity for their professional development.
If the educational center has a policy for institutional innovation, it contributes to the development of efficient processes of ongoing formation and this means that: teachers better carry out orientation and mentoring processes with their students; Have greater mastery of the planning of the teaching considering the different contexts and groups of students; Have a better performance in the teaching and learning processes and contribute to an optimal functioning of the center.
It contributes to the generation of a collaborative and networked learning and working culture (Fundación Telefónica, 2016, Murillo & Krichesky, 2014).
Innovations should consider that teachers are a fundamental pillar for all educational change so the following should be considered:
Change in education is only possible when teachers are motivated, assume their role and involved in this process.
To professionalize the teaching staff that participates in the processes of innovation and change, which allows him to understand scientifically and pedagogically what he wants to change. This will contribute to have a trained and willing to change team of teachers (Ministry of Education, 2011). And they affect the deep aspects of the teaching - learning process, where the student develops the interest in creating new knowledge to solve problems and has the capacity to learn for himself and apply his knowledge in new situations (Wagner, 2013).
The teacher’s stability is a positive factor that has an impact on any change process.
To foster a positive climate where teachers work collaboratively and generate networks of professionals.
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EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital · Año 22 · N° 228 | Buenos Aires,
Mayo de 2017