The use of modern teaching methods was at the heart of professional development training organised by the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU), with the support of Education International (EI), in the Raparin, Koya and Akra regions.
Each three-day training course gathered 25 teachers and tackled the following four topics:
- Introducing the basics of teaching and learning
- Taking stock of traditional teaching methods
- Discussing the different areas of remote teaching and learning
- Showing and analysing two systems or programmes for remote education, i.e. Zoom and Edmodo
Advantages of remote education
Participants identified clear advantages offered by remote teaching and learning. They highlighted how remote learning means that students can continue to study, overcoming geographical obstacles to education. In addition, remote learning helps to solve the issue of a lack of teachers in isolated and rural areas.
Another advantage was that remote education is useful for shy children. Remote learning can also continue at time of war and unstable conditions.
The attendees also stressed that it could help develop teacher standards.
Disadvantages of remote education
The KTU members were also cognisant of disadvantages to remote teaching and learning. They cited difficulties arising from unstable Internet connections and the indirect contact between students and teachers. They felt that remote learning could undermine the role of teachers in the educational process, reducing opportunities for lively and effective discussions on a subject, contrary to what is usually the case in classrooms.
Training session participants also stressed the lack of trained and experienced remote-learning teachers and difficulties in managing student attitudes and manners during the course and in evaluating them properly. They stressed that, while remote education is useful for theoretical subjects, it is much less suitable for scientific and practical subjects.
They also raised concerns about problems that children might be subjected to at home and which would not be detected when teaching is conducted remotely.
Conditions for successful remote education
KTU President Abdalwahed M. Haje highlighted the conditions that must be met for successful remote teaching and learning:
- The teacher must be experienced
- The learner must be motivated and willing to learn
- Pre-existing educational programmes can be used to benefit remote learning
- The learner must get acquainted with the teacher's teaching method
- Teaching must be clear, easily understandable, and different compared to traditional methods