Effective Teaching Strategy: The way forward for achieving quality education in Somaliland
What goes to your mind when you first heard the phrase lack of quality education?
Poor resources, unsafe learning environments, lack of fundings, lack of learning materials, conflicts, and many more. Getting access to quality education is one of the critical factors affecting the development and learning achievement of young people today. Even though is difficult to define the idea of quality education, the key educational outcomes that are considered when defining quality education. Those components are the quality of the teaching workforce, the availability of sufficient learning material, a supportive learning environment, and suitable access to basic services in instructional settings. Those components promote the learning and educational performance of students. King and Newman (2000) state, “Since teachers have the most direct, sustained contact with students and considerable control over what is taught and the climate for learning, improving teachers’ knowledge, skills and dispositions through professional development is a critical step in improving student achievement.” Somaliland, a self-declared country in the northern part of Somalia is struggling to provide its nation quality education mainly because of the high number of untrained teachers. Teaching takes a huge part in the learning process, we should all pay close attention to how happens in our classroom instead of blaming other factors. The more effective your teacher is the more successful the student becomes.
Challenges of the outdated education systems
Somalis long-lasting informal education system is affecting the way students receive education in this new era. According to Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at OECD, said that “Over the last thirty years, the focus of higher education has changed significantly, primarily in response to the changing nature of work. A rapid increase in jobs requiring higher-order cognitive skills has created a worldwide need for more graduate employees” (ICEF Monitor, 2016). The jobs of the future will require that students have strong cognitive skills and soft skills like problem-solving and creative thinking. Students in Somaliland face a lot of challenges at the workspace because of the lack of skills in their education system. A number one factor that contributes to this issue is the lack of trained teachers. In Somaliland, anyone can be a teacher as long as they know how to read and write. This issue has affected learning in multiple ways. First, students are not learning any way possible because of the low student participation and ineffective learning method that is used in Somaliland. Second, students are not getting skills through their learning. Education happens in the form of storytelling, where you sit in an overcrowded classroom and listen to the teacher, and forget about everything the next day because it’s not viable. Third, the theoretical method of education doesn’t contribute to youth development in terms of skills acquisition. The outdated education model in Somaliland has crippled the economic development of the country because of the irrelevant skills in learning.
Characteristics of effective teaching
One might ask, how do know if your teacher is been effective or not? The question of what makes an effective teacher has no clear answer but anyone who is committed to teaching to students with passion brings with him or her certain natural traits as well as learned behaviors and characteristics. Cruickshank, Jenkins, and Metcalf (2003) defined effective teachers as “caring, supportive, concerned about the welfare of students, knowledgeable about their subject matter, able to get along with others . . . and genuinely excited about the work that they do. . . . Effective teachers are able to help students learn” (p. 329). Teachers must also have high self-efficacy, good verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and strong leadership ability. Those are some characteristics to contribute to effective teaching and learning.
What does a teacher need to do to be effective?
You don’t just wake up one morning and you decided to become a teacher! Teaching comes with passion. To be a teacher you need to be caring, supportive, and concerned about the well being of your students. In Somaliland, the majority of the teachers take up this teaching position mainly because that is the easiest way to make money out of people. The population is increasing and there is a need for people to be educated so “teachers” see that opportunity as a way of making money. A lot of people use the phrase “education is the key to succeed in life”. That is only true for me when education is giving me skills and knowledge. In Somaliland, what education sees like is buying a rotted tomatoes that is beautiful outside but has no use in the inside both the public and the private sector. I feel like going to school there is a waste of time, money, and energy. Educators need to believe that every student is capable of achieving success in and outside of school. It’s their job to find ways to help students succeed. They need to look down to their students and start developing that passion that makes you do something from your heart, not from your head. If you don’t have that driving factor that makes you do something because its soo dear to heart then stop wasting students’ time and commitment. What you are basically doing now is simply killing their passion and effort.
In conclusion, Somaliland needs to focus on teacher development so they can enable students to gain 21st-century skills in its education system and equip youth with the required skills at the job market. Teachers themselves need to have those skills before they start teaching. The main reason for 21st Century approach in the learning is to have the possibility of enhanced economic growth and youth development. The need for teacher development programs in Somaliland is crucial. In order to have a quality education, teachers need to have the necessary skills to help students compete not only locally but also internationally. Effective teaching in terms of skills development and economic growth for the country reduces the unemployment rate and uplifts the education system of the country. This nation that struggling to provide quality education for its youth needs a call for a professional development approach in the learning process.
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