Report on the outcomes of group-discussions - Belarus
Discussions on the issue of motivating teachers to actively participate in QA-initiatives have been conducted by the RIPO during 4 peer group meetings in September-October 2013, with the total of 112 participants (79 VET teachers/trainers and 33 managers), representing institutions of technical vocational, secondary specialized and higher education from Minsk and other regions of the Republic of Belarus.
These focus-group meetings were aimed at carrying out critical analysis of the VET quality assurance problem in Belarus and identifying factors that can enhance motivation of VET teachers and trainers to participate in quality assurance activities.
After a short explanation of the term of quality and quality initiatives in VET and presentation of the overall objective of the Q&VET project, discussions in small groups took place towards gathering as much ideas/concrete recommendations as possible for the identification of the enhancing and hindering factors for motivating teachers to actively participate in QA-initiatives.
Summarizing the experts’ opinions and findings, we identified two groups of factors and conditions, the fulfilment of which would enhance commitment of VET teachers/trainers to VET quality improvement:
Educational policy level - revision of VET / QA regulatory framework towards its democratisation, transparency and debureaucratisation; review of VET quality monitoring norm; ensuring possibility for continuing professional growth and career development of VET teachers/ trainers with the formal recognition of their achievements; modernization of VET curricula, didactical aids and training equipment;
reduction of overall (particularly non-pedagogical) load of VET teachers/trainers; enhancement of teacher’s job attractiveness in the society (raising their salary, rating teachers as state officials /(government employees with an appropriate social package and economic benefits) etc.
VET school level - implementation of principles of participative management (participation of teachers at the stage of decision making), development of the school’s corporative open and safe culture with a permanent dialogue between teachers and managers based on mutual trust, respect, consideration of the both top-down and bottom-up initiatives, attaching more importance to teachers’ self-reflection and self-evaluation than to collection and exposition of formal indicators; balanced distribution of teaching load of a teacher throughout the school year; broader use of tools of socio-psychological and material motivation of teachers (potential of contests, tangible rewards, social benefits etc.); better opportunities for experience exchanges and further training for VET teachers/trainers (study visits, open lessons, upgrading courses, international projects etc.), raising their awareness of best (inter)national teaching practice and QA approaches in VET.
VET teachers/trainers participating in peer group discussions also emphasized the meaning of personal, social and professional features of a VET school manager for the success of QA initiatives, such as leadership, commitment, availability of teaching experience, competence in management psychology and QA approaches, and high moral values.