Wait, how did one month just pass like that? Melbourne is back in lockdown again and it feels like nothing much happened during the past six weeks. But in fact, something very exciting did happen! I accepted a new job which I hope to open new opportunities to expand my expertise in the field of education.
A Finnish start-up company called Huippu Education contacted me a couple of months ago to ask whether I was interested in creating online content for their further teacher training courses and managing some of their educational development projects around the world. Oh yes, please! As I have been following the amazing work of Huippu since last year, I was very excited to get on board with them and contribute my skills in teacher training and online learning promoting the quality of education globally.
So this is what I have been up to. I began by designing an online course for teachers and other education professionals about critical thinking in primary education. The course is one of the implementations of Huippu Education’s vision to promote OECD’s goals of improving students’ 21st-century skills around the world with the Finnish education expertise. Learn more about Huippu Education, its services, and or course, the fantastic education specialists!
The whole process of creating a course about teaching critical thinking to other teachers through an online platform was a truly comprehensive learning experience. Even though I have been studying and practising online teaching for months now, I had to review, rearrange, and re-evaluate my ideas about high-quality education. I must say that the topic “Critical thinking” really got me there.
First surfing, and eventually diving through the theories and methodology of teaching critical thinking, I discovered new perspectives to critical thinking as one of the 21st-century skills that I haven’t even thought about before. Moreover, I came up with new ideas on how it could be practised with both students and teachers. I realised there are many points in the theories that also I, as a private language teacher, could, and perhaps even should, apply in my learning service. Even though it’s usually not what the customers primarily require from their private language lessons, I have noticed that using methods promoting higher-order thinking skills is an effective way to engage learners in deeper learning. For instance, when asking higher-order questions or providing students with language problems to solve, they demonstrate a better understanding of linguistics in general and discover their ways to learn the language. From the entrepreneur point of view, methods that support meta-learning (“learning about learning”) improve the quality of the service by providing the customers with more depth than self-studying.
Another skill that I improved during this project, was developing online content. Creating a coherent and compact online course that combines multimedia sources, higher-order thinking tasks, and interactive methods wasn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when conducting everything online. My first problem to solve was to find a way to apply the methods that I was talking about into the training itself. In other words, I didn’t think it would make any sense to teach about higher-order thinking without actually doing it through higher-order tasks. Anyway, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Thanks to Vuolearning online learning platform for enabling social activities such as discussion and peer-assessment.
Gaining more experiences in online training and teacher training has given me new ideas and inspiration for developing online pedagogy. Thanks to these new insights arisen by the project Huippu Education offered me, the power of learning by teaching has been proven once again.
The course “Critical Thinking in Primary Education” is now published and ready to be enrolled by anyone who is interesting in the 21st-century skills in education. Go and check it out on Huippu Education’s online store. I’m excited to meet teachers around the world and discuss the ways to enhance students’ critical thinking skills!