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We are no longer living in knowledge societies, we live in learning societies where knowledge has been commoditized, it is how knowledge is used and created that will transform economies, not knowledge itself. Economies that wish to exploit this ubiquitous availability of knowledge will need to develop citizens that, through their ability to learn, will be innovative and create new business opportunities.

Why start with teachers?

To reach the scenario where all citizens, from doctors to civil engineers from taxi drivers to teachers benefit, we have to start somewhere that is in itself impactful and of national strategic importance – Teacher Continuous Professional Development. With this focus on teachers, point of Learning devices and learning credits cards will be designed to deliver a rapid prototype of the system for 10,000 teachers. They have been selected so that they will be ready and able to be the tip of a pyramid that will in just over a year impact changes to teaching and learning that will reach 1,000,000 learners.

The Teachers First approach

The approach relies on school based innovation teams that will build a culture of innovation and develop capacity to change that will reach into every classroom and thus impact on every student. The innovation teams will work alongside other teachers to develop a shared and common understanding of how professional behaviours and modern pedagogies are impacting today’s education system, and can be effectively integrated into day to day teaching and learning programmes.

Capturing Incremental Improvements in Real-Time

A world-class education system requires clarity over what are the essential elements for improved teacher professional practice. The competencies need to be assessed, and good practice nurtured and sustained. The Teachers First behaviour framework has been developed especially for Egypt by the Open University and is based on the UNESCO Competency Framework for Teachers. It means each school will be able to describe what a 21st Century, digitally literate teacher and student will look like. This will allow each school to identify practitioners who need professional learning and development opportunities (pre and in-service) to help them reach and use the competencies in their daily practices. Increasingly important is the role of professional networks and teachers need to be able to support each other through well-defined peer-to-peer support systems and develop skills for self-reflection to implement change at the classroom level. The world into which students are entering is technology-driven, highly competitive and globally connected requiring 21st Century teaching and learning to be learner-centred, inquiry-based, technology-rich, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and personalized. Students need to become agile lifelong learners so they have the skills to adapt to change.

The New Craft of the Classroom

The journey towards the learning society must start with education and teachers must see themselves in a wider context and we must think about them helping students’ gain the skills they need to take advantage of the learning society that they will help build. This new breed of educators will work in a different way. They will be experts in both their subject but also in learning. They will need to look at the smallest learning objective and be able to analyse that object to see what sort of teaching environment is best, what sort of learning experience is best and also what sort of assessment is best for each individual learner. This new “craft of the classroom” will alter forever the teachers’ workflow and this project will take 10,000 teachers on that journey.

Content and Delivery

Teachers First will use a unique platform called Point of Learning, to enable teachers, their peers and others to assess the progress of teachers through the program. The program is not a course. It will involve taking part in a series of face to face seminars, online webinars, and discussions to reflect on practice and share successes and failures with other colleagues. There will be no final assessment test and all of those involved will be expected to assess themselves and their peers to and allow for occasional independent assessment of activities.


The Teachers First Website is a professional development area where educators can track and manage their progress and receive credits from trainers and their peers. Educators can share experiences and learn from each other as they work collaboratively in communities of practice. Demonstrated behaviours can be celebrated and shared with others to build sustainable local capacity. All Teachers First members can access a wealth of resources via laptops, tablets and smartphones