– If parents are to be allowed to define how teachers should work, it undermines the entire teaching profession

– If parents are to be allowed to define how teachers should work, it undermines the entire teaching profession
– If parents are to be allowed to define how teachers should work, it undermines the entire teaching profession
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Teacher Ingvild Vikingsen Skogestad.
Photo: Eivind Senneset

A parental revolt asks the Minister of Education to limit the use of screens in school. – If you take away the technology, you also take away something essential in today’s classroom, says teacher Ingvild Vikingsen Skogestad.

Recently, there has been a parental revolt against screen use in school, and celebrity parents such as actress Ane Dahl Torp and author Maja Lunde have helped front the rebellion.

The Facebook group “Appeal for less screen use in primary schools” has gained 18,000 members, and 6,000 have signed the petition itself. Recently, representatives of the rebellion also had an audience with Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Ap).

Eddanningsnytt has spoken to three teachers who, over several years, have worked extensively with the use of technology in the classroom. They have missed the teachers’ voices in the on-screen debate that is now going on and on.

– If parents are to be allowed to define how teachers should work in school, it helps to undermine the entire teaching profession. The day parents get to decide and take opportunities from the teachers in the classroom, we are in a bad place, says Ingvild Vikingsen Skogestad.

She is a teacher and head of department at Knappskog school in Øygarden municipality. She believes it is problematic if a group of parents is to gain approval from the Minister of Education to change the school in a way that affects the teachers’ opportunities in teaching.

Recently, two representatives of the screen rebellion had a meeting with Minister of Education Tonje Brenna (Ap), where they demanded less use of screens, especially in primary schools.

– The digitization that has happened around our children, it has been … for lack of a better expression, a little unconscious in recent years, said the Minister of Education during the meeting, according to VG.

That statement causes Skogestad to react.

– That is not true for us and many others. We use research, try to find out what works and work towards finding a balance in use. We have invested a lot of time and resources to make it happen. Then our minister says that it is unconscious. She undermines an entire teaching staff, she says.

– Yes, thank you, both

Skogestad reacts to the fact that the whole debate about digital in schools always ends up as a trench discussion where you are either digital or non-digital.

– All the teachers I know say, of course, “yes, thank you, both”. We need to combine technology with other tools, such as traditional books. But if you take away the technology, you also take away something essential in today’s classrooms, says Skogestad.

She believes that good educational use of technology frees up time for exploration, conversations and creative work.

– We teachers don’t put the students behind a screen because that’s the easiest thing for us. It is not true. We use technology where it can add something extra to the learning. Can’t those who are critical come and see what we actually do in the classroom?

She believes the whole debate is characterized by individual horror stories from parents about unreasonable use of digital tools.

– Of course, the fact that bad use occurs in certain schools cannot be ignored, but you cannot generalize from that and say that it is a big problem everywhere. Many schools have spent a lot of time and thought carefully about how the technology will be used, but these schools are being forgotten in the debate. It feels provocative to many teachers, says Skogestad.

Here you will find the interviews with the other two teachers:

– Must use what is best

She believes the debate cannot be about whether we should have screens or books.

– Of course we must have both. We will use what is best for the learning activity we will have in the classroom and for the student group we will be working with then and there, says Skogestad.

– You are a well-equipped digital teacher – but it must be fair to say that this does not necessarily apply to all teachers in Skole-Norway. What should parents do when they feel that the digital use at school is not good?

– That is the focus politicians must have. How should we increase competence in all schools? Who has succeeded and how can we use them to develop the rest? But we are still there that teachers at schools where they do not invest in this, are not allowed to travel out and gain knowledge. We have no national strategy for how we can lift everyone up. Instead, they now think the strategy should be to wait, says Skogestad.

– Takes away my opportunities

She believes that using technology in the right way can contribute to better inclusion, that more students can achieve mastery, motivation and learning.

– What about the restless boy in first grade who may not be quite ready for school, but who gets to write like the others in the class because he is allowed to use a keyboard. Should we deprive him of that opportunity?

She emphasizes that no one thinks it is okay to put a student in front of the screen for a whole day.

– Of course we must have variety. But a digital device from first grade can also contribute to fun activities, it can give more time for play and exploration than before. If you take the screen away from me as a teacher, you also take these opportunities away from me. It’s not like it’s always best to go on the run or to draw.


The article is in Norwegian

Tags: parents allowed define teachers work undermines entire teaching profession

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