XII St. Petersburg International Educational Forum Has Finished

XII St. Petersburg International Educational Forum Has Finished

31 March 2022
From 17 to 30 March 2022, 334 events were simultaneously held at different venues of the city, where educational leaders, scientists, school, college and university teachers, educators, methodologists, parents, students and schoolchildren met offline and online.

The event was attended by the representatives of the teaching community from 85 regions of Russia, from Japan, China, Republic of Korea, Belarus, Luhansk People's Republic, Poland, England, France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Srpska, Philippines, Azerbaijan, Burundi and Barbados.

The Forum programme comprised ten fundamental tracks describing the education system as it should be: human-centred, meaningful, technological, action-oriented, continuous, comprehensive and accessible.

On 30 March, the results of the events held within the tracks were discussed in the studio of the Online Media Project "Digest of St. Petersburg Education" by Mikhail Puchkov, the Deputy Chairman of St. Petersburg Education Committee, and Maria Rokhmaniyko, the CEO of the Centre for Regional and International Cooperation.

The organisers of the Forum venues and the speakers were invited to share their conclusions and impressions.

Track "Quality of Education"

This track was the most eventful one, as it included more than 160 events. Open Studio expert Irina Mushtavinskaya, Head of the Department of Basic and Secondary Education of St. Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education, Ph.D. in Education, Associate Professor, called the quality of education the core of the educational system. According to her, the quality of education was considered at the Forum in the broadest sense: as the basis of education, as a degree to which the needs correspond to the interests of the individual, as the quality of teaching and even as an interdisciplinary phenomenon.

At the same time, for a third of the organisers (schools and preschool educational institutions) the central theme was children, their development, personality, creativity, soft skills, functional literacy, interaction with teachers and, in this regard, professional and supra-professional competencies of a teacher. The representatives of the scientific and methodological community discussed quality management, its assessment and prospects.

Track "Research and Innovation"

Track expert Elena Piskunova, Doctor of Education, Professor, Head of the Department of Didactics, Herzen University, notes that innovations should exist outside of time and show us how to cope with the difficulties of the new world. All three are in the same situation of destabilisation: a child who studies, an adult who teaches and one who manages the processes in school, in education. Therefore, it is important to support everyone when introducing innovations into the educational process.

Track "Educational Management"

An important mission of an educational institution, according to Irina Baykova, Principal of the School No. 619, is paving the way for children into the world and staying the main bulwark of stability. In this regard, the speaker believes that children are our salvation, because you can not let them see you being insecure or not knowing what will happen tomorrow. At least the school should have a schedule and plans for tomorrow. Therefore, it may be easier to manage a school today than any commercial organisation. At the same time, it is necessary to find and include knowledge and the newest technologies in school processes – every single forward movement is important.

Track "Profession"

Dmitry Kovalev, Director of the Academy of Digital Technologies, recalls that 80-90% of our life time we spend in the professional sphere. And if previously getting a profession was some kind of economic or at least moral protection, now the demand for certain specialists is changing very quickly.

Russia has a massive database of experience in acquiring skills for a profession at school, and it is important not to lose it, the speaker believes. It is necessary to demonstrate to the teaching staff and students that there is a perspective, an opportunity to develop and achieve success. Children participate actively in contests and Olympiads, and win. Every parent, family and society should understand that children are capable of mastering and winning.

Track "Information Technology"

"Information technology has radically changed the learning environment and continues to transform it every day", Pavel Troshkeyev, Principal of the Gymnasium No. 642 "Earth and the Universe", says. Unlike previous years, a lot of track events were devoted to preschool education, which indicates the rapid formation of the preschool digital learning environment. The speaker was impressed by the methods presented at the Forum and the author's interactive projects on the development of prerequisites for functional literacy and reading skills in kids.

As for general education, special attention was paid to hybrid and distance learning practices, as well as means of assessing digital didactics. With new technologies education goes beyond one institution which is achieved by implementing accessible programmes and institutional networking.

The opportunities that "Kvantoriums" and centres for digital education "IT-Cube" and "InfinITy" provide to St. Petersburg students show that boundaries between secondary and supplementary education are gradually being erased.

Tracks "Upbringing. Mentorship. Culture" and "Beyond the Lesson"

Ingrid Pildes, Director of the Academy of Talents, emphasises that integration of secondary and supplementary education gives unlimited opportunities to discover students' talents and skills so that they can build their learning paths. Ingrid Pildes thinks that those who organise the educational process should help students create this path and make it easy to understand and as stable as possible. They should protect children in our rapidly changing world from instability, anxiety and any serious trouble.

Institutional networking includes not only supplementary educational institutions, but also universitites and industrial enterprises where children acquire skills in real life conditions. In St. Petersburg, thanks to supplementary educational institutions, insitututional networking works very effectively.

Supplementary education is currently undergoing a paradigm shift. Now children's motivation comes first: "I am interested in this, so I learn and achieve a result".

The director of the Academy of Talents especially appreciates the fact that now not only young professionals and the scientific community take part in the Forum, but also students. St. Petersburg school students were discussing issues in the field of education on the same level as teachers. This trend helps in developing mentorship approaches and the support system for individual educational and professional routes. It shows that children are able to do a lot of the things that adults do, and some things they understand more clearly.

Track "Inclusive Education"

Yulia Yelizarova, Principal of the School No. 522, highlights that out of 21 events that the track included more than one third touched upon pre-school education for children with special needs, which shows systematic educational work from early childhood.

According to the principal, 30 years ago a programme of infant abilitation was launched and St. Petersburg Institute of Early Intervention was created. This allowed to focus on the issues of inclusive education for children with special needs. Today there are children with special needs in almost every school. To help such schools and other educational institutions, School No. 522 published a book with 30 practical pieces of advice for teaching children with special needs.

Yulia Elizarova also recalls that for the 15th time the Forum hosted the conference "I Came to This Amazing World ...", which focused on two key issues: adapting modern educational technologies for teaching students with special needs and immersing such children in the sociocultural space, accommodating them there and improving their life quality.

Track "Lifelong Learning"

Aleksandr Nebrenchin, Head of the Centre for Continuous Professional Development of Teachers at St Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education, believes that a teacher is a professional who is used to learning. Teachers should be provided with new opportunities, conditions and tools to make the lessons interesting for themselves, for students and their parents, as well as to predict such educational results as solid knowledge acquired by students and improved quality of education.

According to the expert, the variety of roles the teacher plays in the classroom is huge. They involve students in the learning process and coordinate it, if students study both offline and online. They should possess organisational, managerial and facilitation skills.

Being a teacher means being proactive, so more than 30 different practice-oriented events were held within the Forum track "Lifelong Learning". The teacher is no longer interested in the event where they are told how to teach. They want to see here and now how to teach real children, how it works, how to control the process, what may happen when they use this or that application or technology. This request of the teachers was fulfilled by the Forum.

Aleksandr Nebrenchin helped to highlight another significant trend of the year that is the team participation of educational institutions in various events. When we talk about a team, we talk about a group of interested, motivated teachers who are ready to change the traditional lesson and the learning environment. They invite their colleagues to participate in this. An important task of the team is to transfer the knowledge gained at various platforms into daily teaching practice. It is not enough to see how digital services work. It is important to implement it in class the very next day.

The track "Special events" combined events of different formats — contests, productions, competitions.