World Confederation of Teachers

Dialogue Every Day

Teachers Create Dialogue Every Day

Try to imagine a world without dialogue. The capacity to communicate is basic to every human activity – economic, political, and social. By definition, dialogue means interaction – the capacity to read or listen and the capacity of expression. So dialogue is the essence of education, and teachers create dialogue every day.

Learning to speak and to listen, to read and to write – these are the basic building blocks for dialogue. But they are just the beginning. The Delors Report Learning: The Treasure Within, pointed out that education means acquiring skills and knowledge – ‘learning to do’ and ‘learning to know’ – but it also means ‘learning to be’, developing as a human being, and ‘learning to live together’. Dialogue lies at the heart of these objectives of education. The role of the educator is not only to teach skills and knowledge, but also to educate in the broader sense.

In the modern knowledge society, all children and young people have the right to be equipped with the tools for dialogue using new technologies. Yet the digital gap is growing. Life long learning should become a reality for all. Yet we are still striving to achieve access to basic education for all by the year 2015.

The diversity of the world is now reflected in the communities of each nation. Learning to live together means learning to understand and respect others. Teachers create dialogue with children and young people from different ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic backgrounds. Access to quality education for all, without discrimination, is the reason for nations and communities to accept that education remains first and foremost a public responsibility, and to ensure that sufficient public resources are mobilised to that end.

Dialogue is the key to citizenship. It is the basis for democracy. Teachers create the conditions for young adults to think critically, to assess the mass of information they receive through the media, to be actors, not mere spectators in the drama of life.

The immense challenges facing our education systems can only be addressed by engaging the professionals, the teachers and other education personnel, in constructive dialogue drawing upon their expertise, acknowledging their key role in the implementation of new policies. There is a world-wide teacher shortage. Many teachers must be recruited and trained in order to achieve international goals and national targets for education for all. Present and future teachers all over the world must be motivated and through real social dialogue, their working conditions must be improved. They must be actors in their own professional development.

On 5 October 2002, Education International and the World Confederation of Teachers, together representing 28 million teachers and other education personnel in 161 countries across the planet, mark World Teachers' Day by calling for renewed commitment to dialogue - that same dialogue that teachers seek to create every day in their classroom, despite poverty, conflicts and epidemics. For dialogue is at the heart of the human spirit. It is the foundation of hope.

Education International ======================World Confederation of Teachers
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