Major Education Conference in Baku Aims to Develop Skilful Thinking and Learning

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BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 17, 2017

Over 600 teachers, principals and educational leaders from around the world are gathering in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the 2nd International Learning Conference organized by the Azerbaijan Teacher Development Centre (ATDC) in co-operation with The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS).

With its theme 'Learning to Learn', attendees are examining what effective learning should look like and how teachers can promote the development of skilful thinking.

Addressing the audience on behalf of the Minister of Education, Mikayil Jabbarov, the Head of the Baku City Education Department, Mahabbat Valiyeva, noted, “Last year's conference became a topic of much discussion and was well-received by the education community. We are confident that this conference too will give a powerful incentive to enhanced learning.”

“Teachers are at the very heart of the improvement of a nation, any nation,” said Graeme Pollock, a New Zealander who serves as Director of the ATDC. “So if you're looking into the future, you support, develop and encourage teachers.”

This is perhaps more critical in Azerbaijan than in other countries. A former Soviet Republic, the country has rebuilt itself over the past quarter century, including changing old teaching habits.

“Our education system has its past in communism,” said TEAS Chairman, Tale Heydarov, “that's why it's so vital for a young country like Azerbaijan to constantly update our education system, integrating international best practices. The importance of teachers and their training cannot be overstated.”

To address the key issue of professional development, the three-day conference has brought leading educators to Baku, including Lane Clark from Canada and Matt Bromley from the United Kingdom.

“I feel the enthusiasm here, I feel the excitement and desire to want to know and do more,” Clark said. “But you need the tools and scaffolding to enable and empower them. And the Azerbaijan Teacher Development Centre is providing this support, because they are offering the training which is so important.”

“No school or school system can be better than the quality of the teachers in it,” said Tristian Stobie, Director of Education at Cambridge Assessment International Education, which works in over 160 counties, 10,000 schools and 27 ministries providing education services. “Azerbaijan is investing in education, which will yield results.”

Among ATDC's priorities are programmes to support English language teaching in schools. It has also established English Conversation Clubs that focus specifically on topics related to education.

Bromley stressed the importance of English, as it would allow students from Azerbaijan to access the world, “They will develop better and return to Azerbaijan with greater experience. So developing the English language here will help the country to build, and be a success on the world stage.”

The ATDC trains approximately 3,000 educators a year, directly impacting close to 100,000 students who benefit from the changes and better quality in their teachers' approach to teaching. It has also implemented – together with the ECIS (European Council of International Schools) the International Teachers Certificate programme in Azerbaijan.

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SOURCE Azerbaijan Teacher Development Centre (ATDC)

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Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson

Sarah is a financial reporter, focusing on technology, national security, and policing. Before joining Daily Telescope she worked as a staff writer at Fast Company and spent two years as a foreign correspondent in Turkey. Her work has been published in Al Jazeera America, The Nation, Vice News, Motherboard, and many other outlets.
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