“Both teachers and students need learning. Will teachers respond appropriately?” – Jan Voda, Czech Republic

“Both teachers and students need learning. Will teachers respond appropriately?” – Jan Voda, Czech Republic

Jan Voda
Principal
Magic Hill Primary School
Czech Republic

As a school leader, MIE Expert Jan Voda is a big supporter of 21st century learning design. When he first heard research on the subject in 2013, he knew his school would need to evolve.

“It is impossible to teach the 21st century skills traditionally (the same thing the same way at the same speed),” Voda tells us, “so the shift also led us to different methods.”

The new methods use project-based learning and build on the school’s philosophy that an individualized approach helps every student achieve his or her maximum potential. But focusing on every student individually isn’t without challenges.

“Each student works on his individual project over a two-month period,” Voda explains. “The following two weeks we spend on evaluation. It proved extremely demanding for teachers to write a full report for each project, so we created a system based on rubrics. Using Microsoft Excel, we easily generate the assessment for each student in a smart, quick and comprehensible way. I have just finished my lecture on using Excel for this purpose here on the Global Forum in Education in Singapore.”

As his school continues to focus on communication, cooperation, problem-solving, and other 21st century skills, Voda worries about a growing generation gap.

“What children acquire nearly automatically and consider obvious, adults need to study hard,” he points out. “For decades, a teacher had been expected to have an answer for each question. However, the one-way model of delivering education from a teacher to his/her students is simply not applicable today. A teacher might learn many things from children, too, and they can learn together from social media, the internet and through the help of technology. This is causing a big shift in education. Both teachers and students need learning. Will teachers respond appropriately?”

Connect with Jan through his Microsoft Educator Community Profile.

About Jan Voda

  • Educational background: Master’s degree, Ph.D.
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: PowerPoint to create our weekly school newspaper
  • Website I check every day: TED.com
  • Favorite childhood memory: When I was seven years old, my 2nd grade teacher inspired me to be a teacher. That afternoon my parents found me in my room preparing quizzes and crosswords for my future students.
  • Favorite book: Turn the Ship Around! by David Marquet
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Do not give a piece of advice to those who did not ask for it.

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