Czech schools are only a few hours away from the start of the new school year. In recent years, both children and teaching staff have experienced how difficult it can be to manage the curriculum. What challenges await them in the next six months?
Guest I’m asking Michal Kaderka was a teacher from the Na Zatlance High School in Prague.
Since the beginning of the week, groups of children and their parents have been appearing on the streets saying goodbye to the holidays at various events. And it’s clear why, it’s back to school tomorrow.
For pupils, students and teachers, this return is extremely demanding for several times in a row. After the covid lockdowns, there is another big challenge. This year, there will also be Ukrainian children in the Czech classes, which is another tough test. As well as keeping classes even during the cold months during the energy crisis.
And the consequence of the Russian invasion is also the growing pressure of disinformation sources, which influence a considerable part of Czech society. Of course, they don’t avoid schools either. That is why media education is extremely important, not only for children, but also for educators.
How difficult will the upcoming school year be? And how important is it that educators themselves are not subject to misinformation?
You can play the entire interview in an audio player, in your favorite podcast app or in a video.
What was said in the conversation?
01:27 – What challenges do teachers and schoolchildren face this year? – Every new school year is a challenge, and in 2018, no one could have imagined that even bigger challenges await us. At the same time, we have not stopped since 2020. This year we are dealing with an economic crisis, an energy crisis, we don’t know how many Ukrainian children will come, there are no data. We can also talk about the progressing reform of the education system.
2:50 am – Every teacher should be interested in misinformation himself and try to root out the information that falls on him. But it should definitely be addressed in teaching. However, this is difficult to do in a polarized society. It should be done on topics that are not so divisive. We should have started doing it earlier. Media education has been in the curriculum since 2007, 2008. I have been teaching media education at our grammar school since 2010, and even though I moved around among journalists and everyone knew that I had it as a hobby, no one really cared. It wasn’t until 2014, after the annexation of Crimea, that our media landscape was flooded with disinformation-spreading sites like Aeronet.
4:20 am – We should not only educate children through the media. Children don’t spread misinformation and don’t go to vote, we have a much bigger problem with the adult population, if they believe misinformation, they can significantly change the direction of our country. We’re seeing the election of Trump, we’re seeing Brexit, we’re seeing misinformation play a really significant role in the public sphere, in how people make decisions in elections.
5:55 am – We’ve always had misinformation and conspiracy theories here, that’s nothing new. But we are now in a unique situation where politicians themselves are spreading them. We get it in election campaigns, politicians constantly share it on their social networks, the president’s spokesperson cheerfully shares Aeronet. We cannot say that only part of society is infected with disinformation, but on the contrary, it has become a tool of political struggle.
7:10 a.m – The reason why misinformation is spreading is that we are experiencing a crisis of institutions. It’s about trust in institutions, it’s a social problem.
10:10 – Are people even interested in media education? – Today they are interested in topics such as whether Facebook can delete posts or not. This is one of the few topics that I think people enjoy. That this is actually censorship, what are the interventions. It is also discussed whether the state has the right to shut down disinformation websites or not.
11:11 – The goal of the Media Education Festival (which took place in August – editor’s note) was to bring everyone involved in media education to one place. We all know each other. But we have never seen who exactly does what, what exactly the teaching activity looks like. We wanted to inspire each other. In the end, we got 260 people in one place. So it can be seen that the interest is huge. People are asking if it will happen again.
12:30 p.m – Every week I conduct courses for teachers, I tell them step by step how to proceed. In the last year, there were around two thousand of them. At various events, I ask the teachers if they use it, and they often say not really. They have a problem with implementation. A lot of those teachers are still in the training phase, they’re not sure how to work with it. That’s why, with Seznam, we are launching a Media Education Academy from October, which will be aimed at teachers so that they get the confidence to know how to get started.
15:20 – Are teachers sufficiently educated in the area of abuse, etc.? – The situation has improved a lot, it can be seen in many aspects, for example the touching of children has been completely reduced. Also the fact that we stopped slapping the children and yelling at them. That is on the decline. In addition, parents require a completely safe environment.
17:10 – What happens in schools is a reflection of society. But I think those schools are much better off. We monitor, for example, whether children have bruises, are not beaten at home, have a respectful attitude, etc. Tools are being sent to schools on how to detect this.
19:28 – Even among parents, you can see the development over time, today there is a different generation of parents here, we have different standards of communication. And the children themselves also realize that they have some rights, they can speak up for themselves.