Many schools had to embrace remote teaching and learning this year, but keeping students motivated and engaged was a key challenge. So, it’s crucial that teachers are well prepared to rectify any knowledge gaps now schools are back. In addition to understanding government-led changes to education, teachers must also be in the best position to reacclimatise students to the classroom setting once again.
So, what’s on staff training agendas and how can they deliver these priorities most effectively?
Consider pupil wellbeing
After such radical changes to teaching and learning this year, alongside increased anxiety throughout society, staff need to be particularly attentive to, and confident in supporting, students’ wellbeing. Students’ increased exposure to digital platforms over lockdown also brings greater safeguarding risk. Understandably then, pupil wellbeing was identified as the highest training priority in our 2020/21 UKI State of Technology in Education Report.
The ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’ Department for Education initiative seeks to equip schools in supporting young people’s wellbeing, resilience and recovery from COVID-19. The webinar-based training will be adapted and delivered by local experts, and is expected to run through to March 2021.
The programme will cover evidence-based tools for staff, and guidance on identifying warning signs. Psychologists are working to develop further training for schools on bereavement and loss, anxiety, low mood, stress and trauma, warning signs and signposting.
In this new year, teachers need to support pupils through the return to school with a student-focused strategy. Rather than diving straight into new content, students need gentle reintroductions to regain confidence by showing them they haven’t forgotten everything they’ve learned.
A teacher-led but student-centred teaching style balances academic focuses with greater collaboration between students who can take more control of their learning. Adapting your teaching style to find the best dynamic for fostering student engagement will ensure students are both confident and focused learners. Strong relationships, trust and support between staff and students will contribute to enhanced teaching and learning going forward.
To address knowledge gaps, learning needs to be helmed by the curriculum and government-led changes. Refreshing staff and students’ understanding of subject content will ensure they’re on course for meeting objectives and success in final assessments.
Teacher and Tes columnist Adam Riches asserts: ‘If we are to close the gaps created by the time out of school, we must focus on ensuring that wellbeing is balanced with effective teaching.’ Teaching strategy should take a carefully measured approach to delivering the curriculum, therefore, rather than desperately trying to cover everything missed over school closures. Using the curriculum as the central steer provides staff with a foundation for bridging attainment gaps.
Both staff and students have used technology more than ever during school closures, so it’s important to reaffirm the strategies and edtech confidence they developed. Digital literacy benefits students’ learning and equips them for the workplace, so their edtech skills need to be nurtured and incorporated into teaching styles.
Many remote tools such as device mirroring can be directly transferred to the classroom, and are invaluable for boosting engagement and attainment. Our intuitive front-of-class displays come with this technology to allow interactivity throughout the classroom. Embracing technology in the classroom boosts engagement while easing the transition back to school for students, as they can learn in ways they’ve grown accustomed to over lockdown.
This new year is the perfect time to reassess teaching strategies and ensure their focuses are aligned with students’ needs. Training teachers in pupil wellbeing, the curriculum and technology equips them to support students throughout the transition, with the most effective strategy. To add further teaching value in your classroom, request a free ActivPanel demo to experience the latest front-of-class displays.
The State of Technology in Education Report 2020/21
Take a look at our most comprehensive education report to date. Half a decade of edtech, teaching and training trends — it’s a report like no other, from a year like no other.View the report