Teachers' skills 'improve in lockdown'

Working remotely is boosting teachers' edtech skills, creativity and lesson planning, say researchers
6th May 2020, 12:22pm


Teachers' skills 'improve in lockdown'

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More than half of teachers say their experience of remote teaching will have a positive impact on their skills once schools reopen fully, according to new findings.

Researchers at the University of Exeter and The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) have found that teachers delivering lessons remotely during the lockdown say they are learning more about edtech, and are being more creative and inventive when it comes to lesson planning and problem solving.

CfEY Head of research Ellie Mulcahy told Tes: "Some teachers have had to learn a new way of doing things, which has required creativity and the development of new resources.

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"These new skills and abilities were felt to be something that would make a positive impact on their future teaching.

She added: "I also know a lot of teachers within their teams have really upskilled themselves when it comes to technology and that will become a benefit when they're face to face with pupils again.

Despite the fact that many teachers are not seeing as much of their colleagues as usual, Ms Mulcahy said the research showed that the lockdown had boosted camaraderie.

She said: "For teachers, it has also been a chance to reflect on what truly makes good teaching in terms of connections and relationships, thus the positive impact was about realising this when they return to school.

"Teachers are also feeling that their colleagues have pulled together and worked together which would have a positive impact on working relationships and a sense that they could 'do it'."

The research includes an online survey of around 2,200 people during April, including teachers, parents and children.

A total of 55 per cent of teachers in the survey said the lockdown would have a positive impact on their teaching when schools reopened, compared with 39 per cent who said they did not think there would be any impact, and 6 per cent who said it would have a negative impact.

There may be some lessons for the future, Ms Mulcahy suggested. She said: "The crisis has highlighted the need for better training and increased staff proficiency in technology and teachers were hopeful that their SLT would invest in this."

Pupils also reported feeling some benefits of the lockdown, such as independent learning and being able to go at their own pace. 

However, 72 per cent of teachers said school closures would have a negative impact on their wellbeing and safety.

The survey has also found that the school closures have led to a change in attitudes among parents about who should be responsible for their child's education, with around 55 per cent saying education was the responsibility of parents, compared with only around 5 per cent before the closures.

A fifth of parents who took part in the research said they would consider educating their children at home after the coronavirus lockdown if they were paid to do so.

Dr Anna Mountford-Zimdars, academic director of the University of Exeter's Centre for Social Mobility, which carried out the research, said: "Our survey paints a picture of the current wellbeing of parents, guardians, children and teachers just a few weeks into this major change in children's lives. We can see their views have changed rapidly, and this is likely to have an impact on education in the future.

"Our aim is to rapidly analyse our findings so we can report them to government and others who support children and families."

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