For all students, Year 10 is a vital formative year, setting the groundwork for a tough, examination-focused Year 11. Poor coverage of Year 10 material is rarely conducive with success at GCSE as there is just not enough time to go back. These challenges will ultimately increase with the current remote-schooling situation, so teacher support and advice is going to be crucial.
Coronavirus school closures: How to support Year 10
What can teachers do to make sure that they are giving Year 10 what they need at this difficult time?
Set flexible work
Many schools are setting work using remote platforms so that students can still complete their qualifications’ required content. However, I believe that teachers should offer some flexibility when setting this work. Waiting until the scheduled lesson time to upload tasks could leave students with nothing to do for quite a while, an,d additionally, setting a deadline of the same day may be impractical while students’ daily lives are changed and challenged by lockdown.
The most productive approach would be for teachers to upload work for a lesson as early as possible and allow a few days to finish it, so that students can remain on track without the pressure of needing to submit as soon as possible.
Keeping pupils informed about where they are in the course is also critical at the moment. I would like teachers to clearly link to the textbook or specification sections that each lesson covers, in effect showing learners the bigger picture and demonstrating where each lesson fits within the course. Ultimately, keeping learners informed during these times should help to set up a productive dynamic where they understand the need to work hard.
Communicating with parents can also be an effective way of ensuring that students work at home. Emailing with information about course coverage and an overview of how learners should be progressing during this year could ensure everyone is on the same page.
Receiving feedback is an integral part of learning, and remote learning solutions mean that this feedback will never quite be the same. However, I still believe it is important for Year 10s to receive as much feedback as possible, whether it be through uploading or emailing their work. Actively reminding students that they should be asking questions where they have not properly grasped concepts is critical to keeping Year 10s on track.
Although these feedback systems will be limited by teacher time constraints, constantly reminding students to remain analytical and evaluative of their own progress should mean that no one falls behind.
Use online resources wisely
Year 10 students tend to engage more with online resources, so, in some ways, online learning presents new possibilities for effective education.
If I was in Year 10, I would appreciate revision flashcard sets made using free websites like Quizlet to reinforce my learning. Departments could work together to create these or use pre-made sets that follow the specification.
However, online resources invite distraction, so recommending apps that limit phone usage during the school day could also prove beneficial.
Our lives have changed quite drastically in a short space of time, and new challenges are abundant. Teachers may be managing childcare or could even become unwell, and some students may lack a quiet area to work, which they would normally have in school. It is clear that any teaching methods need to be as streamlined as possible.
We do not know how long online learning will be in place, so teachers’ main focus should be ensuring longevity in keeping students motivated and on track. The ideas I have laid out should provide Year 10 students with effective learning so that they are well-prepared for Year 11 or their further education, whenever it may resume.
Robbie Hicks is an A-level student in England, who owns the revision website straightnines.com