Teaching Trends For 2020 – Ones To Watch

As with all aspects of our lives, whether that be the clothes that we wear or the foods that we eat, there are various fads and trends which determine how we go about our daily lives and these trends can play a part in how we live.  Education is no exception to this and whilst we do not possess a crystal ball to predict the future, we can sometimes take a reasonable punt and try and anticipate what the next up and coming trends might be.

One person who is particularly well-qualified to undertake the task of such a huge prediction is Mr Ross Morrison McGill, the founder of the @teachertoolkit website which commenced in 2008.  In fact, his blogs are followed by 11 million people on an almost-global scale as he seeks to empower teachers to become more efficient in their daily lives.

From his website it is quoted, “We are here to help support teachers working in education.  @teachertoolkit is one of the most widely read education websites across the world and is consistently awarded the number one blog on education in the United Kingdom”.

Ross has had the opportunity of visiting many schools up and down the country and would seem to be in a good position to anticipate future trends in education, three of which are appended below:

Assessments:

“Sitting beside versus sitting alone”. Teachers invariably sit alone in their classrooms, marking books and assessing the work of their pupils.  The very act of “sitting beside” a pupil, verbally assessing their work will not only empower the teacher who is able to react to the student in a way that pushes progress forward, but will also build and strengthen the rapport with the pupil and help to nurture a positive learning environment.

Quoting Stefanakis 2002 “The word “assess” derives from the Latin “assidere” which means “to sit beside”.  Therefore to assess means to sit beside the learner”. 

Teacher Rounds:

For many, many years teachers have been dictated to by the upper echelons and have been told how to teach, whether that be by their Heads of Department or from Ofsted.  Unfortunately the guidance provided is often given from people who do not spend a great deal of time in the classroom environment itself.

Ask any teacher and they will tell you that time is a very precious commodity, and that said it is extremely rare for teachers to be able to have the chance tio observe their peers and thus learn from one another.

As we see in hospitals, doctors are trained by “ward medical rounds” by the patients’ bedsides and this approach has been developed into the field of education where a colloration from a peer observation takes place in the classroom with the specific aim of learning from practice.   The Teacher Rounds are not lesson observations where the host teacher is being judged, but a means of evaluating the lessons, discussing what motivates the students, and learning about how lessons might be “tweaked” to get the most out of the sessions.  Teaching Rounds are aimed at teachers working together to pass on experience and methods of good practice and they are indeed proving to be time well spent.

Mental Health

The importance of good coffee, a warm staffroom and a positive, nurturing environment for teachers can only be a good thing – this sounds obvious enough really, but with minds constantly focussed on targets and statistics, the mental health of teaching staff can sometimes be overlooked.

Schools that encourage teachers to discuss their workloads and any possible problems will flourish. Schools which truly value their teachers and which take pains to make sure that they are working in a wholesome environment will surely blossom and succeed as they work towards realistic workloads and the positive wellbeing of their staff.  Sadly, schools that maintain the more traditional roles of hierarchy and leadership will probably flounder, and may even struggle to keep on board the staff they currently have.   A positive mental attitude amongst staff can never be underestimated.