The Chartered College of Teaching has today (5th November) published ‘Effective approaches to distance learning: Sharing teachers’ expertise and experience’, the final in its Education in Times of Crisis series of reports.
For this final report, the Chartered College has focused on teachers’ views, experiences and innovations of distance learning over the past two years. It presents findings from a research project with nearly 400 teachers, with a close look at phase-specific differences, practical subjects and students with special educational needs and disabilities.
Key findings and recommendations include:
*Teaching online and face-to-face simultaneously was one of the major challenges cited by participants in our study. Teachers highlighted the need for additional technology such as tracking cameras and microphones as necessary prerequisites for blended live teaching, which in most cases were not available to them
*Over half of teachers said that teachers and pupils’ lack of technological skills was a challenge. Some teachers also commented that distance learning exposed a lack of basic IT skills in some pupils. This led teachers to question if enough space is currently provided in ICT curricula for the development of basic IT literacy and if this should become a stronger focus in the future
*Over 90% of teachers used verbal feedback during distance learning, of whom 92% found it effective. There was a clear sense that providing feedback verbally, alongside automated marking and the use of online quizzes and polls, had reduced their marking workload
*Most teachers felt that their pupils’ independent learning skills had improved during distance learning and are keen to build on this, offering more opportunities for self-directed learning within school. Some teachers noted that a combination of home and in-school learning may benefit some pupils with SEND and or SEMH
*Frequent interaction with teachers and peers, screen breaks, time outdoors and physical exercise were all recognised as common strategies for supporting student wellbeing
*Multiple respondents also noted that they had developed a stronger bond with their classes, or families, as a result of the crisis and recognised the importance of building on this in the future
*Teachers spoke favourably about opportunities to access specialist support online, including streaming theatre productions, international specialists speaking at staff training and subject specialists or industry experts contributing to live lessons.
“The teaching profession moved urgently to respond to the pandemic, doing everything in its power to deliver distance learning. We have seen new and innovative approaches to teaching during this time. While many students are back in the classroom, we see more and more stories about the increase in infection rates.
We need to ensure we are learning from the past two years to help prepare for the future. With the final ‘Education in Times of Crisis’ report, we are helping to place teacher voice and expertise at the heart of the future of teaching. I believe the experiences and suggestions for the future will be invaluable to teachers, schools and government and help ensure that the next steps are driven by evidence and teacher voice.”Dame Alison Peacock