Feeling blue about the state of teaching? Here are reasons to be optimistic

Jun 26, 2017 by

With funding cuts and growing workloads, all is obviously not well in education – but teachers are regaining control

These are gloomy times in education. Despite claims from the Department for Education that it has “protected school budgets in cash terms”, we can see schools being asked to do more with less. As a result, we have teachers fleeing the profession and headteachers reporting increasing difficulties in recruitment. In this gloom, however, I think we can see some beacons of hope and reasons to be optimistic about the future of teaching, and of education, in this country.

Growing professional trust

In her book CleverLands, author and teacher Lucy Crehan discusses how she travelled around the world to study successful education systems, seeking to discover what they have in common. One thing that became clear was the way that teachers were trained to be highly-skilled professionals and then trusted to do this. She writes that teachers are given autonomy “to get on with their work, which makes the profession attractive, and allows teacher training programs to be selective”.

I think there are clear signs that things are moving in the right direction within our schools towards this culture of professional trust, which gives me hope. We can see this shift within individual schools up and down the country. In my own school, Heathfield Community College in East Sussex, we have experienced a real move away from endless accountability and towards this kind of trust.

One example of this is the introduction of collaboration time on everyone’s timetable. Time, additional to that given for planning, preparation and assessment, which is used to meet with a group of other teachers and discuss teaching and learning. We have used this time to review lessons, discuss alternatives to written feedback, share research and look at how we can offer students greater challenges in their lessons.

We write about our lessons, research and discussions in our in-school blog (Heathfield Teach Share) as a way of sharing our ideas and building a common culture. We are also given further time if we wish to join an innovation team, to research and lead on different areas of school improvement. While there is a cost implication, it is an important way of putting professional trust at the heart of the school.

Source: Feeling blue about the state of teaching? Here are reasons to be optimistic | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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