Nothing is more important to educators than to see the spark of understanding of the subject being taught in the classroom when that moment is witnessed in the learner.
As educators, we have been taught the craft of teaching and learning, using techniques that are also referred to as pedagogical models.
Most of these techniques have been brought into the classroom, tested and evidenced to demonstrate their use in supporting the learner – and are fundamentally based on three key principal statements:
- Teaching and learning should be conducted in a safe and secure environment with care and consideration for the well-being of the learner.
- The teacher is key in the learning process.
- It is imperative to determine whether learning is taking place.
As educators in the UK, we also continuously look to academia and the research carried out by organisations such as Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the regular guidance on offer, to keep senior leadership teams and teachers up to date with changes in the education landscape.
If the changes are deemed positive and meet the high expectations of a safe, secure and vibrant educational offer to learners at the point of delivery, then they are quickly embraced.
These then form part of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) offer to teachers.
EEF Guidance on “Low Cost / High Impact” Resources
As educators, the onus is on us to identify external resources (See EEF technological guidance) to reduce some of this workload – but more importantly – to free up wasted time to allow greater focus on each and every learner’s needs and truly “raise their potential”.
In the UK alone, recent EEF research shows that schools spend some £900 million per annum on technological resources, with much of this amount being wasted on resources not fit for purpose. As such the EEF white paper defines a resource as being most effective if it is ‘low cost and has high impact’, and that teachers should ask the question – “will this resource reduce workload and increase learning outcomes?”
Therefore, it would be prudent when purchasing resources, as a start, to focus on the most fundamental requirements, including;
- Must develope excellent communication skills.
- Must encourage ‘deep learning’ and not shallow drilling resources (camouflaged by the hype of IT) that has a focus on rote learning.
- Must have positive cross curricula impact.
- Must not only focus on exam passing but allow the learner to demonstrate their skills whenever and wherever required beyond the exam system.
- Must encourage the development of true confidence and self-esteem for each and every learner and raise their potential for excellence in learning.
There are many new resources available in the market, and teachers are increasingly trying to introduce these resources, theories or even technologies into the classroom.
However, it would be difficult to envisage a teacher, whether experienced or indeed newly qualified, taking the unnecessary risk of using these resources in their classroom without addressing the three key fundamentals; i.e. Is it safe? What is the role of the teacher and finally, how do we know if teaching and learning is truly going on?
What are the challenges?
We would be careless if not reckless as educators, to prepare any classroom resource that did not take into account the above fundamentals. So, whether the resource is paper, digital or generated using powerful algorithms for teaching and learning, the fundamentals should stay the same.
Wrapping around these three fundamentals will be those recommended pedagogical models that have been scientifically researched and evidenced to show excellent outcomes in the classroom. (These can be numerous, from seating plans to understanding the learner’s past knowledge).
Complexities further arise when addressing more than two learners in the same classroom; Does the resource offer personalisation? Does it address emotion in learning? And how robust is the resource when simultaneously implementing with up to 35 learners in one class with multiple learning needs?
Teachers are under increasing pressure to measure and report on a variety of categories to help determine if indeed teaching and learning is taking place. Looking at the following list of considerations, it is easy to understand why so many teachers are feeling the strain of being over worked.
- Safety, security and wellbeing of the learner
- Lesson planning
- Learning needs of the individual
- Organising resources
- Place in curriculum*
- Skills levels
- Confidence levels
- Understanding and Impact
- Standard age comparisons
- National comparisons
- Learning preferences
- Tracking and Monitoring
- Reports on the individual progress
- School improvement related to the specific subject
Meeting the challenge
GoLearn has been developed specifically for teaching and learning English language and literacy.
We have brought together expert educators, including teachers, head teachers, education consultants, UK national strategists, leading mathematicians, technologists, examiners and curriculum designers to support the development of a resource that is fit for the modern classroom and encourages ‘deep learning’ – whilst ensuring we address three fundamental principles;
- The role of the teacher.
- Evidence to show teaching and learning is going on.
At GoLearn we believe English and literacy are fundamental to learning and have created a teaching and learning platform to develop these skills to allow each learner to raise their potential and bring out the talent that is inherent in all of us.
To try GoLearn in your classroom, click the button below.