During the pandemic, the shift to online learning, then back to the classroom, on more than one occasion, and the multiple disruptions due to absent staff and pupils, have led to a difficult couple of years for the education sector. If you were in the teaching profession during this time, you will have experienced first-hand a rapid change in methodology and will understand how important it is for Teachers to be flexible in their approach and, how the need to continue learning does not end once you begin your career. Recent changes to the education sector are setting the scene for the trends we expect to see. 

 

The changing landscape of the teaching profession

 

Until 2020, teaching had always taken place in the classroom and as a Teacher you were expected to be physically present with your pupils. Technology had a role in the classroom and may have been used to set homework and communicate with parents and carers, but in general, face-to-face, hands-on teaching was the norm. Almost overnight that all changed. Suddenly computers became the only means of contact for Teachers and their pupils and both had to quickly become proficient in the use of online platforms. 

With the move back into the classroom, Teachers have learnt how to be flexible in their teaching methods to adapt to constant changes. It has become necessary to be resourceful to find the optimum ways to cover the curriculum and assess pupils, especially where valuable classroom time has been lost.

 

Mental health and wellbeing have become a much higher priority for pupils, and in many schools, this has become part of the weekly teaching programme. Teachers and staff are now expected to provide more support in this area, and many are receiving additional training.

 

Key trends affecting teaching staff

 

Three main areas affected the education sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is these that will likely have the most impact on the upcoming trends: technology, mental health and wellbeing, and socialisation. Here are some of the trends that Teachers should be aware of. 

Technology

 

The increasing use of technology and digital tools is likely to continue, both inside and outside the classroom. There are many platforms for both primary and secondary education that have come to the forefront as invaluable tools for teaching, homework tasks and connecting with pupils, parents and carers.

 

  • Google Classroom has been used by many schools throughout the pandemic and beyond. As well as being a popular platform for teaching online lessons, it has lots of additional useful features for Teachers to connect with students, set work, monitor progress and assess assignments. 
  • ClassDojo is used by primary Teachers to share photos, videos and messages with parents, so they can see their child’s activities and progress in the classroom. 
  • Epic! is a digital library and online reader for children aged 12 and under. This is a great tool for Teachers to track progress and help improve reading skills. 
  • Educake provides online homework and revision tasks for Key Stage 3 and GCSE subjects. Teachers can set this to help assess pupils’ progress and improve their knowledge.

 

As technology advances, it is expected that virtual reality (VR) may also soon become a viable option for the classroom. This kind of immersive learning opportunity would enable pupils to go on virtual field trips and explore new places or experience different career opportunities. You can learn more about this technology here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

 

With a new understanding of the importance of mental health and wellbeing for young people, more lessons and events are likely to address this. Teaching staff will be expected to provide support and understanding for pupils who are affected, as well as teaching pupils to be aware themselves of the concerns and issues they and their peers may face. As a result, more training for teaching and non-teaching staff needs to be provided in this area.
 

Socialisation

 

After periods of home learning and being in segregated year groups and class bubbles, it is important for pupils to have opportunities to work on social skills and interactions with others. An increase in extra-curricular activities and events, such as sports, arts and music, over the coming months and years will encourage pupils to get involved and become part of a school community again. More schools may also add outdoor learning facilities, such as forest schools and school farms, to broaden the curriculum and real-life experiences for their pupils.

Skills Teaching

 

Evidence from the past couple of years has proven that knowledge alone is not enough for young people to learn. The internet is a part of everyday life for our youngest generation, and they are growing up with a wealth of information at their fingertips. This means there is a shift in focus for Teachers. Rather than just providing knowledge, Teachers are taking on a more facilitative role, helping pupils understand the information they find, how to apply that knowledge and how to learn from it.

 

A lot of teaching is taking on a more skills-based approach, with an emphasis on the necessity for soft skills to equip pupils to interact and function within their community and future workplace. In addition, more training in leadership and entrepreneurship may be introduced into secondary curriculums to motivate pupils to learn independently and develop skills specific to their future plans.

How you can prepare for new teaching trends

 

Education is constantly changing, now more than ever, and as a Teacher or Teaching Assistant it is important to always keep up to date with the various aspects of the profession.

 

Technology – To learn more about technology in education, start by reading the Department for Education (DfE) publication, ‘Realising the potential of technology in education’. 

 

Mental Health and Wellbeing – The government guidance on promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges is a good place to start to find out more on the latest initiative for improving the whole school approach surrounding mental health. For some useful resources to assist with teaching primary and secondary pupils about issues surrounding wellbeing, visit the BBC website.  

 

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is important in any career, but especially in teaching to stay current in new technology, teaching methods and skills. Visit our training page to find out about CPD opportunities with Career Teachers.

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