1. Remote visiting before a placement starts
A student teacher is assigned their school. But rather than visiting the school, they are given access to video footage of the actual classes they are teaching. They can see the routines that the school and the teacher use to ensure focused learning, and they can start to see where the students are in their learning journey.
Once they have had a chance to look at some lessons, they can have a video conference call with their university tutor, the mentor they will be working with at school and perhaps the classroom teacher. They can discuss specific aspects of the lesson and then use specific parts of the lesson to complete written assignments.
2. Focused time at school
Once they arrive at school, better-informed teacher trainees can spend less time at the school and come into the classroom as an expert and trusted assistant teacher, rather than having to sit at the back of the classroom for a while as most trainee teachers do and run the risk of distracting the students! During this time, they could perhaps teach a specific part of a lesson or practice introducing a new concept.
3. More support for remote students
One reason why schools were reluctant to take on trainees according to Schools Week was the need to ‘catch up’ students who have missed work, but trainee teachers could also help here by offering small-group remote support using the technology that schools have been relying on in recent months. This would also allow them to see the impact of their teaching and to see the misconceptions that students often introduce.
4. More reflection in more places with more people
Students can reflect on lessons and discuss them with mentors remotely if they are recorded, reducing the number of people they come into contact with. They can also select and share video clips and with the right permission obtained, share them with peers for discussion or use them to build up their own ‘Teacher Standards’ portfolio.
This case study shows how remote mentoring worked well with a teacher in their first year of teaching.
What about teachers already working in schools? How might their training change?
1. Development in new specialist roles
There is already an interesting debate in many schools about the different roles that teachers are taking on in response to remote working. Some are finding that they enjoy creating online content and others that they are good at providing remote academic and pastoral support, while many just want to get back to classroom teaching!
Schools and trusts are reflecting on this and thinking about helping those in different areas – for example some teachers might be given time and training to create presentations, video and audio content that students can use for remote learning, either alongside lessons in school in a future lockdown situation. Or more simply, they might deliver the key content of a subject to a whole year group by video link, with other teachers then supporting smaller groups in applying these new ideas.
2. Focused and remote CPD
The traditional INSET day, with dozens or hundreds of teaching coming together in one room, may be one of the last features of a school to return to normal (along with whole school assemblies), with teachers staying in smaller groups.
This presents a challenge to schools who rely on this type of training. But there is an alternative. Many schools are already providing updates on statutory issues through online courses – and this provides an easy central record to refer to for inspections.
This frees up teachers to spend more time working in department or phase groups on specific development issues, bringing in expert help from inside or outside the school where needed.