The Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers brings teacher trainers from around the world together for a 2-day conference every November. As sponsors and speakers we were given a fantastic opportunity to learn about the key issues facing the sector – as well as sharing how we could help with them. Here are our 4 most important findings.
- Recruitment to teacher training is in dire straits. Many of the universities present were taking part in a wide range of innovative schemes and partnerships to increase recruitment from as wide and diverse a population as possible, but the numbers aren’t going up fast enough to meet demand. Unless wages for teachers rise substantially, the only solution will be innovation – making training easier, more supportive and more flexible to bring more people into ITT programmes and keep them going through their placements.
- The Early Career Framework is a huge opportunity for schools and mentors, but it needs more careful planning. The Government’s plan to strengthen development for early-career teachers is being tested in the North East of England before being rolled out nationally. Expansion from one to two years of induction support will require a different approach to teacher training – delegates were keen to move beyond a training ‘curriculum’ to an approach that developed teachers as curious and self-reflecting professionals.
- Universities are developing a strong reputation for international teacher training. Every university we spoke to was developing international partnerships for training and research – including China, India, Malaysia, Brazil and many more. UK teacher training is seen as high quality and schools are happy to pay for academic experts to fly out and spend time with them. But how much better would it be if these trips could be followed up with real-time mentoring and remote coaching through online video sharing?
- Classroom researchers want to see what is really happening in classrooms. ‘Evidence-informed teaching’ is a growing issue as schools want to focus their resources on actions that will improve their performance. We had a number of conversations that focused on practical ways to see into classrooms, with delegates asking about the quality of our videos, whether conversations between teachers and students could be isolated and recorded and whether data from observations could be integrated with data analysis tools such as SISRA Observe.
Thanks to all those who attended and talked to us – we’ll use your ideas to help develop our solutions in all of these areas.
If you’d like to discuss any of these issues and how Lessonvu can help you, please get in touch.