Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Workload around planning and teaching resources

Earlier this month, the Government through the Department for Education released a number of documents which attracted a lot of discussion. There was a White Paper on Education which was dissected by many, called 'Educational excellence everywhere', and also a document which was the result of work by the Planning and Resources Review Group.
This is called 'Reducing Teacher Workload', and can be downloaded as a PDF from the link above, if you have time to read it.

For many teachers, downloading resources from the internet has become part of their practice - I do it myself of course from time to time, just to see how other colleagues have approached a particular theme - there are over 4.5 million downloads a week according to the most recent statistics I could find from 2015, so probably even  more now, and there is now the option to sell your resources through the site.

I've just been updating a chapter I wrote a few years ago for a book by Routledge called 'Debates in Geography Education'. There's a 2nd edition on the way. My chapter is on technology in geography and geography classrooms, and I've just added in a quote from the workload document from John Hattie, who will be familiar to some teachers from his work on 'effect sizes' (I used it in the courses I ran for OSIRIS over the last few years, as he is a fellow OSIRIS speaker):

there are a million resources available on the internet and creating more seems among the successful wastes of time in which teachers love to engage
(Hattie, 2012, p. 64)
The thing is that I think it's vital that teachers create their own resources. It's an important element of getting to grips with ideas and unfamiliar content (perhaps with the new specifications coming up) and working through how that will translate into a sequence of lessons. Teachers know what works well with the students they teach from previous experience, and also have a knowledge of what resources are available in terms of classroom spaces, materials, technology etc. There is a difference between what teachers want and what they need. They need to engage with their subject, and continue to develop as curriculum makers.

As the late Ted Wragg, who wrote lots of common sense said, teachers need to keep creating things and coming up with ideas, it's what we're paid for...
And it's why a lot of us will spend hours of our holidays continuing to do that, as we have done for years...

And if you don't want to do that, then feel free to buy my 'quality assured' textbooks :)

1 comment:

kevincooper777 said...

My modus operandi is to download resources from other teachers and then adapt as necessary - or even sometimes get the kids to point out the errors / shortcomings, like a complete lack of interactivity (which tends to be a common problem with downloaded powerpoints)...