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Teacher wellbeing: is technology the answer?

by Jocy Levy on June 29, 2016

According to the National Union of Teachers (NUT), DfE figures reveal the number of those recruited onto Initial Teacher Training courses fell by nearly 14 per cent between 2010/11 and 2014/15. Again in 2015/16, for the third year in a row, the overall Teacher Supply Model (TSM) recruitment target was not met. These figures are a concern for the future of teaching as fewer trained staff are entering into the profession and among those that do, 4 in 10 resign within a year.

This highlights the opportunity that exists for education suppliers to step in and do what they can to turn the recruitment crisis on its head. If we’re able to encourage more teachers into the profession and help retain the best talent, there’s a huge opportunity to work together to reduce workload and make teachers’ lives easier.

ICT can be one of the most challenging areas for many schools as technology plays a big part in everyday life, yet it is constantly evolving, meaning it can be difficult for teachers and school staff to be proficient in all areas. This emphasises the importance of sourcing high quality, trusted providers. If your school works with a respected supplier, they will ask about the individual needs and overall goals of your school and, therefore, will be best placed to make appropriate recommendations regarding technologies for your school. Usually, if your school is working with a good supplier, they’ll also provide the basic training needed to get the most out of the ICT you’ve invested in, saving your staff time and hassle and allowing them to focus on what they do best; teaching.

In a recent report by educator John Roberts, he said: “Imagine a world where, as a teacher, your register is automatically taken, learning is adapted to the individual needs of classes, formative and summative marking is collated automatically then calculated and reported to you, the behaviour and attainment trends of your classes are available in real time, pastoral issues are automatically reported, all while aggregated research analysis improves our understanding of learning. This is not beyond possibility; this should be our understanding of learning.” John is absolutely right that this is completely possible, and there are already a range of systems that do just that; automate school processes and provide data in real-time, including Groupcall Emerge.

Schools’ ability to embrace innovations in education technology is often limited by restrictive IT infrastructure and outdated systems. However, with cloud-based Management Information Systems (MIS) now available, administrative tasks have become less time-consuming than ever. The cloud enables access to school data anytime, anywhere and on any device, allowing school staff to be more productive, which in turn, boosts their morale. While many schools have already bought into these benefits and are now fully immersed in cloud computing, a large number are still not fully aware of the benefits that these solutions offer. There is often a resistance from network staff in schools to use these resources because they see it as a threat to their jobs. But in reality, it can actually be used as a way of releasing them from low-value tasks such as resetting passwords, and enabling them to focus on more high-value work like supporting teachers and pupils with using new technologies to improve teaching and learning.

Progress is certainly being made towards improving teacher wellbeing, but there is still scope for more advancements to be made. The sooner schools realise the potential benefits of embedded technologies and raise their expectations of what software providers can deliver, the sooner schools will be able to experience the full impact of technology on a teacher’s performance and happiness in the profession. Only then can we retain our most skilled staff and attract additional talent, in order to celebrate one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet!

Topics: Groupcall Emerge, Teacher workload