Empowering Teachers: Blog 2
The transition to unconventional ways of teaching during the first Covid-19 lockdown created numerous challenges for teachers. Faced with uncertainty around how best to engage with their students, many found themselves implementing new teaching strategies without an adequate level of support or training.
A great deal of attention has been paid to the learning gap that has opened between students due to the pandemic. While it’s vital to address this issue, it’s also essential that the disparities that exist between teachers when it comes to the technological skills they possess are also remedied.
Enhancing skills doesn’t just apply to tech, however. There are always opportunities to improve how all elements of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are delivered to teachers. With research finding that 88% of school leaders believe that Initial Teacher Training does not offer enough training on supporting students with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), for example, there are clearly areas where ongoing learning is vital.
Equipping staff with the right skills not only prepares them for what the future of education may look like, but it will also make them more resilient in the face of potential challenges.
Schools increasingly recognise the value of making CPD accessible to all teachers, at all times. The benefits of this are obvious–improved morale and retention, quality teaching and better student outcomes.
Drawing on some of the lessons learnt during the switch to online learning, schools now have an opportunity to unite all elements of their professional development strategies using technology.
As teachers saw first-hand when using remote learning solutions, the power of technology to enable students to learn at their own pace is clear. That’s why the legacy of the pandemic has left such a strong desire among educators to do more with tech in the future, transforming both the learning and teaching experience in the process.
Whole School Benefits
Pedagogies are constantly evolving, with teachers needing to stay informed if they are to educate their students in the most effective way possible. Offline or poorly designed online CPD resources can make it hard for teachers to find time in their busy schedules to engage with their own learning.
Using the same virtual learning environment for CPD as their students is an effective way for teachers to experience a platform from the learner’s perspective. Finding a solution that is both user-friendly and flexible is also a priority, especially in a busy educational setting. As with their students’ learning, training can also be engaged in their preferred format, e.g., text or video–enabling teachers to learn in the way that suits them best.
Administrators who are tasked with ensuring teachers receive the training they need also benefit from a virtual learning environment, as it offers a comprehensive view of personal development for all staff. Automatically assigning relevant learning schemes to individuals, for example, saves time and helps ensure that the right training is given–and that everyone can follow their own professional development journey.
Students benefit too, as teachers are using the same technology to improve personalisation, engagement and outcomes for their pupils.
CPD That is Flexible, Accessible and Engaging
As technology continues to evolve, teachers need to be supported in performing to the best of their abilities, to meet their career goals and those of their school. Training is far from a one-off process and, when undertaken regularly and effectively, can make those goals more achievable.
User-friendly online virtual learning environments make CPD more accessible for teachers, especially if there is flexibility to carry out their training whenever works best for them. Brightspace, developed by D2L, supports the personal development of teachers through an intuitive and unified platform.
The interactive solution has been built with engagement and collaboration at its core. Empowering teachers in this way not only develops skills, confidence and motivation but also helps them to work with their students better.