Blinks: High quality reviews and training
Blinks: High quality reviews and training
Blinks: High quality reviews and training
High quality reviews and training
High quality reviews and training

Guest Column - October 2021
Cameron Mirza
The learning scientist

The critical success factor in the education system will always be the teacher.

It is essential today that teachers are supported to develop the skills, subject knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, pedagogical content knowledge and digital skills required to thrive in the classroom environment. The recently published teaching report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Microsoft, laid stark some sobering data.
  • Only 26% of respondents think their training has equipped them for managing stress and burnout, a leading cause of teacher shortages.
  • Only 38% feel their training is equipping them to use digital technology.
  • A majority (60%) think new teachers will increase the use of technology by 2030.
  • Half predict they will focus more on teaching social values and diversity, and nearly half (48%) expect an increased focus on social and emotional learning.
  • Nearly all survey respondents agree that the purpose of education must shift to helping students know how to collect, interpret, and apply information, rather than just learning it.
The repercussions of this data are complex, cutting across several key aspects from curriculum to learner assessment. This complexity is further compounded if we consider data from Pearson's global survey of 11,000 learners from around the world.
  • 78% believe that they need to develop their soft skills to give them the edge over automation.
  • 84% of people agree with the statement that 'my career path will be significantly different from my parents or grandparents'.
  • 81% believe that lifelong learning through a 'do it yourself' approach will become more prevalent.
What then should be the future capability framework for the teaching workforce?

The teacher will increasingly take the role of a facilitator of knowledge to develop the student's critical thinking, research, and problem-solving skills. Teachers will need to learn how to nurture multidisciplinary learning, which will explore interactions between subjects by helping students explore themes such as climate change that are not collapsible into one subject.

This approach should nurture higher-order thinking, real-world knowledge application, collaboration, and problem-solving within students.

Technology training will be critical for teachers not just for the delivery of lessons but also to allow them to save time in lesson planning and marking. Technology and learning platforms within schools will create a significant amount of student data, and teachers will need to be trained on how to use this data to know their students on not just an academic level but also an emotional level: to use data to allow the curriculum to flex around the learner rather than the other way round.

Whilst most technology currently used in the classroom is low-fi, it is reasonable to expect teachers of the future to have a good understanding of Artificial Intelligence, and how to harness its potential to support learners and reduce their workloads.

What requires especial focus is the critical aspect of instructional design. Educators will increasingly need to think about designing strategies for deep learning as education systems globally migrate to a more blended delivery model.

The evidence arising out of the global pandemic is that students are dissatisfied with their online learning experience: the transition from 'brick' to 'click' has proven to be a challenge for many educators. More emphasis will need to be placed on educators to deliver in a multi-modal setting.

The higher-level cognitive functions of Bloom's taxonomy - creating, evaluating, analysing and applying - involve the cortical areas responsible for decision-making, association, and motivation.

As automation continues to redefine the world of work it is critical that teachers can develop higher-order thinking skills in learners; and support the development of intrinsic motivation for lifelong learning and the resilience required to navigate the unpredictability of modern life.

The future role of a teacher will surely be that of a learning scientist.

Cameron Mirza is Chief of Party, USAID, Pre Service Teacher Education, Jordan

The learning scientist (October 2021)


Guest Column - September 2021
Harry Hudson
At the cutting edge
Teaching is moving at a pace, and there has never been a more exciting time to become a teacher. We know more now than we have ever known about how the brain works, and teachers can be more confident than at any time in history about the science of learning. What's more, there is still so much left to discover.
At the cutting edge (September 2021)

Guest Column - June 2021
By Old Cobbler
Great news! Primary languages are rubbish!
Ofsted blog: schools, early years, further education and skills
As the subject lead's blog on the Ofsted website explains, inspectors recently visited 24 primary schools, all rated excellent at their latest inspection, to assess the quality of their languages teaching.
Great news! Primary languages are rubbish! (June 2021)

Guest Column - May 2021
Dr Michael Lightfoot
The long-term impact on education systems caused by the Great Pandemic of 2020/21 will take many years to play out. Emergency remote teaching became the mode through which education systems tried to overcome the impacts of school closures, and most schools turned to EdTech for solutions.
Rethinking assessment: in praise of ePortfolios (May 2021)

Guest Column - April 2021
David Ingram
During a particularly difficult stretch of the lockdown, my professional coach invited me to engage my curiosity. This prompted me to consider the enormity of the pandemic from an entirely different perspective. I remain curious. Necessity may have been the mother of invention during lockdown but as the world returns to a semblance of normality, school leaders will need to ponder next steps.
Shaping the legacy of COVID-19 (April 2021)

Guest Column - March 2021
Harry Hudson
Education is in the spotlight in a way it hasn't been for decades, and much has been said about how teaching can 'build back better' after the pandemic. Yet step back from all the talk of 'catch up funding' and ways our classroom practice can be improved by having taught online, and there's an even bigger picture.
Changing the image of teaching (March 2021)

Guest Column - February 2021
Marc Rowland
The most effective strategies give teachers and other staff the capacity, expertise, knowledge and development to meet the needs of their pupils and improve them as learners. Teacher agency and buy-in are fundamental to success. They all complement one another, working together to support the development of a culture of inclusivity where pupils' needs are understood and assessment drives action.
Culture (February 2021)

Guest Column - January 2021
Malcolm Wheeler
Online passages from India
The pandemic will be remembered in the words of Dickens as "the worst of times" and, in the most unintended ways, also "the best of times". Before the lockdown, the challenge for our kind of schools was finding the sweet spot between theoretical and experiential learning. After the move to virtual learning, it has become about finding our collective 'ikigai', or finding our reason for being.
Online passages from India (January 2021)

Guest Column – December 2020
Keith Grainger, Principal, Garth Hill College
The case for the defence: online learning
In a week when the government has threatened councils with legal action over decisions to switch to online learning over coronavirus fears, I feel the urge to celebrate the considerable merits of online learning. Such threats almost cast a slur on the very concept of online learning and, given our positive experience as a state secondary school, I am compelled to make a case for the defence.
The case for the defence: online learning (December 2020)

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