Our last blog looked at the challenges facing trainee teachers in these difficult times. But what about more experienced colleagues faced with the need to meet the legal requirement for schools to provide remote learning? Here’s a collection of tips taken from our partner schools and fellow teaching professionals.

1. Be clear what you need to do
There’s a lot of concern and some myths circulating about what schools and teachers need to do – for example, although the law in England states that there needs to be daily contact with students who are isolating this doesn’t mean there have to be fully live lessons. Check out this article for some help and if you’re in a different country make sure to check the requirements that you need to meet.

2. Research available resources
During the lockdown period many teachers were working hard and adding to the existing wide range of digital teaching resources available. As well as the well known solutions such as Oak National you could explore the National Literacy Trust’s free school library, or explore museum collections such as the Oxford National History Museum. There’s a long list of ideas on University College London’s Centre for Educational Leadership website.

3. Plan as a team
As well as looking outside your school make sure to work as closely as possible with colleagues to share knowledge, tasks and ideas. Examples include collaborating to produce online assessments in Google or Microsoft Forms or pre-recording different parts of a topic or practical demonstrations to match the expertise and experience of teachers.

4. Plan for hybrid delivery
One of the biggest challenges of the ‘new normal’ is responding to the sudden absence of a number of children as a class or ‘bubble’ is isolating. That means it is worth planning lessons that can be delivered in a ‘hybrid’ or ‘blended’ way – making sure for example that worksheets are available digitally and that you have practiced using the technology you will rely on. If you’re waiting for your school to deliver training on this, you can get ahead with online resources – for example this series of videos that introduces Microsoft Teams.

5. Map your classroom teaching onto new rules
Classroom teaching comes with new and strict rules that it are difficult to follow if you’re used to a lot of group work and teacher movement. There are some innovative ways to overcome restrictions – for example, some teachers have set up a ‘visualizer station’ in the centre of the classroom where students can share their work without having to come into close contact with the teacher, while one music teacher is managing without equipment by training pupils in ‘body percussion’!

6. Set routines then give students more space
Our partner schools tell us that being consistent with routines is more important than ever – making sure that lessons start in the same way and students know where and how to work. At the same time, they also report some excellent project work being produced – the advantage that these can be worked on both at home and school – either informally or for a qualification such as the Extended Project Qualification.

7. Look after yourself
A final, and hopefully obvious point. If you’re feeling under the weather, finding it hard to cope with the stresses of the new normal or self-isolation, ask for help. As well as asking your school you could also try Education Support.

What are the practical issues that schools are facing returning to the ‘new normal’ of teaching? Read our ‘New Normal’ in Schools Guide to learn more! 

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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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