Ready for the way forward: Supporting teachers in unusual times

Ready for the way forward teacher support

Teachers from more than 40 different countries around the world answered our Ready for the Way Forward Teacher Support Survey. They have given us an insight into what teachers are thinking, what they need and how we can support them as we plan to get back to school or back to the classroom in 2020.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to answer our questions. 

For ongoing materials and support, visit our Back to School resource page

Back to school during a pandemic

Over a billion students around the world had their education disrupted in 2020, according to UNESCO. They have lost weeks (if not months) of learning time. As we head back to school and get ready for the way forward, we are providing resources, materials and advice to help you prepare for a new learning environment and get your learners back on track. Whether you are teaching purely online, face-to-face, or getting ready for a hybrid learning environment we are here to support you. 

Our international survey has helped us to better understand how you are feeling about working remotely and how you are coping with teaching. The majority of our respondents (64%) teach secondary learners. Nearly half teach primary students (49%), 36% teach Adults general English, 20% Academic English, and 17% professional English (note that percentages reflect that many educators teach in multiple categories).

We learned more about how teachers are supporting their own mental health and that of their learners. We also found out what they’re planning to do to help with any lost learning. 

Here’s a breakdown of what you told us. 

How you are feeling about teaching again

It’s clear our respondents have mixed feelings about heading back to school or teaching online. While a good percentage are excited to start again (36%), exactly the same number are feeling anxious about it. 

Roughly the same percentages feel stressed about the new school year (26%) as they do confident (28%). Several of you added your opinions, explaining that while you’re excited, you’re also worried about the uncertainty, especially surrounding government guidelines. Others outlined they were not sure whether they would be teaching online or face-to-face. Private teachers were also concerned that a recession could mean that work dries up. Some said they were “considering looking abroad for work”.

We hope that our materials and support from Amy Malloy on our mindfulness experiences page can reduce at least some of your stress. And, as you learn new online teaching techniques and use our specially adapted materials, you can also increase your confidence. 

There were lots of positive responses too. Some teachers are feeling more motivated and creative. They see online teaching as a great opportunity. Others felt it was a chance to reinvent themselves and think about how their teaching would have to change in this new environment. 

For more ideas check out our blog: 3 ways to work on your professional development during the holidays. 

How you are getting ready for the blended classroom 

Nearly half of our respondents (48%) feel they have the right skills to deliver blended learning or online classes next term – which is great news. However, slightly fewer felt they had the right tools to do so (34%). This indicates there is a lack of resources for successful online/blended teaching in some areas. 

While 38% of respondents would like to receive more guidance in using digital platforms and tools, only 11.5% are not confident in their skills. One person explained that while they have attended some webinars, they “still don’t feel confident delivering engaging online lessons.” Another agreed, citing a lack of training and practice.

For more tips and training about teaching online read our Handy guide for teaching online by Lindsay Warwick or watch this series of videos on Online Teaching by Dr. Ken Beatty. 

One common concern was not feeling confident about how to deliver hybrid lessons. Others were worried about lack of government plans and support for those learners who were continuing to study online. 

One teacher explained, “There is no clear plan for my region or my school, if face-to-face is not possible…kids will fall through the cracks because of lack of materials. The disparity within a given class will become greater.”

If you feel worried about how to get ready for the new school year, our Back to School resource page is full of useful advice to set your mind at ease. 

What you said about lost learning

We learned that 53% of our respondents would like more materials with ideas for scaffolding to help them address lost learning. 20% said they have been giving extra assignments to learners. 5% said they were giving homework to parents, and 25% said they have a remedial plan for their classes. Another quarter has said they will begin the school year with an assessment of their students to find out if their students have fallen behind. 

A small percentage of teachers explained in comments that they were able to continue teaching their students during lockdown and over the summer, and therefore have not seen any lost learning. However, others explained that they have a plan to incorporate lost learning with their new classes next term. 

Materials, support and expertise from Pearson English

We are very keen to provide teachers everywhere with the support and materials they need, ready for the way forward. 

Over the next few months we have lots of exciting plans. Those keen to upskill and brush up on their professional development can take one of our Teacher Education and Leadership Academy (TELA) courses

Teachers using our digital courses, we’ll be able to enjoy new interactive tools built into our platforms to make online teaching and learning easier. These include a Zoom integration with the English Portal, new interactive eBooks and a test generator. 

After the success of our Pearson English Spring Days webinars we also have a new series planned. Stay tuned for updates. 

If you were unable to take part in the survey, we would still like to hear from you. The more conversations we have, the more we get to know you and understand how best to support you. 

Let us know in the comments what you need in the coming months, as we step into this new educational territory together. And don’t forget to visit our Back to School resource page for the latest updates and support.

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