A few weeks ago on twitter I put up a small survey asking teachers to comment on what changes they would like to see in the UK educational system.
This was in response to many of my twitter followers who seemed disgruntled with the current system. I was hoping to gauge what really needed changing in the mind of fellow teachers.
The question was:
“ If you could change 1 aspect of the current educational system. What would it be?”
The choices were
- Lesson planning
- Marking overload
- Government involvement.
The results are below:
The top area for reform was Government involvement with 44% of the vote.
I would say that the majority of teachers and educationalist out there have voted for this because they feel they are being forced/made/persuaded/lambasted to conform to the government’s expectations. Many teachers feel that these expectations are not what are in the best interest of the children we teach, so it would be better if they were not to interfere. Many feel that as professional who have trained for many years, and who have many years of experience they should be left alone to get on with teaching. I would agree. I fully support the fact that governments need to be involved and I am a supporter in the fact that teachers and educational establishments need to be held accountable for what they are doing, but I also believe that professional who have an expertise in an area are often the best advisors to improve quality and delivery. You wouldn’t expect a dentist to be able to advise how to improve brain surgery!!
The second biggest area of contention was assessment with 29% of the vote
Personally I feel this again comes down to government intervention where it is not needed, but that point aside people felt assessment needed to be changed. Many though assessment needs to be streamlined and many agreed with the point that was being made. “ Assessment should be designed by the people who are administering them and should be formed around the people involved within them.” In short, teachers should design them based around the curriculum they teach to children, not assessments that shapes curriculum, which is the current system we have in many schools. The curriculum is shaped around a single test that is sat in May and the whole school is judged against it. Assessment should be that, on-going and constantly changing as more is learnt.
Third was marking overload with 25% of the vote
Unfortunately for me, this again comes down to government involvement. I feel they have put so many irreverent expectation on school leaders that the teachers feel they need to mark everything in detail just in case their books are picked up when the “big O” visits, or when they have an “Mini-OFSTED, or their “SLT” come around. As this point we need to ask: “who is the marking for? Children? Teachers? SLT? Do not get me wrong, I feel children need to have good positive feedback in their books. The children take the time to produce the work so we should take the time to acknowledge what they have done. Although I do believe that this shouldn’t always be in the form of written feedback. I believe that verbal feedback is vital as this is what teaching is all about; talking and making sure the children are learning and making progress and commenting if they are not.
Fourth and last was lesson planning with 2% of the vote
No real issues here as for most teachers this is an area they do not mind. Most teachers acknowledge that good planning allows for good lessons and ultimately happy students who will preform well and make good or better progress!