Who should decide how teachers teach?

With around one-third of teachers leaving the classroom within five years of qualifying, it is time to ask: what do we expect of our teachers? Tes reports

Should we, for example, expect teachers in a particular subject to all “deliver” the same highly polished PowerPoint presentation devised by a senior colleague?

Or should each teacher be given the overview of the content that needs to be covered, and asked to respond in their own way to ensure that the necessary learning takes place?

Is the pressure to get through the increased amount of content at both primary and GCSE reducing the opportunities to explore in more details concept and ideas that spark the interest of pupils or teachers?

All of these questions need answers. And, last month, RSA academies sought to answer them. We gathered a group from across education (teachers, policymakers, union representatives, the College of Teaching), to explore whether, where and how greater teacher autonomy and creativity might improve teacher job satisfaction, motivation, and ultimately retention.

This is what we found: 

1.     High-level schemes of work need to be agreed at the school level, and that the scope for greater creativity lies at the individual lesson level.  As one headteacher put it: “The ‘what’ is agreed at school level, the ‘how’ is to be determined by the teacher.”  

3.     The terms ‘creativity’ and ‘creative teachers’ are problematic – they mean different things to different people. Some assume that ‘creativity’ is something that only happens in the arts, and the term alone can alienate those who see themselves as ‘traditional teachers’.  When we speak about having the opportunity to be ‘creative’ often we mean that teachers should be able to act autonomously, take decisions and change plans in response to what was happening in the classroom, to be professional. 

Read more findings from the group  Who should decide how teachers teach?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter~ Tamsin

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