UK announces AI funding for teachers: how this technology could change the profession

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Nicola Warren-Lee, University of Bristol and Lyndsay Grant, University of Bristol

During the recent international AI Safety Summit held in the UK, the government announced a further £2 million to be invested in Oak National Academy – a publicly funded classroom resource hub – to develop artificial intelligence tools to help reduce teachers’ workloads.

Generative AI, such as Open AI’s ChatGPT, responds to prompts from users to produce content. It has become a hot topic in education.

While there isn’t much up-to-date research on how teachers are using AI, we know from our work with schools that teachers are experimenting with AI to create lesson plans, classroom resources and schemes of work. For example, a teacher might ask ChatGPT, “make me a lesson plan on river flooding in Tewkesbury for year seven”. Within seconds, a plan will be available containing learning objectives, materials, activities, homework, assessments and more. (more…)

Keeping a diary can improve teachers’ wellbeing – here are some ways it can work for all of us

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Lucy Kelly, University of Bristol

Teachers in England are struggling. A recently released government report on the working lives of teachers found that teachers’ wellbeing levels are lower than the general population. More than half of the 11,177 teachers and school leaders surveyed said that their job was negatively affecting their mental health.

Teacher wellbeing should be addressed at a structural level. If the government wants teachers to enter the profession, and continue in it, then changes around pay, working conditions and support for teachers’ mental and physical health need to happen.

In the present moment, though, there are also steps teachers can take for themselves to prioritise their wellbeing. My research focuses on how keeping a diary can be useful to teachers. It can give them a safe place to define what wellbeing means for themselves and to explore what it means in practice. What’s more, there’s no reason why this practice couldn’t be helpful for others, too. (more…)

More ethnic minority teachers are needed in UK schools – but teaching can affect their mental health and wellbeing

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Terra Glowach, University of the West of England; Malcolm Richards, University of the West of England, and Rafael Mitchell, University of Bristol

There is a major shortage of new teachers in England, and this includes teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds. Research from 2020 found that 46% of schools in England had no Black or ethnic minority teaching staff at all.

But the treatment of ethnic minority staff in schools raises ethical concerns about recruiting them into a workplace which puts significant burdens on their mental health.

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Teacher motivation and student learning in India – which is the chicken, and which is the egg?

Blog post by Rhiannon Moore (PhD student, School of Education, University of Bristol) and Anustup Nayak, (Project Director for Classroom Instruction and Practice, Central Square Foundation)

What do we know? Teacher motivation and student learning

Teacher motivation is a commonly discussed topic within policy and research in LMICs. Such discussions tend to have two main points of focus: firstly, that teacher motivation is worryingly low; and secondly, that this is having an impact on student learning. In this blog, we are particularly interested in exploring the latter of these two points. We largely focus our discussion on teachers in India, where our experience and research suggests that it may be helpful to consider this relationship as a two-way cycle instead of an input-output process. Thinking about teacher motivation in this way can change the way we think about both teachers and students, asking that we challenge the often over-simplified picture of a poorly motivated teacher whose behaviour inhibits their students’ learning, and instead start to consider teachers as dynamic agents whose own needs may not be being met. (more…)

Network connects educators with latest research in Climate Change Education

Blog post by Lauren Hennessy, Research Associate, CCERN, University of Bristol

The Climate Change Education Research Network (CCERN),  formed in November 2020, was funded by the GW4 generator grant, to connect academic researchers and educators to address the big questions in Climate Change Education (CCE) together. (more…)

Introducing ‘Rehumanising Teacher Education’: a website for teachers and teacher educators

Blog post by Dr Janet Orchard, School of Education, and Nidia Aviles Nunez, School of Education

With a (contentious) market review of teacher education in England currently underway, we are reminded that in many parts of the world the place of critical reflection by teachers is increasingly called into question. Teacher ‘training’ is becoming increasingly pre-occupied with content and academic attainment as the sole purpose of schooling, with schools increasingly positioned as competitors within educational systems focused solely on assessing their performance through targets and measurable outcomes. As a result, education systems are undermining attention to those fundamentally human concerns that characterise teaching and through which teachers educate their students.

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Phase 3 ‘Reimagining the Diary’: taking stock and looking ahead

Blog image phase 3 reimagining the diaryBlog by Dr Lucy Kelly, PI (Principal Investigator) for the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ project, which explores diary-keeping and reflective practice as a positive tool for teacher wellbeing.

So despite another national lockdown, it’s been a busy start to the year for the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ project. Myself and Martyn from Teacher5aday are now working with 82 teachers across the country, each of whom has received a physical Diary Toolkit (pictured below) to chart their wellbeing journey over the term. It’s been lovely hearing such wonderful feedback on the Toolkits. I think receiving something so beautiful during lockdown had a really positive impact – symbolising connection and a new chapter for everyone – and I’m looking forward to seeing how this phase progresses. (more…)

Queering the curriculum

Queering the curriculum by Llewellyn Jonesby Llewellyn Jones, History PGCE student at the School of Education, University of Bristol

As a part of LGBT+ History Month, staff at Gordano School in Portishead were asked to prepare profiles of LGBT+ historical figures, related to their subject, to show students at the beginning of lessons. How students engaged the information depended upon the class. To raise awareness of queer lives, some classes simply read the information and were asked if they had any questions. In other instances, these profiles could trigger discussion on how history is constructed, why some people have been left out, and even the importance of being mindful of how we talk about the past.

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Introducing the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ Project

Someone writing in a diaryHello! My name is Lucy Kelly and I’m the PI (Principal Investigator) for the ‘Reimagining the Diary’ project, which explores diary-keeping and reflective practice as a positive tool for teacher wellbeing.

The pilot phase with Martyn Reah and Teacher5aday was launched at the end of 2020, so I thought it would be useful to share my experiences – and my own journey of using the Diary Toolkit – here.

Here’s a brief overview of the project. This is taken from a section I’ve written for Jamie Thom’s forthcoming book on supporting teachers experiencing anxiety. (more…)

Children’s reflections on home education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for the return to school

Claire LeeDr Lucy WenhamBlog post by Claire Lee and Lucy Wenham, School of Education, University of Bristol

As school leaders plan the return to school following the global pandemic, it is crucial that their educational decisions are informed by research into the everyday realities of enforced home learning for children. Much research attention until now has focused, importantly, on lost learning and widening inequalities (e.g. Andrew et al., 2020; Green, 2020). (more…)