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…)
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…)
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.
Blog 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…)
by 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.
Hello! 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…)
Blog 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…)
A recent report (Moore et al., 2019) placed improving behaviour in schools as a central priority for education contexts. For young people with ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], the classroom can be a particularly challenging environment for them as they are often more inattentive (Kofler et al., 2008), and display more off-task (Imeraj et al., 2013) and disruptive behaviours (O’Regan, 2018).
As such, young people with ADHD require more support from educators in the classroom, but this is typically hindered by a limited teacher knowledge of ADHD (Kendall, 2016) and of evidence-based ADHD-specific interventions, both in the UK (Moore et al., 2016) and internationally (Arcia et al., 2000). In a review of UK teachers’ own perspectives, Moore et al. (2017) recognise the importance of informed pupil-teacher interactions, and the need for evidence-based interventions to effectively assist educators in their daily practice in the classroom. (more…)