Getting ready to teach: top tips for September

5 Jul 2021 04:18 PM

We know that you and your colleagues are working extremely hard to overcome the extraordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in. Although the 2020-21 session is coming to an end and many of you have now submitted your Teacher Assessed Grades, we understand that you’re busy with preparations for the next academic year.

After the ups and downs of the past year, you’re probably in survival mode right now and we want to help make these preparations a little easier.

Kelly Johnson, Curriculum Officer at NCFE, has put together the following top tips to support you and your colleagues with getting ready to teach next session.

  1. Reflect on the previous year and ensure your future curriculum meets the needs of learners

Before we get into gear for September, it’s important to spend some time reflecting on the previous ten months and the things you’ve experienced in that time. What went well and what didn’t go so well? What successes and triumphs should be celebrated? Reflection is an essential part of planning, as there are always lessons to be learnt (even by the ones usually teaching the lessons)!

Now is the best time to think about your curriculum and what learners will gain from this in the coming year. Have you incorporated vocational subjects that add value to your current timetable? By offering an ambitious curriculum that meets the needs of every learner, not only improves outcomes, but also helps your school to meet Ofsted requirements on the quality of education.

  1. Make use of free technology to support your teaching

We’ve all had to adapt to using technology in new ways since schools initially closed in spring 2020, so many of you will have experimented with various tools. We wanted to share some of our favourites with you, and we would love to hear yours in the comments below.

  1. Adopt teaching strategies that get the best out of your learners, helping them to develop a growth mindset

As you may be aware, a lot of educational research shows that peer collaboration, metacognition or thinking about your learning, and feedback have the strongest impact on learner achievement. But for these to be effective, your learners need to have a growth mindset.

Learners who have a fixed mindset believe that intelligence or ability is fixed and won’t change whereas growth mindset learners are the opposite. Because of this, those with fixed mindsets will avoid challenges as they can’t do them whereas growth learners will embrace them.

One way you can help develop and encourage a growth mindset is in the language you use, which we have outlined in the table below.

Fixed mindset

Growth mindset

“Not everyone is good at maths, just try your best.”

“When you learn how to do a new kind of problem, it grows your maths brain.”

“That’s okay, maybe maths is not one of your strengths.”

“If you catch yourself saying ‘I’m not a maths person’, add the word ‘yet’ to the end of the sentence.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll get it if you keep trying.” *

“That feeling of maths being hard is the feeling of your brain growing.”

“Great effort, you tried your best!” **

“The point isn’t to get it all right away, the point is to grow your understanding step-by-step. What can you try next?”

*If learners are using the wrong strategies, their efforts might not work, and they may feel inept.

**Don’t accept less than optimal performance from your learners.

To find out more about online teaching tools and applications, book on to our webinar on 7 July. We’ll also be running a webinar on teaching strategies and more tips on preparing to teach in 2021-22, and we’ll share the booking details with you soon.

For more information on our V Cert Technical Awards which offer added value and support to your curriculum and have been designed to fit seamlessly into your timetable alongside core subjects, visit our website.