Bright Teachers

Teaching, educationand education aides blog

Outdoor education opportunities for pupils

During this part of the school year, many teachers take the opportunity to take their pupils outdoors more frequently for lessons other than physical education. The value of this has been shown to be of great benefit for all pupils and can increase motivation and inspire children to be more creative in other curriculum areas.

Forest schools is a relatively new concept which mimics educational practices used mainly in Scandinavian counties and involves children spending time outdoors in all weathers learning new skills and enjoying the outside environment. Most schools now incorporate this into the school day for some year groups which has been a challenge for urban schools without easily accessible wild spaces.

Besides the use of forest school sessions, a creative teacher can opt to use the outdoor space for many lessons. For instance, simple mathematics can be taught using the natural environment as pupils can collect natural materials to count and group. In literacy, poetry writing benefits from being outside in nature with pupils able to experience the effects of the wind on the trees and seeing first hand different insects and birds. Science is an ideal subject to take outside especially when studying plants and growing but also for the sometimes messier aspects of science such as experiments involving mixing solutions.

So, come on educators, take your lessons outside today to inspire and motivate your pupils.

How are schools coping with loss of staff?

During the Covid pandemic there have been times when many schools have struggled with staff illnesses. As many students were also at home at times, it did mean that some teachers were still able to work as they didn’t need to leave their house but over the last few months with the surge of Omicron, many schools are struggling to keep up with demand. Omicron although seemingly less dangerous to most, is affecting more people and with teachers still having to isolate, it means there are less and less available to teach. Sometimes this has meant that schools have had to close or close to certain year groups and switch to online learning. This has meant yet more disruption for pupils but with a shortage of supply teachers, it is often the only option.

When teaching remotely, students do not get the same out of a lesson that they would do if they were in class so many parents and teachers are keen to get back to usual teaching as soon as possible. Teachers are often choosing to go over subjects that the students have already learn rather than having to try and teach new ones, but this may mean that many fall behind with where they need to be.

Playing catch up after lockdown schooling

Children across Britain have undoubtedly missed out on huge chunks of learning during the two main lockdowns that we have had and although teachers and parents tried their best to provide pupils with educational activities during these times it fell short of the quality of teaching and learning that children usually have due to the difficulties with technology, the lack of expertise of some parents who were trying to support their children and the struggle to motivate some pupils to participate daily.

Now that pupils are back in the classroom, schools are trying to help pupils to catch up on this missed learning, but it is a difficult task as some distancing restrictions are still in place meaning that classroom routines are different and normal teaching methods are having to be adapted in some cases making them less effective for some of the pupils.

There have been discussions about lengthening the school day and shortening lunchtimes but for young children of primary age this may lead to poor behaviour in the classroom as the children are not having the opportunity to play with their peers a very important part of a child’s social education and equally as important as their academic schooling so care must be taken to consider the whole child when deciding on the best way to support their learning going forward.

Learning lessons from home schooling

Schools and teachers of today have had to embrace online learning more than any other generation. Some have faced up to the challenge brilliantly which has made a tremendous difference to parents struggling to get to grips with the technology and sometimes reluctant learners at home.

The best examples of online learning and teaching that has emerged has been when the task and instructions are clear and unambiguous and do not require previous knowledge from the parents and carers. Some adults may not be confident in their own academic ability and this has caused difficulties when trying to support their children often trying to use teaching methods that are alien to them.

Teachers that have provided a variety of activities with a mix of practical and written tasks understand that children learn best if they are motivated and this teaching style increases the chances of pupils joining in without complaint.

Feed back to the child and also the parent is a vital part of successful online learning and need not be lengthy but shows that the teacher is responding to their submission and recognising the effort that the child has put into the task. Rewards in the form of certificates and school team points can have a positive effect on continued learning.

Building children’s self-esteem in the classroom

It is widely recognised that a child’s self-esteem is a contributing factor to their progress at school and their behaviour in the classroom and so it is vitally important that staff in school aim to build and develop positive self-esteem wherever possible. There are a number of ways in which this can be encouraged in the classroom and in the wider school community.

Firstly, the whole ethos of the school should be one of mutual respect where every pupil is valued. The idea that every child has the potential to excel in something is an important one and children should be encouraged to explore lots of different avenues to find their niche not just the academic routes that so often are prevalent in school.

Giving children small responsibilities in the classroom is one way that self-esteem can be boosted as often this gives children the opportunity to feel important amongst their peers. The roles can be allocated on a rota basis so that all children get the chance to take part.

The effect of giving praise to children cannot be emphasised enough as this is a powerful motivator. Pupils can be praised for lots of different aspects of their work and behaviour such as kindness to others, tenacity when attempting a complex task or academic achievement and this praise undoubtedly builds their self-esteem enormously.