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Would this solve teacher shortages - almost at a stroke?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Nonentity, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Graded levels of difficulty in online testing, perhaps multiple choice? Different timings for tests? Extension activities?

    The Australian example is not what I am talking about though. I am suggesting that a school who is missing five teachers for five different subjects, may take weeks and weeks to replace them (especially in London) employ various supply teachers (all unsettling for the pupils) spend 000s and at the same time wear down staff, demoralise pupils and teachers alike - when (from what I have been reading today) there appear to be a host of companies offering a technology-based alternative.
  2. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    I've supervised students doing distance learning of various kinds. It works well for students who are motivated, focussed and able. It doesn't work well for those who need more support. Until and unless AI develops massively you're on a hiding to nothing trying to use this on a large scale.
    Moony likes this.
  3. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    My suggestion is instead of a department with four teachers and one vacancy (filled by supply teachers or perpetual cover) that the gap is filled by technology being introduced such as GCSE/A level online products. So the four teachers would now teach FIVE groups but only face-to-face some of the week, with online courses doing the rest. Taking your examples, less need for behaviour management plus smaller classes, more motivated pupils and better results.

    All the rest...well, in my example, who is doing it now? The supply teacher? The list of teachers on cover? Also the £500 a week saved - some could be put towards resources - ebooks for all? Even if ALL the savings were used would not the 3-lessons a week with interactive courses and 2 with a teacher in a small class, be better than 5 lessons a week, often with a different teacher, or jammed in with another class?
  4. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    I would posit that such kids would be even more interested in playing video games than interacting with a "learning app". Video games are extremely sophisticated, have lots of resources pumped into them, and reward the player in cunning ways. Learning apps would be conspicuous by their relatively poor quality.

    It takes self-discipline to delay gratification, and focus on tasks that are comparatively uninteresting. Now if there was a technological method of (effortlessly) increasing self-discipline... well yes, you'd be onto a winner there.
  5. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    OK but do teacher shortages, a stream of supply teachers, other teachers on cover, crowded classes, continued uncertainty work for those who need more support?

    My suggestion is that small classes (better quality, less quantity) would also have benefits. Remember, this generation has grown up with technology - often turning to facebook etc for company than real people.
  6. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    You're forgetting something. The money saved would be used for bonuses for SMT, for introducing such effective cost-saving measures.
    Moony and Laphroig like this.
  7. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Yes but this is not video games v learning app.

    This is teacher shortage v learning app plus knock on effect of less stressed teachers, more resources, smaller classes.

    Learning apps being poor quality. I don't know, I only started looking around today as it occurred to me that replacing human teachers with human teachers is not working in many cases.

    As far as self-discipline....there have been tests around for years where you get a (virtual) reward for doing well, a gold star, a badge etc. PLUS all test results etc would be logged and converted into ready reports very easily, thus satisfying parents, Inspectors etc

    As I said earlier I am watching Educating Manchester. I am struck by the energy of the teachers, none of them are weary...yet and I now see a teacher in the closing scenes is in tears.
  8. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    No I didn't forget that. I said earlier that an alternative could be that the money was used for resources. If this then lead to an improvement in exam results wouldn't SMT get bonuses then?
  9. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    I'm not sure. It's possible I suppose.

    I think you need to clarify what is meant by a system "working" here.

    The current system of league tables, OFSTED, unaccountable SMT, micromanagement, running-as-businesses, and the elimination of experienced teachers could be said to be working perfectly. All the desired outcomes have been achieved. It depends how you measure success. There's no reason to change any of this.

    If the introduction of technology does indeed show some benefit, then a technological arms race would begin, and in no time at all we'd be back to square one (with the accompanying stressed, burned-out teachers).

    Don't get me wrong - I think today's technology is absolutely marvelous. To get the full benefit of it though you need to be motivated and self-disciplined, and I don't see a technological solution to this "problem" appearing any time soon.
  10. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    I brought this up as you said that kids who aren't interested would probably prefer to use a learning app than to be in class. This might be true. However they'd be even more interested in not using a learning app altogether.
  11. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Just a few more points.
    I'm not at all convinced this is true. In maths, I've seen little difference in books over time. Have you got any examples? (Maths exams have got easier, but that's not the same. I'm actually in agreement with the curiously-named "Campaign for Real Education" on that one.)
    They might be more used to using particular apps etc, but do they really understand what's going on behind the scenes? Can they troubleshoot when things go wrong?
    I think you might end up with a shortage of such technicians.
    Laphroig likes this.
  12. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Remember though, that here I am primarily talking about dealing with teacher shortages and whether, at a stroke, a 'package' could do it and have many knock-on benefits for other teachers, pupils and school alike.

    I've covered classes where the kids purely logged into a PC and got on with their 'project' or something. They were absorbed - and I didn't need to know anything about the subject.

    Now just imagine that instead of me being in class with 20 12-year olds, I am in a class of 40 where everyone is wearing headphones, partitions divide everyone and the interactive course (updated) is well designed, absorbing and produces shed-loads of data and reports.

    I don't know if such hyper-attractive courses even exist and if so, which subjects they cover best but if they don't yet, they will soon. I have seen advertisements in TES looking for writers/course designers/teachers via skype and see the mass market. If I was a Head Teacher and a teacher had suddenly walked out, rather than reach for the phone for a supply teacher agency I would google for online courses. Then (assuming the school were not already using them) I would call in the relevant subject teachers and suggest that instead of replacing X, perhaps we could re-organise classes as I have suggested in these posts AND redecorate the classrooms (for example) buy more ebooks, have smaller classes and then I'd ask for their thoughts.
  13. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    OK...but a kid with headphones on, in a cubicle, where others are concentrating on videos etc, and who knows his attentiveness is being measured by the course and this then goes to parents/teachers etc will be far less likely to be disruptive than if he is next to mates in a class run by a weary stressed teacher.....
  14. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    How would it work for practical subjects, eg science, where an element of practical work is obligatory in the course and forms part of the assessment?
    Moony likes this.
  15. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Well, to generalise, textbooks now make greater use of colour, photographs and links to a) online answers to questions b) websites c) videos expanding on the points made

    In terms of troubleshooting, as their experience of using 'Course X' grew (and that of the school's too) then problems would be solved more easily.

    I suspect that technicians are paid a lot less than a teacher...
  16. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Remember I am suggesting the shortage of teachers can be solved through technology AND reallocation of classes.

    So let's say that for the current week two of the five lessons, in the class of 30, are practicals. Now pupils would use technology for three lessons - the theory, perhaps simulated experiments etc - and then, in smaller classes, have practicals. PLUS the teacher savings could be used for more equipment...?

    There are 407 science teacher vacancies - I doubt if they will all be filled by January. Or June.

    Supply teacher after supply teacher.

    Inconsistency, uncertainty, costs.....
  17. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    TES keeps deleting my posts when I press to send

    So, do you imagine that the new role of a science teacher will be a roving one? Will one teacher have to cover several schools? Do you think this will be appealing to teachers or do you think it might put some off and thus further exacerbate the teacher shortage?

    How would it work when practical exams come around and a teachers is needed in all schools at the same time?
  18. Nonentity

    Nonentity New commenter

    Not at all.

    I am NOT suggesting that a single teacher is replaced by technology as in the ONLY science teacher. I am simply suggesting that if there are three science teachers, for example, and one leaves than rather than have a string of supply teachers and cover that instead bring in online courses and some of the lessons are now the online ones and some are allocated to the two remaining teachers. PLUS the classes could be smaller, more resources freed up, better behaviour, better results and finance available for other groups too and facilities etc
  19. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    I think this is a good example of the system working perfectly. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Some teachers do supply because in that way they can avoid the bulk (or maybe all) of the pointless nonsense. One of my friends does precisely this. He's been offered permanent contracts at various schools he's worked at, but he's not interested.

    Yes he'll lose out on a pension, holiday pay, etc, but on the plus side he maintains his sanity.

    The agencies he uses are happy. It's win-win for everyone. Yes the quality of the pupils' educations might suffer, with a lack of continuity, but that's just a minor detail.
  20. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    If you read these forums regularly you will see that it has become common practice to drive out experienced teachers and replace them with cheaper NQTs.

    How would you ensure that HTs wouldn't use this technology as an even cheaper option, and use it in preference to expensive teachers rather than as a backup? Would there be a minimum number of classes to be taught by a real teacher or would it be a race to the bottom?
    EmanuelShadrack likes this.

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