How to to manage a teacher’s workload
Focusing on what teaching techniques are proven to make the most difference to students, and making the best use of teacher time, are the most effective actions to reduce workload. These also go hand-in-hand with encouraging better teaching. So what are some ways this can be achieved?
1. Focus on oral feedback
Reduce the amount of time spent giving written feedback, this can free up time for to focus on other tasks. The goal should be quality rather than quantity, and an overall reduction in how much work is expected to be assessed in detail. Students' work can be analysed for common errors, and then instead of written feedback, the next lesson can be focused on helping students with these misunderstandings.
2. Collaborative planning and shared resources
Sharing the planning process with other teachers and assistants will reduce workload. Inset days can be utilised for collaborative planning, ‘two brains are better than one’, prepare lessons jointly, sharing resources between teaching staff and stored in a central place, means that everyone can spend less time on this and reduce their workload.
3. Making use of existing resources
The task of preparing resources for lessons is often greater for students or newly qualified teachers, who do not yet have a bank of resources already built up. There are many textbooks, websites, libraries and other sources which have plenty of resources for use in teaching. Reduce the amount of time ‘reinventing the wheel’ use existing resources instead.
4. Over the shoulder marking
Formative (or 'real-time') marking, where you provide continuous feedback, aims to monitor student learning in an ongoing fashion. Often, written comments don't help students to completely grasp the idea or mistake you are commenting on and need further explanation. Additionally, a single comment is often very easily actioned without thinking (such as a spelling correction), which may not be as effective in helping a student learn. This method can help reduce time spent doing written marking, and help students correct mistakes whilst the work is still fresh in their mind.
The Department for Education has released advice to schools to create great working environments for teachers.
The move towards flexible working is vital for many teaching staff, particularly for parents, carers and those with commitments outside the classroom. By offering flexibility in the way teachers can work - whether that be part-time, flexitime, job-sharing, or reduced hours - this is important when supporting teachers to perform to the best of their ability.
Ofsted's have also moved towards a student enrichment curriculum, rather than one that is measured only on outcomes, will be a positive adjustment for teachers.
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Kath Norris, Principal lecturer in The Institute of Education responded to the changes from Ofsted and DfE ‘I was pleased to read the recently published guidance by the DfE on addressing teacher workload in initial teacher training. I agree with the key principle of establishing good habits in our trainees that are not overly burdensome. I believe that the culture shift happening in schools, moving away from excessive planning, to making the best use of teacher time to actually teach.’