How are schools and teacher training providers adjusting to life in schools?
Last year I visited Penang in Malaysia to attend the teaching and learning conference organised by FOBISIA. I caught up with the team in an interview to discuss teacher training…
Visiting Malaysia for teaching purposes was a wonderful experience.
To learn from the teachers working in some of the schools in Penang, to sharing my own teaching experiences in keynotes and workshops over two or three days was one of my highlights in 2019.
The more I visit schools around the world, increasingly I am understanding why so many British teachers have left the U.K. to work overseas. A recent analysis in England suggests we already had a significant problem before COVID19…
Below is an extract of the interview.
During lockdown I have found myself leading webinars online and so far, have reached over 3,000 teachers in 40 countries. It’s keeping me busy, supporting my mental health, alongside my doctoral studies and writing two new books.
Your work has brought you to many different countries, working with various schools, how do you envisage this will change in the next year?
I have already cancelled all my international work simply because it is impossible to plan anything. Typically, overseas events are planned three to six months in advance, so I cannot see myself reaching any countries overseas until September 2021. In situations where I plan to work inside the school building across the UK, I suspect with social distancing rules in place, training days as we know it will be very different and we will all need to adapt.
I do not see why all schools should consider online events for the immediate future.
Many of your books focus on teaching strategies within classrooms, with more home learning in place now, how can these tips be applied?
I found it very difficult to work from home with a nine-year-old son. There are also different boundaries and emotions involved, so even though I am a qualified teacher, it has been incredibly difficult to teach my own child!
I thought quite hard about all the teaching strategies I recommend using with other peoples children, and I’m curious to learn how these cannot be applied as a parent, at home. It’s new territory for most of us…
What is the best advice for our teachers working from home and juggling a family?
During lockdown, I have been reading and researching about memory and the brain. The more I learn the more I realise how I could have improved my teaching strategies throughout my career. I’m now trying to adopt this in my work at home as well as in the homeschooling I support at home.
Top tip: 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off!
Create rewards, articulate and write out goals to achieve. Reward yourself as well as your child – and don’t be so hard on yourself.
What is your fondest memory of FOBISIA’s 2019 Teaching Community Conference?
Firstly, the community spirit was a real memory.
I loved the experience of meeting educators from across the region, plus the food and the hot weather. It was also lovely to see how St. Christopher’s International Primary School supported the visit and learn more about the work they do.
How have you adapted as a speaker to Covid-19?
All my work is now online, leading webinars and virtual conferences. It’s been interesting and fun.
The greatest thing I’ve learnt is that it is great fuel for my mental health and I suspect, everyone else’s. It’s essential we carry on supporting one another until normal service resumes.
[I suspect schools will continue to offer in-house training, whilst also utilising online webinars and resources for their teaching staff to keep up to date. I suspect this will continue post-January 2021…]
Do you have any advice on looking forward?
Be kind, keep calm and carry on!
If you are a British teacher considering working abroad, I’d highly recommend the FOBISIA network. For teacher training in the short-term, we are all going to have to readjust…