Not enough time for innovation, say teachers

Bett statistics show two thirds of teachers spend most of their time on policy changes

By Charley Rogers

New stats released at Bett last week reveal 65% of teachers spend the majority of their time on policy changes, leaving little time for innovation.

The research, commissioned by Bett and carried out by independent research agency Shift Learning, found that aspects of classroom innovation have declined, due to the amount of time taken up by curriculum and assessment changes.

Teaching focusing on project work and problem-solving skills has declined over the last year. Project-based teaching has fallen from 37% in 2017, to 25% in 2019, and problem-based learning is down from 31% to 21%.

There is however, a strong desire for tech and innovation from teachers. A live audience of teachers were asked at Bett whether the current education system is providing learners with the skills they need for the future economy. 90% said no.

Aspects of classroom innovation have declined, due to the amount of time taken up by curriculum and assessment changes.

90% of teachers interviewed in 2018 said that tech has improved the quality of education in their sector, up from 87% in 2017. 88% also agreed that edtech saves time, and 90% that edtech has a positive impact on educational outcomes, up from 83% and 85% respectively.

Fergal Kilroy, Head of Content at Bett, said: “Teachers want to do the very best for their pupils and prioritise teaching, but that means the other aspects of their job have to be looked at in the evenings and weekends. With increased class sizes there’s more marking, more parent contact and more assessment. Many of these changes, driven by policy, include new curriculums and increased accountability. For true innovation to take place, ways of doing things need to be evaluated and those practices that are no longer appropriate have to be retired.”

Helene Moran, Director at Shift Learning said: “It is really clear that technology is something educators are passionate about, but we must remember that they are working in a difficult environment at the moment and educational technology needs to be easy to use so it doesn’t take up more time and resource than it saves. It must always be part of the solution, never part of the problem.”