Why Teachers Choose to Work in the International Schools Sector

Why Teachers Choose to Work in the International Schools Sector

Recognised as the world’s best; a British education is becoming increasingly popular with parents around the world. This is pleasing news for the 4,300 British international schools* which operate globally and make up over 45% of the international school market. However, in analysing the report Teacher Supply in British International Schools (July 2018) by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), international teaching providers, Teachingabroaddirect.co.uk found in the next ten years, British international schools will require 230,000 more teachers to meet staffing needs. The education sector in the UK faces similar staffing challenges, with research by the Department for Education highlighting an overall shortfall of nearly 10% in recruitment targets to initial teacher training. To explore further, Teaching Abroad Direct sought to identify why teachers choose to work abroad and the reasons teachers might leave the sector, to better understand what needs to be done to attract, recruit and retain teachers so urgently needed. To achieve this, Teachingabroaddirect designed graphics to showcase data collated by COBIS which captures the experiences and perspectives of more than 1,600 school leaders and teachers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a desire for ‘Travel and Cultural Exploration’ tops the list of reasons teachers choose to work in the international schools’ sector, at 71%. This is followed by the prospect of ‘Enjoyment and Challenge’ (63%.) However, disappointingly, a ‘Dissatisfaction with Home Education System’ is the third most prolific reason, with 47% of teachers agreeing so. Potential for ‘Career Growth’ (45%) and ‘Salary’ (44%) are other, prominent factors as to why teachers work abroad. Of less interest, regarding the reasons teachers choose to work in the international schools’ sector, is ‘Cost of Living’ (24%) and ‘CPD and Training’ at 15%. Comparably, Teaching Abroad Direct found the reasons teachers might leave the international schools’ sector and return to the UK to be led by ‘Family Commitments’ (45%) and simply a desire to ‘Return Home’ (41%.) While 27% of teachers say ‘Career Prospects Elsewhere’ is the reason they would disband from teaching abroad. To ‘Improve Quality of Life’ (13%) and ‘High Living Expenses’ (9%) land in fourth and fifth place as to why teachers return to the UK from teaching abroad. Andrew Lynch, a senior consultant for Teaching Abroad Direct, comments: “The shortage of teachers around the globe is an urgent issue. At the root, we must do what we can to make teaching fulfilling. Of course, fulfilment differs from person to person but, communication is key. We need to listen to teachers, both aspiring and experienced, learn what they need and deserve from their post and environment. Whether that is abroad or at home.” *British international schools are those located outside the UK that teach a curriculum (wholly or in part) that would be recognised in the UK and that have a British ethos.  

Banish homework horrors: how to make homework meaningful and deepen learning

Practical Applications of Technology in Education 

  Plenty has been written about the horrors of homework. A negative impact on leisure time is high on the list of concerns, as is an uneven playing field, where some students benefit from more parental help or access to learning resources than others. Many students also find the marking process problematic as they are often left with little or no feedback on their work, or get a mark they don’t fully understand. But homework can no longer be seen a much maligned ‘add on’ to the school day. More complex curricula combined with new pedagogy like the flipped classroom, where rote material can be ingested at home, means that the work students do away from the classroom is crucial to their success. Homework also provides opportunities for reinforcement of work learned during school time and for children to develop their research skills. Students need to seek information for themselves and so are helped along the path to becoming independent learners, and the responsibility of meeting deadlines instills the discipline needed not just in the classroom, but all the way through life. Sam Blyth is director of schools at Canvas New technologies like Virtual Learning Environments have enabled a smooth transition between in-school and out-of-school work, and made homework more interactive, collaborative and fun. But technology alone won’t mitigate the stress and pressure that homework can bring. Online tools and access to technology must be coupled with a commitment from teachers to make homework as interesting and engaging as the work students complete in the classroom. By prioritising homework, students will feel more motivated working from home without a teacher’s supervision, and teachers will benefit from more engaged students who drive their own learning journey. As a result of countless conversations with teachers and parents, I’ve found that there are some basic things for schools to do to make homework more appealing and meaningful. These are: 1. Put kids in control of their learning Empowering students to learn independently, in a way that suits them, is motivational and inspiring. It’s crucial to give children the autonomy to influence their own path to knowledge, creating as much flexibility as possible within the constraints of curricula.  Giving control to students isn’t the same as abdicating control of the classroom – but offering choices can motivate students to succeed. Give them a page of maths problems, but let them choose any ten to complete. If they usually do written book reports, allow students to write a traditional report, film a book review, or create a comic-book-style summary of the major events or themes. It can’t be done for every assignment, but why not try it occasionally? 2. Promote the use of digital tools and resources Banish the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse forever by moving assignment delivery online. For students, Virtual Learning Environments facilitate access to engaging and compelling content. Using cloud-based solutions also means that students can access work from multiple devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops. For teachers the ability to track progress, or measure peer performance, in a centralised manner, allows them to spot trends or issues quickly and adapt teaching to fit students’ needs. Tracking progress is just as important for students as it is for teachers, seeing how they’re building knowledge shows children that the work they’re doing is paying off. Similarly, knowing what’s coming up builds interest and anticipation.  Using self marking quizzes is another simple way to bring a fun ‘gamification’ element to the tuition. Going beyond the traditional curricula, and giving students the possibility to engage with each other in ways that are not associated with homework, often has a positive impact on students’ learning motivation. 3. Enable fast feedback and encourage sharing and teamwork By acknowledging and feeding back as quickly as possible, you’re telling the students you’ve seen their effort, which means their stress wasn’t all for nothing. Online forums enable two-way conversations with students and are a great way to give concrete feedback in an easy and accessible way. With Canvas, you can also give feedback via audio or video, which is a great way to personalise communication with students. Peer feedback is equally important. Teachers must enable a collaborative approach to learning by encouraging the sharing of work, feedback and ideas. When children feel that that what they are learning and producing will be shared and likely appreciated by others, they work hard to impress.  Lastly, and too often ignored, is the process of self-evaluation. Encouraging children to ask ‘what did I learn here?’ and ‘how has this improved my knowledge?’ is key to ensuring they feel that the activities they have undertaken are worthwhile and part of a wider learning process. So three simple steps, but important ones. Following these methods will help to tackle the negative view of studying at home – promoting homework as both instructional and engaging; a crucial part of a student’s learning, leading to better outcomes for students and schools. https://www.canvasvle.co.uk/ Written by Sam Blyth the director of schools at Canvas.

Schools offered free service to help manage Ofsted inspections and improve results

Ofsted inspection help is at hand

Schools across England are being offered a high-tech solution to prepare for Ofsted inspections and improve results free of charge. Bluewave Education is offering its award-winning Common Inspection Frame work module for free to schools, as leaders face increasing budgetary challenges in the coming year. Managing director of Bluewave Education, Keith Wright, said: “Accurate assessment of a schools strengths and areas for development is an essential requirement for school improvement and school inspection.  “For more than a decade Bluewave Education has provided school leaders with the structure, guidance and mechanisms to enable rigorous self-evaluation and facilitate the school improvement process. “With schools facing another year of financial uncertainty, our contribution to the sector is to remove some of the cost burden and to help them move on from the use of outdated systems based around paper and basic Word documents.  “Our experience is that where schools make this transition, they rarely go back.”  Bluewave SWIFT was developed by a group of education leaders who wanted to find a practical, modern day solution to managing school improvement and dealing more effectively with the processes involved.  SWIFT allows schools to: – Create a clear and structured whole school self-evaluation – Identify and put in place key school improvement priorities – with direct links to school improvement plans* – Automatically feed Ofsted SEF/Common Inspection Framework evidence into other reports e.g. Safeguarding, Behaviour, Pupil Premium, Governance* – Include any or all of your staff can contribute to whole-school self-evaluation – Create departmental SEF’s/Common Inspection Frameworks   Ofsted facility for academy chains In addition to offering their SEF for free to all schools, Bluewave Education is also offering a facility for academy chains, federations and Multi-Academy Trusts, whereby a Common Inspection Framework can be distributed to their family of schools and the responses can be aggregated for analysis and reporting.  Mr Wright said: “This supports so many positive approaches to school-led improvement and it leads to far greater awareness and collaboration around strategic planning.  “The only cost is a one-off set up fee determined by the number of schools in the family. “Whether we like it or not, schools have to act more like businesses every day. We help schools to think like a school and where necessary, work like a business.  “This is recognised in our BETT award for supporting institutional leadership and management but most importantly in the feedback we get from the schools we work with”. For more help in preparing for Ofsted, see bluewavemosaic.com