How to ensure targeted teaching is a school-wide priority
In recent years, many schools across Australia have made serious changes to lift student achievement and make their learning facilities attractive to prospective parents. Whether this has come in the form of introducing technology into the classroom, hiring better-skilled teachers or improving the infrastructure, the ultimate goal should always be to provide world-leading education to its students.
Targeted teaching is growing more popular among educators. According to the Grattan Institute, this is described as a range of strategies that support student learning outcomes. This could include formative assessment data, critical analysis of teaching programs or even teacher-student feedback.
By focusing on what each individual student requires from both the curriculum and the teacher, the amount of learning per student can increase by months. In examples where students are behind the rest of the class, developing a targeted teaching program can ensure they catch up with their peers.
Barriers to adopting targeted teaching
While Australian teachers are good at analysing NAPLAN test scores, this information doesn't extend as far as it should for the best benefits. In fact, the Grattan Institute cited that "many schools and teachers don't have the high quality evidence they need to effectively target teaching and track progress."
As such, there are three recommendations for schools that are looking to focus on targeted teaching and ensure their students get a high level of attention. This includes:
1) Quality teaching
Effective teachers are more motivated to focus on the individual, rather than the group.
Regardless of how good the student data is, the ability to provide excellent solutions for students and parents often comes down to the quality of the teacher. The Grattan Institute noted that effective teachers are more motivated to focus on the individual, rather than the group.
Ben Jenson, a former member of the federal government's Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, published an article last year in The Australian on how to improve teachers for the school system. He noted that one of the biggest issues was around getting teachers to regularly evaluate and develop their skills around student learning.
Mr Jenson suggested that teaching degrees and qualifications fail to provide educators with knowledge around collecting and analysing student data. As such, this impacts their ability to improving teaching approaches and create targeted student solutions.
Moving forward, it will prove key that principals and senior management personnel led professional development sessions where teachers can learn the value of student data and how to get outcomes for students.
2) Dedicated time
Of course, once teachers have access to quality student data through Annualised NAPLAN Analysis (ANA), for example, they need the time to develop student plans and focus on what areas students are struggling in. At present though, some teachers don't have the time to do this, as they are booked with various staff meetings and other obligations.
In the State of our Schools Survey for 2015 published by the Australian Education Union, close to half (42 per cent) of teachers stated they worked longer than 50 hours a week. A total of 23 per cent noted a workload of more than 55 hours per week.
From an administrative perspective, it is important to analyse teaching workloads and assess whether their staff have enough time to focus on student performance. While extra curriculum activities are worthwhile, they can't be at the detriment of focussing on targeting teaching outcomes.
3) Valuable tools
The Grattan Institute also stated the importance of teachers having access to quality tools. By using industry-leading data collection technology and analysis, teachers have the ability to save time and develop key student learning outcomes.
This is where the team at Best Performance can be of assistance. Over many years, we have helped enhance targeted teaching through our innovative and smart technology.
For more information on what we offer, contact our friendly team today.