We need to find ways where we are able to alleviate a significant load of through some well thought out strategies. Make use of technology. Have students use their laptops in class to collaborate with one another through chat rooms, offered by software such as DyKnow. You are able to see work flows from each student’s screen, observe the threads of communication bouncing around, and stop the class if required to display a scaffold or even show a class an exemplary piece of work (naturally, with student consent). The transformation is remarkable. Students are far more engaged in the process of learning – some exploring and expressing themselves in a manner never seen before. Discussions still take place, lessons are planned, but diffusion of knowledge has changed.
Set up virtual classroom as it will allow students to acquire prerequisite knowledge for the next lesson. You can check if the reading has been completed (students are provided with a class drop box acknowledging the set expectations have been completed). Parents are invited to be partners in their child’s learning and are sent a pro-forma email if the requirements of the flipped classroom have not been met.
Connected in-servicing is another means to lift an individual teacher’s load. Many schools have an embedded culture whereby only the designated few are regarded as all knowing visionaries. More often than not, its death by PowerPoint. Each school has a vast pool of talented and inspiring teachers. Yet, it often appears these teachers are not afforded the opportunity to share their knowledge. For a moment, envision schools where teacher exuberance brims to the point where the bountiful flow of ideas also leads towards making a teacher’s day so much easier. Collective knowledge is a powerful tool.
Schools should make a concerted attempt to ‘buddy up’ with other schools; forming knowledge repositories which will ignite a new form of professional learning. The technology is available, but what seems lacking is a resolve by school leaders to give permission for this model. Many schools, unfortunately, are competitive entities who zealously guard intellectual property and inhibit this avenue where teacher workloads have the possibility of being significantly diluted.
Teachers are a precious resource and require assistance in both a world of information overload and their time intensive work environment. Overall, technology and knowledge networks needs to be better utilised to accommodate for a rapidly changing pedagogic landscape. If not, then perhaps the legacy may be a generation of teachers who have succumbed to their own form of post-traumatic stress syndrome.