Things I Wish Were Different About Teaching: Number 8 Collaborating nationally on lesson plans and resources

When I first started teaching I was told by the recruitment team at my ITT institution that teaching was a collaborative profession, where resources and ideas are shared freely and we all bounce off each other.  I remember reading introductory leaflets that featured a teacher saying, “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” and talking about important this type of collaboration is.

I was reintroduced to this concept via a TES Connect forum post by LilyPop, who said:

With respect to teaching I have always been amazed at the sheer stupidtiy of each and every teacher having to produce their own 'lesson plans and resources' when the subject is fully described nationally. I mean this is just stupid and can only be made possible if the work is unpaid - no private company could operate like this as aside from economic consideration your pretty certain to have no quality control whatsoever!”

The vast majority of paper work I did was planning, not marking, and I struggled to figure out how planning would work for some of the specifications I taught. Having a nationally set scheme of work, that had been tried and tested and was proved to work would have been such a huge relief.

I understand that if there are too many ticky boxes now, then a nationally agreed scheme of work is going even more down that road. This would take out all of the creativity from the profession, and I know that I have never been handed a lesson plan and used it straight out of the box without tweaking it. Maybe some tweaking could be allowed if this were to happen. Maybe as you become more experienced, you tweak more and more.

I also understand that this is also supposed to already exist, in the form of the National Curriculum example schemes of work, and in specifications for qualifications. But it’s not detailed enough, it doesn’t include lesson plans or resources, and the specifications don’t include schemes of work.

But, my own experience was that teachers were paranoid about me as a student teacher ‘stealing’ their ideas, and in one college I worked in I was required to sign a form that stated I would not share my planning or resources with anyone outside of the college. That has to stop. Collaboration needs to be encouraged more.


Anonymous said...

My first (and only so far) teaching job was in a small school where there was no shared planning file or any prior planning whatsoever. I was expected to plan everything (Primary) on my own, with no support - no wonder I struggled!

The Edudicator said...

Glad you agree! I wrote the equivalent of my undergraduate dissertation every half term in planning in my last teaching job.

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