Is it possible to be a great teacher without good resources? Teaching requires many skills – the ability to hold attention, to inspire, to patiently explain, to discipline if necessary, to be compassionate and understanding, the list could go on for a while – yet these skills have to be combined with knowledge, and knowledge which can be easily transmitted to students: this is where teaching resources come in. We thought it would be interesting to ask teachers about resources: how long they spend finding them, where they find them, and what difficulties they present.
Unsurprisingly a great deal of time is spent finding resources: 80% of teachers who responded to the question ‘how much time do you spend looking for resources each week?’ said up to four hours. This is, of course, four hours on top of an already busy work week. Some respondents even suggested they spend over eight hours a week looking for resources. Is it any wonder that teachers feel time-poor?
Again quite unsurprisingly, the internet is now the most popular place for teachers to find resources, with 85% of respondents saying they consider it the best place to do so. By contrast, the next most popular source of resources were books – at only 8%. Newspapers and textbooks are, apparently, not useful for resources at all. As to what sources teachers trust, the Times Educational Supplement was a very common response – presumably the website, rather than the physical paper – as was colleagues and other teachers.
So what difficulties do these resources pose once they have been found? For nearly half of our respondents turning resources into activities is the primary issue: how do you go from an article found on the TES website, for example, to an engaging activity? This is closely connected to the issue of time spent on resources, which 32% of respondents said was their primary issue: it might take an hour to find good, relevant resources, and then another hour making sure they’re right for the classroom.
Key to making sure things are ‘right for the classroom’ is ensuring the engagement of students using these resources, for 60% of teachers the solution to this is relevancy. There’s no point trying to teach a Year 9 history class about the Second World War with R.J. Overy’s academic studies on the subject, but if you can incorporate his ideas into your lesson plans in a manner that is relevant to the level of understanding your students have it will undoubtedly be beneficial. 15% of teachers believe that using games drives engagement, and a further 15% suggest this is best served with the use of videos – you can only imagine that YouTube is being used in classrooms up and down the country.
How are teachers using SAM as resource to save time and simplify the process? Find out today.