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Five ways that teaching has changed over the years

22 August 2016

“How has teaching changed over the years?” It’s a compelling question and one that we often receive here at ITN Mark Education.

The past few decades have seen many changes and advances in teaching, with technology playing a part in the way some teachers present and deliver lessons - many of us will remember a time before interactive whiteboards, email and social media.
But, communication and delivery is just one part of the equation. We have also seen some positive changes to the school curriculum, as well as increased diversity and opportunities for students with learning challenges.

So, how has teaching changed both in and outside of the classroom?

1. Communication is more open and regular

Communication between teachers, pupils and their parents is now more open and regular than ever, with the use of email, text messaging and social media. These technological advances have made it easier for parents, teachers and school governors to keep in contact. News bulletins, important dates and useful information are also now readily available to parents online via the school’s website. Gone are the days of sending a letter home, which could risk being lost in the post or a child’s school bag. Nowadays, it's more common to contact a parent via email or mobile.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the primary way of contacting someone was through a landline so communication was limited to within school hours, with schools only using your landline number for emergencies. Nowadays, email and text messaging have enabled parents to contact teachers at any given time.

2. The classic chalkboard is a thing of the past

Years ago, the traditional black chalkboard was a pinnacle part of any classroom. Nowadays, very few classrooms have a chalkboard with schools opting for interactive whiteboards. Interactive boards have changed lessons by giving teachers the ability to access the internet in front of the class. This means that teachers can show useful and engaging YouTube clips and can use online teaching resources and easily access the school’s website and intranet.

3. Individuality is celebrated

Gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities have been embraced by our schools and teachers - gone are the days when boys and girls would be taught separate subjects, such as woodwork and home economics. On top of this, vast improvements have been made to the way we as a society view those with learning difficulties. Once a child with dyslexia might have been considered to be a slow learner, but this attitude is changing with improved research into how we can support children with reading and writing difficulties and the advent of teaching standards to ensure everyone has a fair chance at their education. You can find more information about teaching children with dyslexia here. Schools are also more supportive of children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) with teachers specially trained to work with and support SEND children.

4. A broader range of subjects

Teaching as a profession has been around for centuries, and there have been many subjects that have come and gone during that time. Newer subjects such as computing and media studies have become widely recognised in schools; many pupils are even choosing to continue studying these contemporary topics in further education.

The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum was introduced in 1988 so teaching in state-controlled schools now organises teaching into ‘key stages’. This means children are formally assessed at the end of each key stage, so teachers can monitor children’s learning more closely than they did in the past. We also saw a change in 1986 with the introduction of GCSEs, which replaced O’Levels and CSEs. This means that children are assessed all year and not just at their end-of-term exams. And, 2016 sees another change to the way children are assessed with the introduction of the new national primary curriculum tests.

5. Teaching assistants are there to help

It’s no secret that teachers are expected to keep up with a very demanding workload in modern times. Thankfully, the advent of teaching assistants and support staff means that teachers have a helping hand in the classroom.

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