As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt on the education system, schools must navigate the imperative to catch up with national curriculums while providing future-proof classrooms and learning environments.
And teachers are keen to gear up their skills to confront new realities.
These are among the results of an HP education survey in Africa, which sheds light on teachers’ skillsets and how learning experiences for students can be improved in South Africa and Nigeria.
“Teachers perform a pivotal function in our society, not only in shaping the minds of future leaders and preparing students to take on the jobs of the future, but also inspiring and enabling better learning outcomes,” says Brad Pulford, MD of HP Africa.
Understanding the realities of 21st-century teaching, 10 skills were identified in the study as crucial to future proofing learning. The majority (7 in 10) of teachers surveyed agreed that creative, innovative, critical, and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as digital literacy, are very important.
Crucially, one in three teachers say they could benefit from additional training to improve their skills in the above-mentioned areas, and that the development would have an enormous impact on the pedagogy.
Access to adequate resources and technology is key
Educators face numerous challenges which can negatively affect teaching outcomes, such as a lack of basic materials. 82% of teachers surveyed noted access to instructional materials and supplies as a problem, and a further 89% said access to adequate technological resources is an issue – a crucial aspect of teaching that has been overlooked for over a decade but has been brought to the fore by the pandemic.
Still, an overwhelming majority, 95%, believes that technology can have a positive benefit in the teaching environment and can raise learners’ engagement in lessons.
The Covid-19 pandemic thrust the importance of technology in classrooms into the spotlight, bringing new opportunities and pressures to teachers around the world. The shift has not been without difficulties, with 45% teachers ranking ICT skills as a challenging facet of the role – outpacing other elements like active teaching, homework marking and lesson planning. At the same time, 85% of survey respondents confirmed new skills in this area would have the greatest influence in their ability to teach.
Beyond technology, at least 50% of teachers report having too many learners in their classrooms which impedes quality learning, and 71% say they require more time to assist individual learners. Luckily, despite these challenges at least 95% of teachers are optimistic about their jobs and roles in shaping the future leaders of tomorrow.