Self-doubt and isolation but also resilience among new teachers due to pandemic, finds report

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New teachers experienced isolation and self-doubt because of pandemic restrictions, but also demonstrated resilience that could make them even better teachers, a new report has found.

The 18-month study by King's College London revealed how those who completed or started their to become secondary school teachers during the had fewer opportunities to meet parents and take part in extracurricular activities, which limited their involvement in pastoral activities.

However, many school and university staff also noted resilience among trainees and Early Career Teachers (ECTs) with some commenting that it could help produce even better teachers. Other positive impacts of training at this time included greater use of IT to support teaching and learning, and a heightened sense of a professional community.

The report, from the School of Education, Communication & Society and Policy Institute at King's, revealed how the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted the teacher training experience during 2019-2021 in variable ways, but how the prescribed content of induction programs was too generic to adapt to the situation.

It makes recommendations to address this shortfall and calls for bespoke continued professional development for new teachers. It says schools should continue to embrace the unique skills and experiences of ECTs in the planning and delivery of the curriculum to develop and sustain , agency, a sense of self-efficacy and professional identity.

It also suggests that these new teachers be offered more pastoral opportunities, mental health training, structured support for interactions with parents and encouragement to participate fully in all aspects of school life.

Dr. Elizabeth Rushton, who has recently moved from King's College London to the Institute of Education at UCL, said, "Those who have become teachers during the pandemic period have made an important contribution to the learning and lives of young people in their school communities. However, in order for this group of teachers to flourish they need continued , especially with the pastoral elements of teaching so that they can develop their skills and expertise alongside more experienced colleagues."

Over 110 interviews were conducted with trainees, ECTs, university-based ITE staff, school-based mentors and school senior leaders. An open consultation enabled educators to share their views on the provisional project findings and recommendations via online surveys, engagements via email and social media and through attendance at an online practitioner workshop hosted by the research team.

The findings from the research inform practical recommendations for policymakers, school leaders and ITE providers across the UK. The report also highlights potential barriers to its , which still need to be addressed by policymakers, including time and resources, colliding and contradictory policies, and financial pressures on .


Explore further

Report highlights lessons to be learned from schools' COVID response

More information: Please click the link to read Understanding and mitigating the impact of Covid-19 disruption on trainee and early career teachers in secondary schools (2022).
Citation: Self-doubt and isolation but also resilience among new teachers due to pandemic, finds report (2022, July 25) retrieved 7 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-self-doubt-isolation-resilience-teachers-due.html
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