Monday, 11 July 2016

CS teacher issues

A colleague found this on Facebook and I think it conveys how some feel about the new curriculum, so it's nice to know others feel the same in the country too...

From my recent visits to support teachers with GCSE Computer Science, I believe I can summarise the biggest challenges teachers face in 13 points. If you think I've let any out please add to the list. I've been scratching my head looking at new ways to support (other then the MOOC I proposed) and am always willing to consider new ways. I've already tried podcasts, blog posts, webinars and face-to-face CPD - but willing to consider other alternatives. Anyway, here's the 13....

1. New Qualifications - Although GCSE Computing has been available since 2010; 2016 brings introduction of new qualification with new assessment model/weighting, with new rules. Lack of familiarity leads to lower teacher confidence and ability to spot problems ahead.
2. Teacher Confidence - Lack of teacher experience with CS. Teachers new to the subject and/or qualification. Those who do have a CS degree may not have used it for 5-6 years.
3. Homework - Setting appropriate homework, and measuring & tracking efficacy of homework.
4. Content Overload - Too much content to fit in to the contact time available, ‘specification overload’.
5. Software Issues - Compatibility/availability, locked down network in school, managed service,
6. Hardware Issues - Resourcing with the most appropriate hardware, 1:1 tablets, Chromebooks. Over-zealous technicians.
7. Programming - How to best teach programming, algorithm design and problem-solving.
8. Assessment - how to track, measure and assess learning progress against the Assessment Objectives.
9. Resources - Embarrassment of riches - due to abundance of free, paid for, subscription resources. “Off-the-shelf lesson plans” that don’t deliver. Choosing and using the best resources.
10. Differentiation - Class groups with broad range of ability, pupils have a variety of prior experiences and Computer Science backgrounds.
11. Pupil Expectations - Pupils not sure what to expect, leading to misguided choices based on the understanding that the course is all theory, all programming, building computers or games.
12. Lack of Diversity - Under-representation of gender, ethnic, cultural and social in CS groups, eg. in some cases leading to groups dominated by low-achieving boys which may lead to classroom management issues.
13. Experience (Pupils) - Pupils’ lack of previous experience of CS, due to not having a firm foundation in KS3/KS2 a feature of other NC subjects, eg. Maths, English, Science, Geography.

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