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VIEWS From the pen of… SHANNEN DOHERTY


No teacher need fear primary maths


In our regular series highlighting authors in education, we hear this month from SHANNEN DOHERTY, teacher and author of “100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Maths”, who explains why she decided to write the book.


There is no greater need than high-quality professional development for teachers. After two periods of lockdown, this is a challenging but exciting time to be an educator. I honestly believe that the most important aspect of education right now, the thing we must get right, is professional development. If we don’t back our teachers and push them to be better and do better, then our pupils will suffer. Teachers need investing in, and teachers need time to ingest all the incredible professional development that is out there. We are a profession full of enthusiastic and dedicated people, but we are time poor. This job is demanding whether you are in EYFS or Further Education. Teachers are thirsty for the highest quality professional development. We attend conferences, go to webinars and read blogs. We tweet, we network and we crave knowledge. But is it enough? Is a thirst for CPD enough to make a change?


At a time like this, when the world has been tipped on its head and


the light at the end of the tunnel is just starting to glimmer in the distance, professional development must be accessible. Bitesize, concise and practical tips are needed. We are sleep deprived and time poor. There is simply not enough space in the day to educate others and educate ourselves. There is a plethora of academic and intellectual material out there calling to be soaked up by teachers, and much of it is pure gold, but few early career teachers will have the time to delve into the lengthy books and wordy research. For that reason, I made my book 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Maths as reader-friendly as possible. I am proud to have authored a book that educators can pick up and use without spending hours on it.


I saw the need for an approachable book on primary mathematics, a


book that nobody need fear. Behind every idea there is deeper thinking, and there is a nugget of subject knowledge absolutely necessary for delivering a rich mathematics curriculum. The ideas range from how to use a certain concrete resource to the structures of arithmetic. It is instantly useable but pushes the reader to think more deeply. It will not and should not replace the hefty edubooks with years of research behind them. It is a gateway for professional development. It’s a friendly face to explore with before taking on the seemingly intimidating material.


High-quality mathematics is vital for our children. Getting it right early


on is paramount. Teachers must be equipped with knowledge; knowledge of the five principles of counting, subitising, the importance of number sense and so much more. We cannot get it right if we don’t have adequate CPD. Teachers, especially new teachers, are rarely given the subject knowledge or pedagogical content knowledge that is necessary to do this job properly. We have teachers going in blind, with no knowledge of what high-quality mathematics teaching looks like. My book is a tiny piece of the work to move towards fixing that hole.


June 2021 BRITISH EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION (BESA) Looking forward to LearnED


In our regular column from school suppliers’ association BESA this month, we’re delighted to hear from NINA ILES, Head of EdTech, who outlines the organisation’s plans for its LearnED roadshow this year.


Like many of those confined to working at home during the long weeks of multiple lockdowns, I spent many an hour during the past fourteen months either yearning for liberties of old or looking forward and daring to plan. I struggled to find my way at first – mine was a role that required me to be peripatetic, so in my confinement, I looked outwards for guidance: I watched school leaders and teachers collectively rise to the challenge and then, when I forced myself to master the moment, when I truly learned to focus on now and what was happening collectively across the education sector only at that very moment, I found a new way of working. For me that meant, first and foremost, listening to our educators as they


navigated teaching during lockdown: specifically, what did headteachers, schoolteachers, SENCOs need from industry. All that I read, saw, and heard helped to inform the work I did across my teacher network and the community of EdTech specialists and suppliers within BESA’s membership. I have never been a teacher, yet over the years I have grown to deeply respect and value those who are. This respect derives from my work across the education sector. I have spent the last fourteen years of my working life on the periphery of the teaching profession, nine years with TES and the past four with BESA, all the while listening to teachers. In my capacity as Head of EdTech at BESA, I aspire to translate all I learn


from teachers to inform the work I do. For me, that work includes curating the content of BESA’s teacher-led, teacher-facing CPD LearnED events. These events are regional, in-person one-day conferences that provide teachers using EdTech with a platform from which to share their experiences, warts, and all. I am forever indebted to all of the teachers who have shared their stories to date, authentically revealing how, why and when they have chosen to teach with technology: what problems that technology is solving for them; how they researched the equipment and solutions they needed; what work – and infrastructure- was required to implement said solutions and most importantly, how they evidence the impact on outcomes they’re seeing as a result of that implementation, be it within their teaching and learning environments – in-person and remote – or school-wide, driving efficiencies across administrative and communication requirements. I measure the success of each LearnED event by the number of teachers


in the audience I see leaning in to listen to the speakers. The beauty of LearnED, for me, is that each event is so very different. No one school is the same and I am continually inspired by the teachers who so generously give up their time to share with their peers new ways of doing things to save time, enhance the teaching and learning experience and/or simply make their lives a little bit easier. Technology is and will always be only as good as the teacher using it. At the time of writing, lockdown restrictions are being eased.


Subsequently, I am allowing myself to looking forward again, excited for the September return of LearnED, starting in Liverpool. I cannot wait for the moment when the breeze of a hundred seated teachers’ chatter stills to a whisper, then a hush and I am able to welcome them in person to our first LearnED of 2021.


BESA’s LearnED roadshow is a series of free, regional CPD events for teachers wanting to learn about the effective use of EdTech from their peers.


A list of all future LearnEd dates, by region, can be viewed at: https://www.besa.org.uk/events/learned-roadshow-2/


For more information on opportunities to speak at LearnED, please contact Nina Iles: nina@besa.org.uk


www.education-today.co.uk 13


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