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How do we solve a problem like workload?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023



With an explosion in the number of students within FE English and maths in 2023/24, it’s clear that workload - and workload management - have been and will continue to be key across the remainder of the academic year. In teaching specifically, administration and additional duties (which don’t always impact teaching) only increase with additional student numbers.


So, what can we do to lessen workload and get back to what matters?


Let’s look at some workload management quick wins:


Get students doing more

A simple, but effective, strategy to reduce workload, delegating workload to students saves significant time throughout the teaching week. If many hands make light work, it’s important to remember that teachers often have over 100 pairs of hands at their disposal, which can be used for peer or self-assessment to cut hours of marking time. This takes some initial training for students (for an example, look at the excellent resources available on the BASE Project website!). Similarly, embedding of discussions and debates into planning can also significantly cut down on marking throughout the year: our students don’t always need to write everything down.


AI Resource Creation

With the rise of artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT, we now have opportunities to have bespoke resources created quickly, and to an excellent standard, with just a few simple commands. From lesson plans to individualised resources to unique texts, AI offers quick fixes to long-standing problems, for free and efficiently. What’s not to love? The key here is in using the correct prompts: for more information on how to do this, and useful links to quickly up-skill your AI knowledge, see our blog on best practice, here.


Collaboration

If the many hands of students make light work for teachers, how much work is saved when we collaborate with peers and colleagues? Whether sharing resources, best practice, or even discussing challenges in the classroom (from individualisation and assessment to challenging behaviour and complex topics), it’s good to talk. This doesn’t need to be during meeting time or professional development opportunities – a cup of coffee or a quick chat in a doorway can solve a raft of challenges. With a range of resources available through The Development Wheel platform, why not collaborate with the BASE Project to embed the new and exciting resources, available here?


Communication and consistency

Though much good has come from moving to an ever more digital world through mediums such as Zoom, Teams and Google Classroom, teachers can at times find themselves drowning in communication. Emails, Teams messages, meetings (online and in-person): there is more information than ever before. To cut workload, we must make sure that we communicate as simply, and effectively, as possible. Do we need a meeting? Can we send weekly bulletins with key information and make meetings more about dialogue and decision making? Do we need to send that email? Can it be communicated more promptly?


Clearly the above are unlikely to solve all workload challenges, but they will support a culture of collaboration and promote development of a rich toolkit to battle additional work. Whichever method you choose to cut your workload, we know that it’s important to prioritise what will make a difference to students. If anything is being done which doesn’t benefit students, it sits squarely in the firing line for cutting workload.



For more resources, strategies and approaches which will not only cut workload, but also have significant impact on student progress, check out the amazing free resources available here as part of The Development Wheel.

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