top of page

Teaching Computing - 4 Ways to Build Teacher Confidence.

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Educating children about Computing is not easy. We all know just how hard it can be when we ourselves as educators are struggling to work out what the definitions mean. How can we really show the knowledge and skills to the children, when we are so unsure ourselves?

That lack of confidence is increased when the overwhelming reality hits… “I’ve got to teach that?”


So just how can teachers build their confidence in a niche subject? How can we become better educators? What could you do to hold back the fear of having to teach Computing?


There are 4 simple and easy tips, to encourage you along the way. And guess what… you don’t have to do it all on your own, either. Here’s how.



4 Simple Ways to Build Your Confidence


1) Software that is easy for staff and pupils to work out.

This may sound easy but having the best apps and software products for your school is incredibly important. They need to be cost effective and still meet the needs of the curriculum in an engaging way. Some great starter apps have been highlighted on our blog.


Of course, they should be engaging and accessible for the children, but where confidence in staff is low, they need to be user-friendly for teachers. Such a simple thing can really boost conviction in delivery.


Think about it… The easier something is to follow, the better it’s understood. The better it is understood the deeper the understanding, so the better the teaching can be applied. If the educator is clear on the task and learning for that session, they will deliver it with assurance.


Suddenly, you have a new-found confidence in teaching Computing!


2) Take time to explore your software.

Ok, let’s get over the first hurdle here…’time.’ Who really has time in teaching?


However, if there is a distinct lack of confidence in the delivery of a curriculum area, it is essential staff have time to understand their chosen software. Schools must invest pockets of time for staff to familiarise themselves with the tools they need to use to give the children the best curriculum offer.


If this isn’t possible in your setting (and let’s be honest, a school is a busy place) try to mark out some time yourself. Sacrifice sending those emails or replying to messages. Forget the phone call that can wait till tomorrow, dare we say it, leave that piece of paperwork. None of this is as important as you knowing the subject you are about to teach.


If we need to change a working wall, order those resources, make, or even buy resources for the children, then most of us will. Why? Because it benefits the children and their experience in your care.

So why would you not take the time to help yourself?


Better still, take this time as a team, in a collaborative, caring and supportive environment. Sure, some will be more in-the-know than others. But exploring apps, interfaces, and resources together, sharing ideas and misconceptions, can be a game changer.


You may realise the struggles of others, just like your own. You may find who to go to, to ask a quick question. You may also, discover the answers to misconceptions which you can later address with the children. Suddenly, you have gained knowledge, suddenly, you appear more confident!


Building this ethos of collaborative learning and team ethic can be vital to growing confidence in such a niche subject.


3) Peer Observation.

This isn’t the classic lesson observation. If this idea sends you into a panic, let me explain.


Often, staff have not been given the opportunity to observe lessons in the cohorts before and after them. This allows teachers to consider what children are capable of in the years around them, giving better context of the flow in the curriculum through the school.


By observing the year group children will move to, you can better support the pupils for transition to the next stage. You can be confident that what you teach has value.


The feedback and ideas shared are great CPD too. That little tip, or slight change in delivery could be just the ticket to make you feel assured in your delivery of Computing. Where there are small clusters of teachers, 3 or 4, this can be particularly effective.


As a niche subject, it’s all too easy to think sessions can be throw away and lose sight of the big picture. Seeing this progress, even across just a few of the year groups, will help you see how it all fits together. What you are teaching really does have value – be confident - you are contributing to the bigger picture!


The importance of progress is shown in Computing Reddy’s Scheme of Work which has been created with support of Senior Leaders in schools and Secondary School Lead Practitioners.


4) Bringing in subject specialists.

This is clearly budget dependent.

Specialists can provide you with the support you need to feel more capable teaching Computing.


How often are teachers sent out on a CPD course, return to school, and find that none of the software is suitable for making a change? Or the equipment just doesn’t match up.


The confidence of the teachers around them is low, so how could they impart this new knowledge, when the old stuff seems incomprehensible to the masses?

Often you revert to what you know… and nothing changes.


Subject Specialists can support subject leads and teachers in school, in their context. They can help you understand the resources you have and ensure they are used to their potential. Subject Specialists can also help de-mystify the curriculum and bring clarity to the concepts being taught.


Other methods to consider would be Cluster Teaching, involving planning, teaching, and sharing ideas in a supportive group.


Steps to doing this are:

· A small group of teachers would choose a session in a unit of their school scheme or a generic curriculum objective.

· Planning would be loosely agreed between them, and each would be observed by the others delivering the session.

· Feedback would be discussed, and practise developed through this collaborative approach.

· The sessions could be retaught and then reflected on.


Other ideas may include Pupil Voice Feedback – often your students feel more positive about your sessions than you do. Hearing how they feel about your Computing Sessions may well give you a boost!



Consideration for Curriculum Development

Ofsted’s change of Framework in 2019 subtly added enrichment as part of the inspection. Listing it as ‘Personal Development’ it is looking for schools who are developing interests and talents of children.


Specialist involvement from both industry experts and specialist teachers can raise aspirations but where does this go?


Schools should ideally be considering how subjects are extended to develop children’s interests and talents. Whether this is regular clubs after school or connections with secondary schools and joint projects, even local businesses, developing the subject across a school will solidify the school’s confidence, and Ofsted’s, in the provision.


Gaining confidence in teaching Computing and other niche subjects is hard. These few tips hopefully will make it easier.


Simple suggestions to get you on the right track.


Let us know if you implemented any of these and the impact it had, or if you want to discuss the ideas in this blog more, contact us at info@computingreddy.co.uk


9 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page