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Our Future Teaching Scholars come together for virtual conference

Education Development Trust’s Future Teaching Scholars came together this month for the first fully virtual Future Teaching Scholars conference. The annual conference brings our future teachers together to share their experiences, learn more about school life and their role as a teacher, and help them to develop essential classroom skills through a range of workshops led by expert practitioners.

From 10-12 September 2020, over 200 of our Future Teaching Scholars met online for a virtual edition of our annual conference. The event is usually hosted in Nottingham, and brings several cohorts of Scholars together under one roof for two days of interactive sessions, but Covid-19-related restrictions meant that this year’s event required a different approach to ensure that Scholars did not miss out on this important part of the programme.

The Future Teaching Scholars programme, developed and delivered by Education Development Trust and funded by the Department for Education, develops aspiring maths and physics teachers through training and classroom experiences as they study for undergraduate degrees in maths and physics at some of England’s top universities. In the annual conference, Scholars are introduced to a range of topics which are crucial for new teachers, helping them to prepare for their Initial Teacher Training in the fourth year of the six-year programme. Typical sessions include how teachers can make effective use of technology, approaches to classroom culture and behaviour management, and practical strategies for scaffolding learning.

Ensuring that Scholars had a positive and beneficial online experience of the conference was not without  challenges, but it was important for us to ensure that we were able to offer the same opportunities for interaction and discussion that participants would have had at an in-person event. As an organisation, we are very aware of the benefits of face-to-face learning, so we felt the need to retain and replicate those benefits in an online conference. Therefore, the format of the workshops was designed to leverage technology for interactivity at the planning stage, to allow Scholars to engage with the content, work together in groups to explore topics, and discover more about each other’s experiences.

The conference proved very successful: all of the Scholars reported that they were satisfied with the event, and 58% reported that they were very satisfied.

 

Scholars that attended the conference told us:

“I really enjoyed the breakout zones, and the transition was smooth from breakout zones to conference.”
“Although it is not as authentic as the in-person conference, I found the online virtual conference surprisingly enjoyable and felt I have learnt a lot after attending!”
“I found the first session on challenging schools very interesting; I had never considered working in a challenging school before but am now thinking that could be something I'd like to do in the future.”

 

To find out more about the Future Teaching Scholars programme, visit the Future Teaching Scholars website, or contact info@futureteachingscholars.com.