lessons from around the world.

72% of the teaching community polled on Randstad UK’s website said they’d welcome teaching methods inspired by different countries.

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always learning.

Whether you’re a science teacher in London or a maths teacher in Manchester, it’s never too late to learn something new to bolster your skills and inspire the next generation of pupils

school of thought.

Of the 27,500 teachers who qualified in 2011, 31% had left teaching within five years. Unlocking fresh techniques from other cultures can prove a valuable lifeline for NQTs.


5 teaching trends.

  • Singapore: mentoring to success

    In 2015 Singapore topped the global PISA results for science, mathematics and reading - making Singapore the potential future home of STEM. This is partly thanks to education spending, which makes up 20% of the national budget. Budget aside, there is still a lot to learn from Singapore especially when it comes to NQTs. All new teachers are paired with experienced teachers for mentoring and peer feedback. Teachers focus on teaching problem solving and they ensure each of their students thoroughly understand the syllabus before moving on.

  • Estonia: engaging through learning

    Estonian students benefit from relatively small class sizes and high levels of teacher autonomy. Not only that, but teachers usually stay with the same students in grades one to three, sometimes they will stay up until the sixth grade, which means teachers can develop deeper relationships with their pupils. Estonian teachers also instruct using the constructivism method of teaching rather than a direct and formal transmission of information. This means students are active participants in the learning process.

  • Canada: collaboration across classrooms

    Canadian schools use a student-led model of education and place a big emphasis on a teacher’s instructional repertoire. Canadian teachers don’t rely on a single method of instruction and take a much more collaborative approach to education. In some regions, Canadian teachers take the co-planning/co-teaching approach, whereby teachers from across the school, street, area or district come together to plan a particular lesson. During the planning sessions, learning expectations are selected and clustered around the big-ideas that teachers are keen to explore.

  • Finland: less work, more play

    The Finnish system does not rely heavily on standardised tests. In fact, there is only one exam right at the end of high school, and progress is measured by exams the teachers set themselves. Finnish teachers prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test. Children are also permitted 15 minutes of play for every 45 minutes of instruction.

    Students in Finland spend fewer hours at school and also do less homework than kids in almost any other nation – the average is less than three hours per week, whereas, in the UK, it’s usually more than five hours per week. This is because the schooling system reflects the culture of Finland, a culture built on trust.

  • South Korea: testing through technology

    The South Korean model focuses heavily on testing their students. All students must take an entrance exam into high school and university. The pressure to succeed in these tests is evident in the fact that training for exams begins when children are three or four years old. Every school in South Korea has digital textbooks and high-speed internet, which means learning materials are more accessible, especially for disadvantaged students.

retaining teaching talent.

With the current skills shortage in education, it can be a delicate balancing act to manage the 15,000 teachers leaving the UK each year to join international schools.

With 47% of teachers dissatisfied with the British education system, harnessing some international techniques can be a creative way to help retain teaching talent.

For teachers thinking of leaving the profession, exploring other styles can be a powerful way to strength test international teaching as a future career opportunity.

Almost a third of teachers were thinking of leaving the profession before taking an international job, with teachers frequently referencing stress levels and house prices as contributing factors.     

teacher’s toolbox.

As part of Randstad’s celebrations, we’ve researched some of the world’s most influential teaching countries according to the PISA exams (The Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to evaluate educational systems). If you’re looking for international inspiration, it’s well worth exploring Randstad’s top 12 teaching methods. Research further and select the tips and techniques best suited to you, your school and your pupils.  

  • Focus on teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • Teach in detail rather than a wide range of topics
  • Explore co-planning/co-teaching
  • Experiential model of learning
    Consider using the internet when teaching
  • 15 minutes of play for every 45 minutes of instruction
  • Use of the constructivism teaching method
  • Use of technology to tailor lessons for children with different learning styles
  • Consider less homework
  • Incorporate different styles of texts into lesson plans (e.g. graphic novels)
  • Encourage discussion and detail of real-world situations
  • Move away from the chalkboard in favour of interactive instruction.

lessons we've learned from working with brilliant teachers.

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time for a new teaching job?

World Teachers’ Day often inspires teachers to stop and think about their career paths. Maybe it’s time to consider supply teaching or applying for a permanent teaching role in a school that’s culturally more suited to your teaching style. You might be trying to juggle your teaching career with budgeting for buying a new house and a move regionally could offer the work-life balance you demand. It could even be time to spread your wings and teach abroad to share your experience with others.

bring your skills to a new classroom.

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