DA surveys: 6 things school leaders say about the top instructional challenges

What teachers want most is a tool to make personalizing instruction easier.
By: | April 20, 2022

Beyond recovering from the disruptions of the last two years, K-12 leaders are still grappling with a host of teaching challenges that emerged prior to the pandemic. And most of these issues revolve around helping teachers maximize classroom instructional time.

When it comes to professional development and quality instruction, an overwhelming number of education leaders say teacher collaboration is crucial, according to a recent District Administration survey. Teachers are most eager to collaborate around peer-to-peer professional development, onboarding and mentoring new teachers, increasing student achievement, developing a positive school climate and culture, and identifying students in need of intervention.

When it comes to ongoing instructional challenges, here’s what the leaders surveyed had to say:

  1. 80% said lesson planning during hybrid and remote instruction was “very challenging” or “challenging” for teachers.
  2. Math, English language arts and social-emotional learning were the areas in which teachers want the most help with lesson planning.
  3. About 90% of leaders said it is “challenging” or “slightly challenging” for teachers to find relevant, curriculum-aligned multimedia content.
  4. Measuring student achievement against state and national standards was seen as important by a large majority of the respondents.
  5. However, most teachers are having some level of difficulty conducting assessments that are aligned to the school or district curriculum.
  6. A large majority of district leaders said they are concerned about students having equitable access to technology and digital resources at home and in school, a separate District Administration survey found.

Instructional aspirations

Career forecast

Here are the top five professions to which students aspire:

  1. Biomedical engineer (17%)
  2. Medical scientist (16%)
  3. Multimedia artist/animator (10%)
  4. Graphic design (8%)
  5. Clinical and counseling psychologists (8%)

Source: American Student Assistance survey of 2,000 students who used a digital career exploration tool.

When it comes to lesson planning, the thing teachers want most is a tool to make differentiating instruction easier, one of the surveys found. They’re also looking for access to high-quality instructional content and digital tools that integrate well with their school’s learning management systems. Students and teachers also want more opportunities to develop and practice digital media skills such as digital art, photography, graphic design, and video production, the second survey found.

Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly all of the educators who responded said it was important for educators to find more ways to promote creativity and problem-solving. Most also believe that emphasizing creativity and project-based learning will substantially improve student and teacher engagement.

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