GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Teach in teaching

Entering his fourth year of teaching, ex-tech professional Dougie Kinnear is still utilising technology daily.

In a previous life, biology teacher Dougie Kinnear worked in the technology industry. In his last role, before studying for his PGDE, he provided coaching and training in digital technology. A self-confessed ‘tech geek’, he was encouraged to use his expertise when it came to his placements, probation year and beyond.

“I have been actively encouraged from day one to use digital technology in my practice,” explained Dougie. “I was fortunate on my placements to have access to Apple TVs and iPads to help engage the pupils in my lessons. It made the experience more collaborative: I could control the screen from anywhere in the room, share pupil’s work and get them involved. “I feel that the pandemic forced a lot of people to embrace technology very quickly.”

While CPD opportunities may be one way to enhance digital skills, Dougie encourages everyone to just try things out: “If it doesn’t work or you make mistakes, then at least you know. I’m a few years into my career now and I’m still making mistakes. Own up to them, think about what you have learned and move onto the next thing.” Dougie also warns against implementing technology for the sake of it: ‘The tech needs to have benefits for yourself and for the pupils.”

Dougie’s advice to newly-qualified teachers

Manage your time and build relationships with colleagues and pupils. “It can be easy to let things get on top of you. Try to focus on things that have benefit for you and your pupils. I was guilty of saying ‘yes’ to everything when I was first starting out, but that can be a bad thing too. Decide what is right for your development and be helpful where you can.” Something that Dougie found beneficial to his time management and his pupil’s own development was peer-to-peer marking: “It’s a great way to engage pupils in their learning and allows for further discussion.”

For Dougie, the fallout from Covid-19 and home learning has personified the need for strong relationships with learners. “Enter a dialogue and ask them to set their own expectations. You may not be able to give them the moon, but it is good to set a mutual understanding.”

Supporting probationers

Probationers are preparing for a year like no other. To ensure they are well supported during this challenging time, GTC Scotland asked Dr Emma Hepburn, Clinical Psychologist, to create Preparing for your probation, a document full of advice and resources to help support their mental health and wellbeing.