No-one could have predicted quarantine happening. However, as countries gradually ease their lockdown measures, it is worth taking a look back at our response to the situation to see if we can glean any lessons from it for the future. What have we learnt during isolation that could give us a clue as to what comes next?
A New Awareness
The interruption of normal teaching schedules was a lightbulb moment for many of us as we discovered the vast amount of educational resources online that exist to support students in their studies. From mathematics to geography, to more modern subjects like coding and programming, there is a world of websites out there for students to explore. Many may have developed new interests whilst in confinement thanks to these educational treasure troves. Perhaps we will now see teachers using them to further the variety of their lessons and homework too? Watch this space…
New Educational Frontiers
Confinement allowed many teachers to extend the limits beyond what they knew was possible for their vocation. For instance, seeing how easy Zoom is to use in an educational context has been a revelation. Experimenting with such exciting technologies has enabled teachers to be creative in their remote learning lesson plans, and may have helped many to unlock new ways to explore their subjects with students. Group work may become more popular now that students have good experience liaising and working together over Zoom, and work assignments might include more presentations, given the popularity of Explain Everything. These are exciting times for educators and students alike as the status quo begins to shift!
Boost in Students’ Confidence
After so many weeks in confinement and a new learning attitude attuned to remote schooling, students might be beginning to feel quite confident in their capacity to learn independently. By now, many have established routines, set themselves good limits, made goals they want to achieve, and are managing their time despite the lack of formal structure. Hopefully, they will carry this upsurge in self-confidence with them back to school, where they feel empowered to study with greater independence and self-reliance.
The Importance of School for Soft Skills
One of our parents recently said, “The online learning has been great, but I see now how school is so important for the development of my son’s soft skills, like his ability to socialise and develop in more holistic ways.” This is very true. Whilst students have been honing their independent work skills, they have had fewer opportunities to nurture such transferable skills as collaboration, communication, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence the way they would subconsciously in a school environment.
The school day, filled with interactions with classmates, teachers and friends, regularly throws up challenges and experiences in these domains. They add both to a child’s education and to building their character, helping to form the person they will become.
Renewed Appreciation of the School Hub
Although remote learning had its successes, we don’t see learning from home becoming the new normal. Despite the many positive lessons we can take from life in lockdown, we are sure that many students and teachers alike are pleased about returning to school. During isolation, it became clear that school holds great value as more than just a space for learning. It is a social hub for students, parents and staff, and it is a centre in which the soul of Haut-Lac International Bilingual School resides, drawing families from near and far into our strong, caring community.
We have seen some very touching acts of togetherness over these difficult weeks, including the well wishes for our directors when they contracted Covid-19, the DP2 virtual leaving assembly and the video our dancing primary and infant teachers released to raise spirits everywhere. These prove just how strong our school spirit is, and that it can exist over the airwaves as it does within the hallways of our buildings. Yet, although it exists within us, we still felt the call back to our campuses, and are glad to be back at the heart of Haut-Lac with you all.