How Has COVID-19 Changed Learning?
On Tuesday, 17th November we hosted a joint event with Wellbeing Australia on a very relevant topic “How has COVID-19 Changed Learning?”
Our panel discussed the challenges, along with the improvements to education, created throughout 2020 and reflected on what has changed, what must yet change, and what the future may look like for schools due to this pandemic. The panel shared their “silver linings” of learning through the pandemic and considered how 2021 could look in their schools.
The event was open to educational executives and educators at all levels. Some of the themes of focus that were discussed at the event included Challenges overcome; Strategic whole school agility; Staff development and mentoring; Learning practice, technology and pivoting; Community and parent engagement.
Our panellists have also included 1-minute pre-recorded grabs for the event and please enjoy their personal reflections from this link How Has COVID-19 Changed Learning pre-recorded reflections
There was great engagement by our panellists on the following questions that were raised and discussed:
· What was your school’s greatest area of challenge?
· What surprised you throughout the initial transition period when we faced the greatest change and uncertainty?
· Audience - Is there a systemic shift, in which education will move away from ‘a teaching culture to a learning culture’?
· Audience - Due to COVID, will students be empowered to learn for themselves in flexible, often collaborative ways, both inside and outside classrooms at their own pace?
· When in lockdown, how did you adjust your leadership?
· Do you feel you have altered your attainment of your school strategy throughout this period?
· Audience - What lessons can be achieved with our experiences of online technology in educating future generations.
· How were you able to focus on wellbeing in your school?
· How has your educational approach improved and what will you see to carry forward from your “new” initiatives?
· What about parent engagement?
· In summary, what would you like to see as the “new norms” in education as a result of this period?
The Guild would like to thank our expert panel which included Darren Cox (Principal) and Margaret Pond (Head of Junior School) from St Phillip’s Christian College, Cessnock; Mark Long (Principal) and Doris Lee (Deputy Principal) from Penrith Selective High School; Natalie Devenish (Assistant Principal) and Belinda Vandergert (Leader of Pedagogy) from St Mary’s Cathedral College and Kathryn Taylor and Jacqui Van de Velde, Directors, Wellbeing Australia.
Some of the key ideas that were explored during discussions were:
· How do educators maintain positivity and wellbeing in our students, staff and communities?
· How do we create a safe environment where people ca flourish during rapid changes they experience?
· How do we embrace change and break down the relational barriers over ZOOM?
· Teachers are resourceful and care deeply about the wellbeing of students and their communities.
· During this year, students have taken greater responsibility for their learning and this has resulted in deeper engagement – we need to foster and maintain these qualities in our students.
· We need to be courageous going forward – we do not want our students to adapt backwards because they will develop skills that they will need for their future.
· We need to prepare for continuing disruption and appreciate family time and free play.
· We need to prioritise curriculum next year based on what outcomes students have achieved this year and move forward from this point.
· Communication is the key to be able to strongly influence the factors required to move forward.
· We have embraced technology and must continue to do so because we have been able to engage both students and parents.
· Blended learning exists but how do we support educators to ensure it happens well, by maintaining this support, with or without technology?
· There are more efficient ways to deliver information through the use of technology – students/teacher relationships are so important and the development of resilience in younger students.
· ZOOM has opened up a new way to engage with parents during Parent/Teacher interviews and this can continue next year.
· We are beginning to re-imagine school facility use and being very aware of the school and local community.
· New norms must continue – to maintain the skills we have gained, being creative and innovative, developing a positive attitude to change which results in positive outcomes and new initiatives.
· Wellbeing of the whole school community leads to quality teaching and learning.
· Our greatest challenge will be how different can we imagine teaching and learning to provide improved outcomes?
Teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of the students and the evening provided a wonderfully engaging discussion to remind us all about how lucky we are to be in a fulfilling profession of responsibility in leading, preparing students and communities for the next generation.
The recording of the event has been included in the following link to re-watch and share