Re-Learning Our Learning
What a great challenge the current “learning from home” education has been for our students, teachers and school staff. A few short weeks ago, the prospect of all students staying away from school under an extended Covid19 remote learning program was a distant concept, yet after 4 weeks of Term 2 it is a very achievable reality. While by no means a perfect substitute for a physical presence in College, these remarkably changed circumstances do offer some great flexibility and opportunity for many students. Viewed as an interim experience, in as positive way as reasonable, and as long as educational progress remains solid, remote learning for many of our students can in fact be a bit of an adventure.
The basics are important to making the most of continuing a solid educational progress in the more relaxed and freestyle learning environment of home – quite a change to the normal uniform, train, classmates and College routine. Of course, the first couple of weeks were a little unusual as it took everybody a little while to reacclimatise to both the physical (and mental) changes of sitting down at home each morning to start the day’s work. Virtual classrooms were a new experience for most. Remarkably, and very positively, these have functioned very well, with both the technical and usability aspects of remote learning being far better than perhaps most students or parents expected. Certainly our sons’ experiences, and the shared feedback from their (virtual) classmates, supports this.
Setting up proper, clean and tidy dedicated workspaces made “going to school” at home a lot easier. Broadband has been a vital conduit for so many aspects of recent life, and thankfully the service to most users seems very capable. Keeping focus high and minimising domestic interruptions to class time really makes the difference in the quality of the lessons, especially in homes where parents may also be remote working during school hours too. Setting solid daily timetables and maintaining regular routines beyond the actual class timetable has been important too. Planning “special quiet house time” for critical sessions like SACs has proven even more vital, keeping in mind the ongoing importance especially for senior students. Eating well and getting outside before, after or during timetable breaks is important not only physically but mentally. As winter rolls in, we all tend to hibernate a bit more, but while not travelling to College, staying active is even more important. And look at the upside; it’s not everyday you can sneak in a (legit) skateboard session or bike ride for a few minutes between classes. Mid to long term the lack of wider direct social contact may become an issue, but it doesn’t seem that too many teenagers are having trouble applying their technology to maintain social connections, albeit virtual for the time being. Perhaps a few parties will be a bit quieter or online this year, but there will be more to look forward to once normality returns.
It has been great to see all the positive feedback and comments from all levels of our College community. It is important that we all acknowledge the extra work, determination and great commitment that the College staff have contributed to making this extreme change as functional and productive as possible for all our students. There is no doubt this is one of the most challenging situations faced by communities worldwide, and a true test of leadership at every level. Locally, our College is privileged to be in a solid position. Ms Roberts and the College management team have embraced the changes head on and again delivered a smooth, almost seamless transition while maintaining educational and College values and student and staff morale at the best possible levels. Impressive.
On behalf of our College community, let’s share our genuine appreciation and thanks to all our staff for their dedication and commitment to our students’ wellbeing and continued progress under difficult times.
School Council President