I count myself as very fortunate to live in Australia and be writing this blog post. As most of the world still suffers through the devastating effects of the corona virus, Australia seemingly has begun to come out the other side. With 7.82 million people effected and 432000 deaths, up 132000 since my last blog on May 13, the world at times seems a bit like a movie. I think I’ll continue to post the below graphic over my coming blogs as I think it is important to remember the gravity of this pandemic around the world and on the education system. There are now 123 country-wide school closures down from 161 a month ago.
Australia, in particular New South Wales, began returning to school just over three weeks ago. As we welcomed our students back I wrote a blog about compassion and the need to reconnect over the need to teach. However, as time continues to tick, we find ourselves falling back into familiar routines. It would be so easy to slip back into doing things the same way we always have and not making any changes to how we deliver information to our students and how our students learn.
At St Luke’s we have really tried to make a concerted effort to not slip back into routine. Which is hard. Routine is familiar. Routine is easy. Routine is comfort. So what does a day in the life of a stage 2 student look like now in comparison to pre-covid?
|– 100 minute learning blocks|
– struggling to fit in everything NESA requires of us within a schooling year.
– Time for students to inquire / explore and love their learning
|– 40 minute learning blocks with time allocated for brain breaks / wellbeing time|
– flexibility to chose what outcomes we want to teach for the remainder of 2020. This allows for a focus on authentic integration rather than forcing content.
– For stage 2, this has been a focus on natural disasters.
When you type it out it doesn’t necessarily look like a long list of things done differently. I can tell you though, I notice it in my students. I know they’ve loved delving deep into inquiry time rather than starting another KLA every single day because we have to. They’ve loved integrating creative arts to explode volcanoes and writing diary entries about what would happen if they were stuck in a natural disaster. Learning is connected and it’s fun. We’ve started doing meditation outside after ten minutes of run around time in the beautiful winter sun and my students come back ready to learn and move to the next thing. It is amazing the wonders of fresh air.
At times, while reflecting on the post-covid education world, I’ve considered whether it is me that has changed rather than the system. At some point during this pandemic, I let go of the worry to complete tasks and rush through. I’ve slowed down myself and in return, I’m seeing that within my students.
The pandemic isn’t over, nor is our need to change things within the education system. Somewhere along the way, we stopped adapting to our students needs. At a time when our students need us more than ever, what better time to adapt our schooling system as well to what our students need.