In Australia we have now begun planning for continuous remote learning, given the inevitability of school closure to limit the spread of COVID-19. I’m reminded of my very first blog post, more than ten years ago!
It is important to start by recognising how incredibly fortunate we are.
How many children around the world experience interruption to schooling due to disease, natural disaster or war? How many have access to an education at all? Of those that do, how many are lucky enough to have ready access to the resources that we do? Do we understand that in remote communities, this might be the way learning always looks? Do we appreciate the technology, books, materials, time, space and people to whom/which we have access? Do we acknowledge the collective wisdom and generosity of other teachers and schools with more experience than we have, readily sharing their ideas and expertise with us? We have so much to be grateful for.
The initial response of our teachers, ranging from excitement to panic, depends on individual perspective, personal circumstance, prior experience, technological ability and comfort level with the unknown. So our stance, at my school, will be to see this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. We will approach it, as always, as an inquiry, an extension of our 2020 focus on building cohesion. We will expand our whole school inquiry into building community and a sense of belonging into the new and unfamiliar territory in which we find ourselves.
So these are some of our initial inquiry questions:
- How might we continue to build cohesion when we are learning from home?
- How might we create a sense of community despite being physically apart?
- How might we ensure that everyone feels safe, comfortable and supported?
- How might we seamlessly (almost) continue the children’s learning, and our own?
- How might we remotely plan for and provide opportunities for rich learning experiences?
- How might we ensure the wellbeing of our whole learning community, students, educators and parents?
- How will every member of our learning community contribute to all the above?
- And… how might we extend the learning into other communities?