Two years ago I wrote a post about my experiences and reflections from my time at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). Today I bring to you a different set of different experiences that has been launched upon me in a very short period of time – online education.
Covid-19 and the spread of the coronavirus around the world has brought about a radical change in education. Where once you would normally find a classroom or laboratory filled with eager young adults learning a myriad of subjects and its related content, now those same areas are devoid of any human presence. Corridors are quiet, lunch halls are silent, and in the case of my school, boarding houses are vacant and lifeless.
Here in the United Kingdom, schools across the land were forced to close on Friday, March 20, 2020. To date, they are not yet open. Instead, teachers and their students are now engaging with their lessons online. Some schools are conducting full live lessons with face-to-face contact, whilst other schools are opting to disseminate worksheets across their student community. The phrase “…just ticking over…” comes to mind when thinking about how much actual learning is taking place at the students home.
Whilst there are a number of students who will flourish at the chance to learn at their own pace in the comfort of their own space, other students will be finding this experience far too challenging. Indeed, whilst there will be many teachers embracing the online eduction experience and engaging their learners very well, there will be other teachers who will be disliking the experience and longing for the return back to the classroom.
The success of online learning can only be met if the student has a quiet place to work, has access to broadband and adequate bandwidth and has the resources at home, such as textbooks, pens, pencils, lined or plain paper etc.. Indeed, online learning and home schooling really needs to have parent or guardian that has the time to engage with their children in their learning, and are able to establish clear boundaries and routines. There is this high expectation that all of these criteria can be met easily, whereas in reality, there could be a huge amount of background distractions that could inhibit the young person from accessing the material online. Again, the phrase “…just ticking over…” comes to mind.
I’ll come back to this post in a little bit covering
- the slower pace of learning
- the isolating feeling of teaching
- keeping ones head above water
- the sense of increased marking and feedback