Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui atawhai.
‘Students have risen to the challenge, showing that they are capable, resilient, empathetic, flexible and self-motivated. From expressing concern about the wellbeing of their teachers to embracing online learning at the kitchen table, young people are demonstrating that they are more outwardly-focused, connected, motivated and work-ready than they are often given credit for’. This is what the President of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, Marise McConaghy, has noted in a recent article in The Age newspaper in Australia.
This is what we have found too, here at Carmel College. Reading through the student comments about what they would like retained from the online learning experience shows our students are reflective learners. There is an overwhelming positive response to the longer one hour blocks of learning and that there were fewer classes so that they could have time to work independently.
‘I like how we’re now taught to be more independent, where we are given information to analyse and incorporate into our school work’.
‘I really like the idea of having independent learning as part of our timetable. It allows me to focus on my more important work and prioritise what needs to be completed first. I think that this is good so that students don’t have as much work piling up and that they have more time to relax at home’.
The students were appreciative of the focus that teachers had on their wellbeing: ‘The continued attitude of not wanting to make workloads too heavy and reduce stress as much as possible’.
‘I like the fact that some teachers are providing more accessible online content for students to access at anytime so I’d like that to still be kept consistent when returning to learning at school’.
The students really liked the student run activities that were part of the start of each day to ensure students stay engaged in their learning community.
There were a variety of online tools that were incorporated into the learning programmes. Particularly popular was the use of the chat function in Google Meets which meant that the less confident students could ask questions but not in front of the whole class.
The teachers were also keen on the longer blocks of learning time and the positive response they got to some of the online tools that they used.
We will continue to review and reflect on our online learning experiences and plan to incorporate the ‘silver linings’ into our onsite learning programmes.