Against a backdrop of mixed experiences and emotions in relation to school closures, I have found myself daydreaming about what it will be like to return to the classroom. In particular, how can we support all children – from the traumatised to the oblivious – and everyone in between?
Given the need for social distancing, I know that my gradually returning classroom will have only a fraction of the students in at any one time. The upside being that I’ll be able to assess each child on a one to one basis and work out exactly where to pick up in terms of core subjects and topics. Of course, this means that each student will only be in school for a limited number of days each week, so this sparks even further thought about how they will spend the rest of their time.
Maybe I could trial a true flipped learning environment where I could direct students to study prescribed lesson content at home. There is a wealth of video content available from all sorts of providers which is easily accessible to those students with connectivity and personal devices at home.
But what about the students who don’t have such luxuries? Maybe the school computer suite could be made available on a timetable to allow access for these students? This would free me up to spend more time in class solving problems and doing more practical work – allowing me to support those who really need help and not just those who are confident enough to ask for it.
And what if students don’t do their homework because they would rather watch Minecraft tutorials than my carefully chosen content on Representation of Ratio? Well maybe there’s a lesson in responsibility here? Working in small groups it will be much easier to spot those who haven’t done their homework and hold them accountable for their actions.
Of course, this wouldn’t work for younger students, but maybe smaller class sizes would accelerate their learning in the core subjects so that less time in the classroom wouldn’t be such an issue. Quality of teaching and learning time would accelerate progress even though there would be technically less contact time.
Daydreaming also indulges my love for technology, including my Interactive Flat Panel. Allowing me to clearly model learning with my students, we could work collaboratively to solve problems using my cloud classroom. We could also share ideas back and forth using one of the many digital sharing apps, which means I could get close to students’ work without needing to physically get close to them.
Right now, my daydreams of the classroom return are just that. Daydreams. Speculation. Fantasy. Nobody knows for sure what our classrooms will look like in six months’ time.
One thing I do know for sure; when we start returning to the classroom, our priority must be the health and wellbeing of our community as well as our children’s education being as important as ever.