Learning during a first-time world crisis

Learning under different circumstances

We are approaching the end of week three of learning at home.

My students have not been present in the classroom with me facilitating their learning. They have been at home with their new parent-teachers.

 

Yes, some formal academic activities have been prepared by me. And, much more importantly, my students have been learning how to be learners under different and challenging circumstances.

In my Grade 4 class,my main aim is to develop a thinking curriculum.

This encourages my students to develop characteristics, principles and values which give purpose to Habits of Mind.

In turn, this disposes them to using thinking skills, tools and strategies which act on content.

A learning philosophy for multiple realities

Broadacres Academy’s philosophy is one of believing that learning is a journey of exploration, a collaboration between learner and teacher, and based on the natural development of each child’s potential.

Not once during these two weeks has this philosophy not been realised.

Yes, just as in a ‘normal’ contact learning classroom there are those students that learn in spite of everything.

 

There are also those students who need more time. So I am already planning, at the end of each term, how I will accommodate these different students’ needs going forward.

A new, different and inconsistent collaboration

Our collaboration has been new, different and inconsistent. I took a video WhatsApp call from a student while still in my pjs! I have been in touch with all my students and them with me.

 

I have watched videos, listened to voice notes and perused photos of activities. When they have asked questions, I have been there to help and guide them.

Each day I have connected with them and they have responded.

While it has often not been ideal, it has been the best under the circumstances of a first-time world crisis.

 

We might not yet be able to tick off all the hallowed CAPS curriculum assessment standards required for Grade 4 during this time.

However, much bigger things are happening.

These students are learning, amongst other things: to be courageous, to work hard, to be responsible, to have integrity, to be resilient and to have grit and agency. These characteristics make for better learners.

 

Our classroom will be a new space

The past two weeks have not been in vain. School has continued.

When we finally return to our classroom, it will be a completely new space for both my students and me.

We will be different people because of the experiences we have undergone.

 

We will adapt and make plans and do what needs to be done. And, the same goes for the next school year, we will have to adapt and make plans and do what needs to be done.

Doing school differently

I have so missed being in the classroom with my students who each hold a piece of my heart. Luckily it is not the end of our school year, so we will return to reconnect.

Many of my colleagues, like me have been doing the same.

We have been at “school” and we have been learning with our students.

So we may not have been present in the classroom, we have just being doing school differently.

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