Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • It is a strange world where an island nation, with one-fifth the population of the United States but one-half the death total from coronavirus, is discussing on a daily basis the reopening of schools on June 1st.

      An education leader, Dr. Heery, shares in his blog the things to consider if “when” is decided.

      First and most important thing to decided is Why?What are we trying to achieve by the reopening of schools? It may seem obvious, but if the purpose is primarily to get parents back into work, then our model will reflect this, if it’s to make sure that pupils continue to make progress, it will look different. If it’s to protect vulnerable pupils, it is different again. In our organisation, we’re working to the following objectives, in no particular order of priority:

      To maintain continuity of learning for all students
      To support remote learning support vulnerable students and the children of key workers
      To support induction / transition
      To provide a route towards a full re-opening of school

      From More questions than answers – the why, who, how and when of school reopening

      The idea that learning itself should be evaluated and reimagineered is on the table in many school communities around the world, not just the UK. New York City’s Governor Cuomo, for example, announced on Monday that Bill Gates will be joining a commission to do just that.

      When should schools reopen? When it’s safe to get married in a wedding hall, to get a haircut?

      What about poor communities where access to online learning is often limited? Should their greater decline in learning necessitate a significant intervention to bridge the growing gap?

      All of these questions apply to other countries as well. But as about forty percent of my Twitter followers are from the U.K., this question of reopening is becoming a daily concern and conversation for educators.

      Thoughts? Comments? Please hit the reply button.

    • Speaking from the UK, and with one child at university and another at senior school, I have some perspectives to share.

      Firstly, I am deeply disappointed in the educational establishment and their response to movement restrictions. They have failed us.

      My youngest daughter goes to a (seemingly) reputable private school that you might have expected to react appropriately and rapidly given the distance from direct government oversight and the fees they charge. But no. What we get, in fact, is a slow and unfocused response that suggests teachers have started their summer holidays early.

      Youngest daughter now has a revised timetable that is limited to morning "lessons". Only one of these are held by video conference. The rest take the form of work distributed to a shared drive, where pupils are told to just get on with it. Afternoons are crammed with ridiculous "creative projects" that are a thinly veiled attempt to fool parents that there is a full program of activity. There is not, and the parent body is not fooled, either.

      The senior school sent out the inevitable "parent survey" to ask "how are we doing during lockdown"? One of the questions enquired whether my child was getting "too much, just enough, or not enough" video tutelage. I responded by asking why the school couldn't just revert to the normal timetable and have every lesson taught by video conference - after all, if it can be done for one lesson per day, it can be done for all lessons. No reply.

      At university, eldest daughter has some video lecture, but nowhere near enough. She is a medical student, and more often than not what she receives as "teaching" are Power Point slides that would have been part of lectures. She showed me one the other day - a series of cranial X Rays that were obviously intended to show something but that actually reveal nothing without the concurrent explanatory dialogue from a lecturer. As my daughter asked me, "would you want someone operating on your prostate if this was the basis of their understanding"? Absolutely not.

      The senior school performance is the worst of the two. Seriously, the tools exist to teach the regular program on the regular timetable by way of video conferencing. To adopt a half-arsed approach where only one lesson a day is conducted as such makes me very angry, as it implies that teachers are not putting pupils first. Having proved they can deliver by video, what excuse do they have for not doing so across all teaching?

      Obviously I am very close to this issue, and I may be biased as a result. Would be happy to hear from anyone that could explain or defend the school performance described above.

    • It is regrettable that they are relieving the teachers from teaching lessons. Even pre-recording a video of the day’s lesson would be preferable to expecting the students to learn it all by themselves. I suspect a lot of families at your high school are going to have to hire tutors next year, especially for subjects such as maths that build on prior year’s knowledge. You may want to find tutors early next year before the good ones get booked up.

      Sorry it’s been such a disappointment for your uni student as well. In the States, there’s talk of students suing their schools for inadequate online coursework.

      <><><>

      I also saw the latest pronouncement on reopening the secondary schools in June. Do you have any idea how that’s going to look with social distancing protocols?

    • Getting a tutor is a possibility for the younger one. I would be peeved (to say the least) to have to pay twice for her education, though.

      Legal action sounds to be proportionate response, but it would require parents to bond together to mount something akin to a class action suit. I am not confident that many parents would have the appetite to join this, unfortunately. They will, nevertheless, retain their right to whine about the inequity....