Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

Namadgi teachers

Namadgi School Teachers Laura Shevlin and Chloe Muthukumaraswamy

As one of the largest schools in Tuggeranong, the grounds of Kambah’s Namadgi School are typically filled with activity.

This time last year, however, things looked completely different as ACT schools prepared to go for online learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It took about two weeks for teachers to adjust their programs pending the change, set up systems and online learning to accommodate more than 700 students across preschool by year 10.

As the school’s science teacher in years 7-10, Laura Shevlin described the atmosphere this time last year as “hectic”.

“Even though we planned it, no one really knew what to expect or if it would be possible,” Laura said.

One of the biggest challenges for teachers was ensuring that all families had Internet access and computers at home. For this reason, Laura said that communication throughout this period was key.

“We often checked on the students to make sure they had access to everything they needed, including providing computers to many families who did not have them, and would then pass that information on to the school,” Laura said.

Year 3 teacher Chloe Muthukumaraswamy said teachers used channels like Seesaw and social media to encourage regular interaction between teachers and students.

“We wanted weekly video meetings with students one-on-one, while others had whole-class meetings,” she said.

“We tried to put the students in online friendship groups so they could still see their friends. They wanted to have a little chat, then we could play some games with them and find out how they went – we would try to make it fun so they stayed passionate about learning.

“The hardest thing about recording our activity instructions on video was trying to predict what questions different students might ask in advance and meet those requirements because we did not have easy time answering questions on the spot that we would normally face to face. ”

Chloe described the experience as a “learning curve” with a few unexpected benefits.

“Before COVID, I did not use that much technology in the classroom, but during that time, I discovered many great IT resources that my kids really engaged in,” she said.

“It was also a good opportunity to build relationships with parents. Many of them said they were happy to really get to sit with their kids and spend time with them, because often everyone is so busy. ”

Laura said the experience encouraged her to change her teaching practice.

“I have introduced more flexibility in my work now, because during that time I found that I had conversations with children that I might never have had face to face,” she said.

“I learned a lot about each child and realized that everyone was dealing with something else.”

Since returning to the classroom last May, the biggest challenge has been bridging the gap between those students who thrived during online learning and those who may have struggled.

“I think it showed that nothing is the same as the ability to sit down, read facial expressions and have that face-to-face interaction,” Chloe said.

“I think it also taught everyone that children are so much more resilient than we give them the credit for.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.