It’s been a week of positives. Finally, we are preparing to head back to school – and we are starting to talk less about loss, and more about gain. As our students contemplate the return to school on the 8th March, we want them to consider what new skills they will be bringing with them.
As they dust off their school-bags, and tick off the resources they will need, what additional competencies will be thrown in? Independence, resilience, increased self-awareness, advanced digital literacy – these are just some of the additional learning tools for which they now need to make room. As teachers, it is our responsibility to recognise these skills, and harness them to help our students through this next transition.
We know it won’t be easy for some; we know the excitement will be tempered by apprehension. But we also know that they have made it to this point, and that the experience they have gained will carry them far.
We’ve heard so much about lost learning – and there will be plenty of time to review this – but at Brighton Girls, we are keen to make time to reflect on the learning we have gained.
When asked to comment for the national press last month on how we would attempt to fill the learning gaps on our return to school, my response was that we should firstly make the most of the alternative skills students have developed – to me it is about capitalising on all the incredible skills our students have learnt – skills that, under normal circumstances, may have remained untapped – rather than merely focusing on the bits they might have missed academically.
Our students have developed greater self-reliance at such a young age – managing the workflow that comes in, mastering the technology and then working in a very collaborative way to help friends, share links and explain concepts to each other, often independently of the teachers.These, along with the resilience they have all had to develop, are useful, and highly valued, workplace skills. The last thing we want is for these to wither away when normality returns. So, as we return, we are discussing how best to capture these important, but often overlooked, aspects of learning.
We’ve decided that the students will teach us, the teachers, what they have learnt in terms of learning styles and we will then harness all that to change bricks and mortar teaching.It’s a flipped approach – but in this topsey-turvey world, it’s one that makes sense, and one that makes me excited and optimistic for the future of this so-called “lost generation”.
If they are lost, they at least have the skills to navigate their way home. Helping them to see this will be one of our aims over the next few weeks.