Why formal learning should wait!
As schools begin opening their doors again after many weeks of lockdown, it seems natural to focus on returning to familiar routines and getting pupils back up to speed with their learning. But as discussed by Dave Whyley in his recent EdWire Article, Covid-19 has changed the face of education and formal learning needs to wait!
After lockdown, children need time to reconnect with friends and come to terms with the impact COVID-19 may have had in their personal lives. Learning should take a slow and steady pace so that children and teachers can adjust to their new norm by following a back-to-school strategy focused on their wellbeing.
Formal Learning needs to wait…
Emotional health has always been a key element of the education provided in schools. However, in these exceptional times, it needs to be at the very heart of any strategy.
As found by a Public Health England Study, pupils with better emotional wellbeing at age seven were found to have a value-added Key Stage 2 score that was 2.46 points higher than pupils with poorer emotional wellbeing. That is the equivalent of more the one term’s progress, which can make a real difference in terms of emotional and academic achievement in the long term.
Re-entering the classroom…
Many pupils have spent more time in recent weeks on a laptop or tablet at the kitchen table, some with parents or carers juggling work and homeschooling at the same time. The children of keyworkers and others who have continued attending school have got used to a very different learning environment too, interacting with fewer pupils and staff.
Pupils will need to acclimatise to the classroom environment again as the school gates re-open. Collaborative activities may help with the transition to being part of a class again, but importantly, plans will need to remain flexible to meet changing requirements around social distancing and protecting pupils and staff.
Activities don’t have to be complex games or tasks. Pupils could collaborate in small groups to create an art project or have two teams in the class working together to complete a maths challenge with a prize.
It’s a great time for schools to think about how they can integrate EdTech into the classroom too so that the digital activities many children have become familiar with can be incorporated into the day.
Some children will need a little extra help and encouragement to re-discover friendships and social skills, so teachers have an important role to play here too.
A new way to test…
The time will come for assessing children’s knowledge and identifying gaps in their learning and when it does, schools will want to take a gentle approach!
There’s a plethora of choice when it comes to assessing children’s progress in the classroom. Technology can help to make assessment feel less test-like for children. By using tools that minimise the pressure of sitting a ‘big test’, teachers will get a much more accurate view of a child’s learning to help them understand and deliver the support their pupils need.
For Literacy, the Lexplore Analytics Assessment can provide teachers with objective insight into pupils reading within minutes, helping highlight any learning gaps and reduce testing time for pupils and teachers alike. You can find out more by getting in touch with their friendly team.