At the time of writing this there are 245,000+ Coronavirus cases and over 10,000 deaths. The numbers are changing rapidly. Billions of dollars are being wiped off the share market and people are suffering immeasurably.
The world is suffering under this global catastrophe in so many ways. Health and well being, the economy, jobs and the personal challenges facing people are incredible. But, we need to stay strong, determined and look beyond this.
As a school leader and operator of schools, we have seen first hand the stress these challenges have placed on teachers, students and parents. Schools are closed and are under a lot of pressure. On the other hand, teachers have responded rapidly. They have moved to virtual learning; delivering the very best learning experiences they can – online. The crisis will change education practice forever.
Amongst the chaos are some incredible stories. In spite of the pressures and in an attempt to stay motivated and positive about some of the things I am most passionate about, I spent some time today thinking through the long-term changes that we might see as a consequence of the crisis we have all been facing. As leaders we need to do this during challenging times!
Technology and Authentic Learning Will Get Better
Personally, i get frustrated with the “just for the sake of it” applications of technology we sometimes see. Teachers are not doing that. They are using new tools for the genuine purpose of making sure students learn well. They are not doing it to be fashionable, for marketing purposes or to impress anyone. Children need it and in so many cases teachers are delivering. As a consequence of this crisis, teachers are better equipped to deliver truly authentic learning. They have no choice. They are experimenting, adjusting, adapting and making a huge difference. The crisis will change education practice.
We All Have Amazing Stories To Tell
I have heard the stories and I am sure you have too. Teachers who had not previously used online learning are now getting very competent, very quickly. The crisis will change education practice because everyone is using technology in unique but very authentic ways. Barriers and obstacles that were not so urgent before are now immediate challenges. Teachers are overcoming them. Where teachers do not have the highly sophisticated and expensive technology others might have, they are adapting simpler methods including email, Skype, messaging services. Whatever it takes to achieve learning outcomes.
Technology Vendors are Competing and the Very Best Will Win
The biggest advantage to competition in the market place is that the very best and most effective eventually win. Many vendors have offered their services to schools and teachers on trial for free and they are all being tested by a very active market. They are being tested and trialled by practitioners who really need the technology to work. Our students quickly show us what doesn’t work and teachers don’t have time to wait. They quickly flip to something else. The teachers change education practice as needed. Schools that may have previously been reluctant to invest are now having the opportunity to trial education tools in a very authentic way.
We Have Chances to Celebrate Success
Every day in schools all across the world there are opportunities to celebrate and applaud success. But under the current crisis and this very stressful period if you are not doing it well, you are not looking hard enough. Teachers are very stressed right now and we really need to appreciate the immense pressure they are under. The crisis will change education practice whether we like it or not. Teachers are however finding unique opportunities in this coronavirus crisis to do amazing things! I am amazed at some of the feedback parents are sharing directly with our staff. Here is just a few samples from today:
“The teachers have all been great – hardworking, patient and dedicated. The content was interesting and delivery enterprising keeping them productively occupied in this challenging period .. Group chats, banters and collaboration with their classmates lend a classroom-like feel Well done team… All the bestParent
“Well done to the….. team! Your proactiveness in preparing for this and the dedication of the teaching team to ensure really effective classes online has not gone unnoticed. Thank you 🙂Parent
“Every one is doing an amazing job and you should all be very proud of this online teaching/learning process. Well done ……..team, keep it up and thank you!Parent
“Just to say a big thank you for all the effort, preparation and instruction you are continuing to drive using the online facilities with the students. We are fully appreciative of how demanding this must be and it is clear that, given the restrictions to actual classroom learning, all the children are benefitting from your superb online instruction.Parent
“Many teachers from other schools would just slap on a ‘You Tube’ video recommendation for the children to watch. Your lessons are highly interactive and the live video conferencing allows all the children to contribute and share ideas together among themselves and with you. The way in which you are facilitating the lessons is flawless.Parent
Parents Will Value Technology
Let’s face it, some parents, but not all, are very reluctant about liberal use and application of technology in education. We have not won them over yet. Parents are seeing and experiencing the value that occurs when we find good use of technology in education. Great teachers and good technology is making sure that children continue their education during this crisis. Technology has become very relevant and parents are seeing first hand the benefits it can bring.
The Crisis Will Change Education Practice. Let’s Change Practice in Ways That Will Make a Difference!
None of us underestimate the situation our global community is facing right now. It is a crisis of the highest magnitude. Let’s not pretend this is small or that it will be over quickly. It may last longer than we first thought.
Let’s do this together! Our children are so important that no excuse is ok. We need to overcome all obstacles. Let’s change practice in meaningful ways so that one day we can look back on it and know we made a difference because of it.
We are all in this together!
Fore more information also check out The World Economic Forum article: 3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education
Who is Global Services in Education (GSE)
Global Services in Education is a company led by education experts. They are proven education leaders who know how to set up and manage international schools. GSE can lead the project from the initial idea to set up and full management. Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High School, Universities and Adult education.
“I love great food and I love beautiful restaurants but that doesn’t mean I should set up and operate a restaurant. Everyone has been to a school and many have sent their children to one but that does not mean they are fully qualified and have the skills to guarantee the school’s success. The key difference between a great school and a failing school is its educational leadership. GSE has developed a reputation for being an invaluable bridge between education and business, particularly in unique cultural contexts.” Greg Parry, CEO.
Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for edu-cation institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Ministers Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education 2015 and 2016. Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals throughout the world in areas such as critical thinking, language development and leadership. His expertise in school start up projects, leadership and curriculum development, has made him a sought after authority in these disciplines.