Building on the experience of remote learning

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Back to school21 July 2020

This week, students have returned to study in diverse ways in response to the changed learning arrangements due to COVID-19.

At St Mary Magdalen’s School, Chadstone, students are learning at home, learning at school with a modified supervised program, or learning at school in part-time mode with face-to-face teaching. Teachers are providing a mixture of learning experiences online and offline. This year, the students have become skilled in using Google Classroom and Google Meet. Teachers report that the students have been agile in adapting to the flexible modes that lockdown demands.

A challenge has been to focus on core curriculum content in Literacy and Numeracy, while also providing opportunities for the students to experience aspects of the whole curriculum – Languages, Arts, Physical Education, Religious Education and Spirituality – at home as they endeavour to stay connected as a faith community.

‘A key difference this term is that we are now experienced’, said the school’s principal, Dr Helen Healy. ‘We know the pitfalls, we know what works and we also know that we can do this. We know from assessments in Term 2 that children do learn even in this time of change, and that we can provide the support that families need. Community connectedness is vital. We need to maintain regular contact with parents through emails and phone messages. Parents can be assured that we are contactable, we are here for them and they are not alone or remote.’

‘A great support for teachers and parents this time around has been the clear guidelines from the CECV and the Department of Education about how much time students should be spending in study. Teachers are setting up clear daily and weekly routines in an effort to help parents balance the learning supervision at home and their own work commitments. We are also providing school-based learning for those students who are vulnerable or have learning needs.’

In addition to the three ‘Rs’, St Mary Magdalen’s School is also focusing on the four ‘Cs’:

  • Be confident – the students will learn
  • Core content – focus on the most important things
  • Communicate – this is a parent/teacher partnership
  • Community – stay connected.