For all of us however, it is a timely reminder to always remain open minded and flexible in an ever-changing landscape. Fortunately for us, we have the guidance and support of an amazing team of professionals who put us as educators in the driver’s seat of contemporary education – whether that be in supporting our IT needs and questions or by creating a landscape in which we can continue to do what we love -teaching our students – no matter what the obstacles. Their calm, can do attitude, reminds us all to focus on working solutions rather than on the worry of the issues themselves.
While the world and us in our homes worry realistically about the impact of this virus and its impacts on our routines, we (teachers and deans) are focused on maintaining the flow of education which will engage and encourage our community to keep a clear eye on the soon after, the when things return to normal and we can emerge from the varying degrees of hibernation we have had to impose on our lives. The show, or to paraphrase, the school, must go on – as they say! Our students cannot be expected to put their education on hold, despite the allure for them of time off, time waits for no one! For our older students, exams are looming, for our younger students there is a world of things to be learned and ideas to experience. Time ticks steadily on and to maintain a sense of proportion during these worrying events, we are using our time to effectively put in place the support structures required to ensure there need only be minor adjustments rather than wholescale upheavals to their educational routines.
It is also a timely reminder for me as an educator to consider the contemporary landscape of education. I can, as our road tests are revealing, carry on engaging with my students in a quite fun format despite the physical distance between us. Yes there are little difficulties and adjustments to be made; one has to accept that classroom management is interesting when a student can choose to mute their microphone or turn off their camera where they are – but this is also a rich ground for finding opportunities for us to encourage the independence of the way in which they work! The interconnectedness of our technology, when used appropriately and effectively is a wonderful arena for inspiring and being inspired in turn – for collaborating with our students on a more even playing field of technological skill – Technophobia has no place in the world of education, the current global crisis has presented us with a wonderful chance to embrace change, to do that which is the stuff of evolution – adaptation!
It also as the wise amongst us would council, is a time to take stock and evaluate what in this changing landscape needs to be maintained, shaped and polished – it is here I would refer you to an article I have been reading in my research, on the essential skill of asking questions – something quite relevant considering the technological nature of our road tests. It reveals in reading that the way we construct our questions has a huge impact on the kind of answers we receive – it makes for fertile thought for us all, parents, teachers, colleagues, partners and students. If you are looking for the answer, it seems it’s in how you ask the question!
More importantly, let’s road test some of these questioning styles with those around us, I’d love to hear your insights and experiments!
Wishing you a healthy and happy week ahead!
Mr Mark Brennan