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Going Virtual in Secondary School

Simon Sherratt
Simon Sherratt (7 posts) Head of Secondary View Profile

In such challenging circumstances, I have been delighted by the positive response to the situation within the NAIS Manila community. These are unprecedented times; however, the Secondary Teaching and Support Team has been working hard to ensure that our enforced school closure does not severely impact the students' learning.

william learning at home

Preparing for Virtual School

Although we were given very little notice, the Secondary Leadership and Teaching Team did meet prior to closure to formulate discussions and put things in place for possible closure. One of the things we were pleased we were able to do to support what became reality in terms of virtual schooling, was the extended form time that was added to student and teachers schedule early morning on Monday 9th March. During this extended registration period, we were able to check all students were able to access Edmodo subject pages to ensure they were well prepared for the possibility of closure. Prior to this, some subject teachers for the more practical subjects (e.g. Drama and PE) were able to set up Edmodo pages to ensure that all subjects could be taught in the event of school closure.

Our approach to Virtual School

As the closure was initially going to be for four days, we did not want to introduce anything new that the children (or parents) would not be used to. We took the decision to keep it simple and focus on tasks that supported the children learning in a way that mirrored their class timetables. Rather than bombard the children with countless worksheets we wanted the work to have a practical element. Unlike many other schools that are closed, we have been fortunate to have been able to communicate and learn from other Nord Anglia schools that have been closed for a considerable period of time. Some NAE schools in China and Vietnam, for example, have experienced parents complaining about the amount of screen time children have had, with teachers trying to do everything through websites or apps.

Adaptable approach to Virtual School

After an initial period of virtual school was complete, it was clear that the school would be closed for much longer than we first thought. We took on board parental feedback and also conducted an internal review of our virtual school strategy. Ensuring any changes made would enhance learning was at the forefront of our decision making. While some schools rushed into implementing policy without a thorough process of deliberation, we spent time considering what we felt would work best for our students. As a result, we chose to combine ‘Live learning’ with pre-planned ‘screencast’ lessons’. This enables students to follow the structure of a normal school day, interact with teachers and peers (via Google Hangouts Video Calls) and to access learning at their own individual pace. We will continue to review on a weekly basis the effectiveness of our virtual schooling and make the necessary changes accordingly. We are aware that not being able to have a face to face teacher-student interaction within a purposeful classroom environment is a challenge; however, I am delighted at the strong and positive bond that has been forged between students, parents and teachers, to do their very best to facilitate learning.

angelina learning at home

Teachers and Parents - Thank You!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the hard-working NAIS Manila teachers. Many of whom are working in isolation with limited resources, with a number of expatriate staff many miles away from loved ones. Despite this, we meet (virtually) on a daily basis and spirits remain high with a collective determination to do the very best by our students to ensure their learning remains purposeful and meaningful. I would also like to thank students who have had such a positive and resilient attitude to the situation.

A final and special thank you has to be made to all our supportive NAIS Manila parents/guardians and family members. These are very challenging times but it is great to hear and see examples of parents supporting the learning of their children in such a positive way. Please continue to share your experiences with us, as well as to feedback any positive or constructive criticism in relation to the virtual school learning opportunities we are providing.

Looking forward to seeing students, parents, and teachers walking the NAIS Manila school corridors again very soon.

 - Simon Sherratt


 

If you want to know more about our school but unable to visit due to current travel restrictions, you can book one of our Virtual Discovery Meetings by clicking the link below.

NAIS Manila Virtual Discovery Meeting

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