April 23, 2020
As we pass Day 20, in fact today is Day 22, of our children continuing their learning from home, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the experience thus far.
I have been overwhelmed with the energy and enthusiasm parents have shown during this period of learning from home. I am enjoying reading the many messages you are sharing with me, and the ones the faculty are forwarding to me to read. These emails talk about the opportunities you are taking to get to know your children through their learning and through the time you are spending with them. You have taken up the challenge of working alongside your children, gaining a better understanding of our inquiry-based-learning and you are talking to me about and sharing videos where I am seeing the real life connections your children are making to the concepts, those big ideas they are learning about. I applaud the way you are continuing to do this alongside the other roles around the home you are now finding are taking up a good part of your day.
Inevitably, there will be some who are feeling that they have had enough and are worried about the progress of their children’s learning. There are some who are expressing their wish for face to face teaching from our teachers. This is an area we have considered. The research we have been doing in this area and, the advice our leadership team are getting from the wealth of educators and leaders we are in contact with, in international education around the world, is that this is fraught with difficulties.The model being used in secondary where children participate in online timetabled lessons does not work for primary classes where the way of learning is so much more transdisciplinary and holistic in nature.
We have also been mindful to continue learning for all. The ‘Distance Learning’ survey to parents on March 22 highlighted that, of the 438 families who responded, 65% of our students share a device in the home, that 51% described their internet connectivity as average with a further 7% stating that it ‘depends’. We are hearing from our teachers who are on ‘Touch Base Meets’ that often connectivity is an issue . They report that the connectivity is dependent on the day, the time of day, and the number of devices being used in the home and that internet capability in many residential buildings is being stretched and at times compromised. This mirrors what we are hearing from our international colleagues. These issues and that of ensuring the safety of your children online are why we are not moving to face to face teaching at this time.
I also reflect on the learning our team of teachers and leaders have made over this time. It is reassuring that while we are trailblazing learning from home for OIS, there are many reputable schools and educators in India and around the world who are also going through this experience from which we can draw advice. As we move forward I can reassure you that in a primary education of today, content acquisition makes up only a small part of your child’s education. Anything missed during these quite extraordinary times can easily be caught up when the children return to learning within the school buildings. The attitudes to learning, the process of inquiry, the creativity and critical thinking skills development, and a growing insight into how to learn, continues as normal, along with the myriad of skills they are learning from you at home, from observing you and from collaborating with the members in your home.
So as we move beyond Day 20 and come to terms with the fact that learning from home for our children is here for a bit longer, we continue to recommend:
Primary Leadership Team