Students across Australia and the world have been hit hard by the change and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. With the majority of students now on-site learning once again, ensuring a smooth transition from remote to physical teaching has been front of mind for teachers and parents alike.
Learning loss has become a major challenge for many educators, however, students have built valuable future-ready skills like resilience and flexibility during the period of remote learning. While ensuring students haven’t fallen behind is key, it’s also important to take the time to recognise and celebrate the skills our students have built during this challenging time. This establishes a strengths-based perspective on students’ learning experiences and gives educators, parents and students a more positive foundation to build on.
Here, I delve into my four top tips on how we can support our students' with on-site learning once again.
Create playful moments
Students will have varying feelings about returning to the classroom, and creating a safe, welcoming and engaging environment will be especially important with this transition.
It’s never been a better time to encourage the power of play in schools. Through having playful experiences with their peers and teachers, students will naturally unlock their curiosity, friendly competition, and desire to learn whilst having fun. This is particularly important after periods of uncertainty and amid a transition.
Game-based learning solutions are empowering for students, providing them with positive ways to connect with one another and break the ice during back to in-person learning in the classroom. Often we see that open-ended, polling and word cloud questions are used in the Kahoot! platform to start a conversation between both. This facilitates the process especially for those who are introverted, but want to contribute with their opinion in the classroom.
Address a changing world
With access to information at their fingertips, students are more aware of current events than ever before. These complex topics are important conversations to have in the classroom, but it’s vital that students can build understanding around current issues in a safe and age-appropriate manner.
Using materials from credible sources online and sharing this in a format that is easy to digest will make these topics more accessible, relevant and empowering to young learners.
Spot and close the gaps
The pandemic has put students under a lot of pressure, and they may fear that COVID-19 has affected their learning, or that they’re not keeping up with their peers.
One simple but powerful way educators can address this is checking their students’ understanding of key concepts before moving on by harnessing the power of technology. Using this technique will give both student and teacher the chance to spot knowledge gaps and quickly address this by reviewing the material or changing the instructional approach in the classroom.
Share ideas and find support
As the saying goes, “You learn something new every day,” and that’s not just for students.
Teachers are often time-poor and overstretched, but their own learning, upskilling and professional development is just as important as the students they are teaching every day.
Through the Kahoot! Academy platform, we try to connect educators to share ideas and find support. The end goal is to enable teachers to inject micro-learning moments into their day, while also fostering a learning community with other teachers.
No matter where or how you’re teaching post-lockdown, being there for students and creating a fun and welcoming environment will go a long way. Students, educators and parents alike have learned much throughout the past 18 months, and celebrating this can help us make this new chapter the best it can be together.