Posted by Brenden Mair
on 29 April 2021
It is with interest that I once again write in response to the challenge that 2020 presented. As a school, we continue to see the impacts, which I will elaborate on, however also recognise that these challenges are not ours alone but rather exist across the educational landscape. I share these with you in order to give you an insight and perhaps prompt conversation with your children that might help them to make sense of where we are at this moment.
We recently received some information at the school that highlighted the impact that the pandemic had on learning and it made for interesting reading. The NAB Education Insight Report focused on the effects coronavirus has had on students in 70 schools across Australia. It was interesting to see that where relevant, statistics were differentiated between Victoria (which obviously had a longer lockdown) and other states.
Of particular note were increases in anxiety as a result, with the highlight indicating that about 2 in 3 boys experienced anxiety as a result of the pandemic. This will have obviously impacted on learning. There was also concern expressed about interpersonal, cognitive, critical thinking and communication skills. Nevertheless, there were also some positives highlighted. Particularly for the students, their increased skills in self-directed learning and mastering of digital skills was noted. As teachers, we are encouraged to capitalise on these as they will be beneficial in the long term.
From a teacher perspective, it was noted that there is a sharper focus on teaching 'what really mattered', as well as a feeling of greater appreciation from parents regarding what we do in the classroom.
Anecdotally, we are certainly seeing something of a lasting effect here at the College. Slightly shorter attention spans for students and increased need for refocusing appears to be presenting itself with a re-socialisation approach needed in this regard. Acknowledging that this will take some time, it does not present a significant issue. On the flip side, a greater appreciation of a face-to-face environment is apparent for both teachers and students, with the students relishing being back in the classroom.
Re-adjusting to the rigours of being back on site are not something any of us should take for granted. As parents, it may well be wise to have a conversation regarding the challenges that this presents and you may get some useful insights that better support your sons in their learning. We are always open to insights and look forward to working with you to enable learning for all students into the future.