It is great that we are now in level 3 because that brings us closer to level 2 when we can have the children back to school. We are looking forward to that day as much as you are.
We have been very impressed with the Education TV that is available each day. We certainly recommend this as a learning tool for all ages.
One of the benefits of being in lockdown is that I have read lots of books, fiction and non-fiction. One book I have been dipping in and out of over the past few months is Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan. It is an interesting premise – work isn’t working. Leaders and teams are frustrated that the scale and bureaucracy that once made their organisations strong are now liabilities in this era of constant change.
Given what we are all going through, this book has become especially powerful. Dignan says that our way of working originated on the factory floors of the Industrial Revolution. This resonated with me because I often point out that schools have not basically changed since the industrial revolution. They still organised around bells and classrooms with one teacher, although some schools are open plan, but they are still a group of students with the same team of teachers every day. Senior managers have discussed this at length, but it comes back to not being brave enough (or have the resources) to substantially change the look of schooling and the way of learning.
Yet we have been forced into completely changing the way we are delivering learning in a very short time frame. Yes, it is still one teacher in front of a group of students, but the mode of learning has opened up all sorts of opportunities. What we are delivering through the class websites is, by necessity, relatively generic given the short time frame to get up and running. It is not a stretch to see how this mode of working could be expanded to suit individual needs. Education TV, another new way of working, has shown that science, technology, health can be delivered by experts in their field in a way that is accessible to all.
The one thing missing from this ‘brave new work’ of distance learning is the human touch. Those of us who have used Zoom or Teams during lockdown acknowledge the efficiency of these meetings, but the down side is the inability to for us to pick up cues, from either the person speaking or from the people listening; the lack of the human element.
What these interesting times has given us is a new lens on working, playing and the importance of human contact. Perhaps this has opened the door for brave new work.
Update from Ministry of Education
The Ministry has kept in touch with schools, particularly about having children back on site, in order that we have appropriate distancing and handwashing. They are supplying all schools with hand sanitiser which is great because it has been difficult to find.
There is no word yet on proposed time frames for getting children back to school. I am sure you will hear about that at the same time as I hear, but I will update you if there are any developments that have not been shared through the media.
In the meantime, stay safe in your extended bubbles.