Schools in Victoria were reopened late last term, only to be closed again in July. All students in years prep to year 12 gradually moved back from remote to face to face learning. The government put in place several measures to safeguard the health of both students and teachers, but unfortunately, the measures did not do enough.
Upon relaxing restrictions in June 2020 the resurgence of infection in several areas became apparent. This has prompted the authorities to reimpose multiple control measures in urban Melbourne. These included stage 3 restrictions in 12 postcode and quarantine measures were also imposed to limit the movement of people in these areas.
Since stage three restrictions, and now stage 4 restrictions are being reimposed on millions of Victorians for six weeks, schools are momentarily closed, and students in metropolitan Melbourne will be learning remotely for the foreseeable future.
Public health and education experts agree that it is essential for students to go back to school as soon as possible, however, the question remains on how to do it safely once infection rates subside. There are several radical ideas for reopening, but authorities have not officially announced these measures.
Remote learning and its impact on students, teachers and parents
As schools transition their core learning and instruction to a remote-based model, the majority of teachers are now using Google Classroom and Zoom as an essential online learning tool. So, they have quickly designed their lesson plan based on these changes and how to integrate the current curriculum to remote learning.
The impact of moving from face-to-face learning to online schooling has been felt not only by teachers but also by students and parents. In fact, it is now essential for parents to support their children and provide them with a distraction-free space for their schooling.
Parents should also block specific apps and software in their child’s mobile and computer devices that might potentially distract them from their studies. Most importantly, students must develop their time management skills and find the right balance needed for remote learning to be effective.
Advice for VCE students and parents
It is essential for VCE students to regularly monitor their school portal or official digital platforms for announcements and feedback from their teachers. Students should also do their best to complete all the tasks required of them; they need to meet timelines and due dates.
Also, they must always show up in time even if it’s an online class and communicate openly with their teachers if they are encountering technical difficulties or other personal concerns. Lastly, they must continue to collaborate with their classmate and follow the school’s behaviour guidelines.
As parents, we need to help our children establish routines and expectations so they’ll continue to be motivated with their schoolwork. We should also monitor the progress of our children and continue to communicate with their teachers and know their feedback. Most importantly, we must determine how much time they’re spending online and help them manage and pace their work, so they don’t get overwhelmed. It is also important to recognise whether or not your child needs an English tutor early, so they can get the support they need before it is too late.
Advice for teachers
Since Victoria is currently in stage 4 lockdown and schools are closed for the time being. So, teachers and students are back to remote learning as usual. This means teachers should provide various resources online to help their students cope up with the abrupt transition to home learning.
They must also encourage students to participate and show up on their online class on time, and complete their required assignments. Most importantly, teachers should keep everything simple and clear so students can follow all the instructions given to them, especially when it comes to the primary apps used in their online classes.
Teachers should not use too many different apps, platforms, or introduce different classroom routines because this may confuse students and discourage them in the long run.
Overall, no single measure is perfect, and there are no guarantees, but these approaches will reduce the risks and offer increased protection for both students and teachers.