St Patrick’s College senior students Lilli Crumblin and Ivy Dugdale (second and third from right) have spoken of the challenges involved with working from home. Picture: Shane Zahner
St Patrick’s College senior students Lilli Crumblin and Ivy Dugdale (second and third from right) have spoken of the challenges involved with working from home. Picture: Shane Zahner

COVID 19: Expert‘s remote learning tips for Gympie teachers

A UNIVERSITY of the Sunshine Coast expert has encouraged teachers to “prioritise student welfare” to help them adapt to the coronavirus-induced world of remote learning and social distancing.

School of Education lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy Dr Alison Willis said now was the time to “let go of lofty educational goals” and place more importance on students feeling cared for, heard and encouraged as they attempt to complete their studies from home.

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St Patrick’s College Year 12 students Ivy Dugdale and Lilli Crumblin both spoke of the difficulties they anticipated with transitioning to an isolated and impersonal classroom environment as the pandemic continued through their senior year.

Educational researcher and author Dr Alison Willis has some advice for teachers navigating the tricky new world of remote learning in the coronavirus crisis.
Educational researcher and author Dr Alison Willis has some advice for teachers navigating the tricky new world of remote learning in the coronavirus crisis.

“A lot of us are doing our ATAR and we haven’t been able to have that one-on-one time with our teachers,” Lilli said.

Dr Willis suggested multiple ways teachers could try and maintain a sense of connection with their students while social distancing measures remained in place.

“Routinely check in to see how they are going. Ask them to email you about what they did today, or if possible organise a video link up at a regular time. For some kids, their safe place is school and their teachers are their most reliable adults,” Dr Willis said.

“Many teachers will be feeling torn between their sense of care and duty to these children and the knowledge that they need to isolate.

Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin.
Year 12 St Pats student Lilli Crumblin.

“For students who don’t have technology, teachers will be picking up the phone and checking in that way. Student-teacher connections are a vital lifeline for many students.”

Dr Willis said phone calls and video conferences would be “very important” in building trust during the pandemic and gave examples of what students of all ages could do to remain productive despite the interruptions to classroom learning.

“If we can keep primary school aged students reading, writing and doing math at this time I think that’s a big win. Staying physically active is going to be very helpful too,” she said.

“For high school students, if we can encourage them to create as much content as they consume online, then they’ll automatically be using their literacy and numeracy skills.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to be making mini-documentaries, music videos and coding their own apps and games.

“At all ages, encourage kids to be creative and innovative with the resources they have. Great inventions have always originated from great need.”

Dr Willis pointed to a free open access public lecture about how teachers respond to student stress for more tips.

Watch the lecture at https://mediasite.usc.edu.auMediasitePlay/37efdeaa34c443c281e5221e9613bd041d.