In Science, we have coped very well to adapt our teaching and learning towards non-human interaction. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us out of our laboratories to remote learning, but we have embraced the opportunities to learn new skills and strategies.
Our teaching is on course for transformation, and whatever good strategies we gain from the current experience will be used in future once the pandemic is over. We have been able to interact remotely and with as much face-to-face as possible thanks to Microsoft Teams. Our digital switch-over was implemented with minimum delay. We have had whole groups collaboratively complete Kahoot Science quiz tasks even though we all hailed from different locations.
One remarkable achievement is that when you work online, you are all one family and the help comes from anyone within the class! The pupils are sitting alone in their room, but the online classroom is filled with enthusiasm and support. The feedback from both the science teachers and pupils at the end of the lesson shows that pupils have moved from point A to point B in their learning. For example, a Year 7 Science class managed to balance chemical equations remotely. Balancing chemical equations is GCSE work and often reserved for the higher tier pupils than foundation, but our top set in Year 7 Science successfully balanced the equations.
The pupils have excellent IT skills, and their teachers are subject experts. The learning, therefore, goes both ways, and the parents have come in handy to support us too. Some of our new classroom rules came from the pupils themselves: everyone has to mute their microphone to reduce background noise and only un-mute when the teacher asks the pupil to say out an answer.
Although temporary, online learning has become the kingpin of our teaching model in Science and at Bethany. The Science department staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for the lessons, and their enthusiasm is second to none! Here is what they have had to say:
“I am testing metals and non-metals remotely on Friday”
“Sharing a presentation with pupils while in a video meeting and talking over it works well. I’ve used that in all of my lessons so far, you control the slides and just talk them through it. There is also a virtual whiteboard you can share with them if it’s too hard to juggle a real-life one! Overall, I’m quite liking this and getting used to it”
“I used a TV that I got from the Headmaster’s family for a STEM project. The TV was made into a stand for supporting the whiteboard that I mounted vertically. I then beamed my camera to the whiteboard, and the kids had live videos of what I was teaching in Physics”
In conclusion, online teaching and learning work when the teachers are dedicated to their job, and the pupils show hunger for learning. The Science staff and pupils will continue to adapt to any circumstance that we face at Bethany.
Covid-19 has forced us to look outside the horizons for answers. We will be the world’s pathfinders in innovation in education.