I was in a lesson observation today when a student put up his hand to ask a question. He said, “Excuse me, can I go out for (COVID) testing?” The teacher said, “Yes, go ahead”, and the lesson proceeded as normal. What a different time we are living in. Fortunately at XLIS this is only the fourth time we have had to go online and we have been in-person for the better part of the 2020-2021 school year and the 2021-2022 school year so far. There are schools in other parts of the world who have been online now for nearly two years due to the pandemic. This most recent time I have been extremely impressed by the resilience of our community. I am experiencing a community coming together, supporting each other with a common goal.
Our goal at XLIS is to enable confident, open-minded, global citizens through life-long learning and a sense of community. This continued as we made the move to blended learning after the Christmas break. By blended learning we mean a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. During synchronous sessions, students meet with teachers and their classmates in real time over Boom. We have found that working with smaller groups is more effective than to have the whole class together. Teachers usually meet with students in small groups so that they can provide more accurate feedback and give students more opportunities to have input.
It is very challenging working from home while having three children learning online. Whether you have one child or five, balancing work life, lockdown, testing and online learning is difficult. For this reason, teachers also provide asynchronous tasks for students on our communication platform Seesaw. This way, if a child misses a lesson, is sharing a device, experiences Wi-Fi issues or just needs some time away from the screen, there is an option to do the work later.
My role during this time is to observe lessons and provide feedback to teachers. I am very much enjoying seeing the students and teachers and the quality of instruction that is taking place. Teachers are continuing to plan, teach and assess our learning outcomes. Ms. Zialcita works with teachers on their unit planning and assessment tasks. Students will also be taking their reading and writing assessments from home in the coming weeks.
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Author: Brian Lalor (Primary Principal)