While schools and colleges have been closed, parents have been using online technology to “home school” their children. This practice has proved very difficult as the lockdown months have gone on. There is evidence that this isolation has caused some safeguarding issues and mental health concerns as children are missing their friends and routine.
There have also been disparities between families in how they have been able to help their children with their schooling. Many children have access to the internet at home to go online and continue their learning via Zoom and other programs, however, some disadvantaged children cannot access these facilities.
A Second Spike
Governments in Wales and England have found that getting children back into school after the lockdown is not an easy task. They face uncertainties regarding distancing, group sizes and scientific concerns that if we let our guard down too soon, there may be a second spike of the epidemic. However, many “experts” and parents are concerned that not re-opening schools could have a long-term impact on children’s education levels and well-being.
Current policies in Wales and England indicate that schools may not re-open until September. Examination results will not be an essential requirement to determine the future placement of older learners and use of a wide range of technology will be encouraged for individual and group participation
Changes Are Needed
During this period of “remote learning”, which we will remember for the rest of our lives, readers of Love Magazine will gain from reading a recently published book “Forget School” by Martin Illingworth (Independent Thinking Press).
In a brilliantly written text, the author discusses what schools can do to avoid being left behind. Based on his interviews and discussions with a range of young students, Martin considers that our schools and education policymakers need an urgent wake-up call in terms of the curriculum offered and the use of an increasing range of technology to promote teaching, learning and assessment.
He considers that new technology has made measuring student “achievement” by using tests to determine fact retention virtually redundant. Learners today can reach any information they wish by just clicking a mouse.
Understanding The Available Information
The book addresses a range of critical issues, in particular the need to place higher value on the capacity of learners to make use of and promote the understanding of information as opposed to merely retaining information.
Education providers must accept that this radical change in the availability of technology is having a universal impact upon the “what, where, when and why” that learners experience. As an example, reading and writing are competing with new forms of communication, including Facebook, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, films, etc. The “voices” in the book are openly frustrated that the curriculum offered and the use of technology for learning are not relevant to or meeting the life skills need.
Windows Of Opportunity
This is a thought-provoking book which examines crucial lessons for teachers, lecturers and administrators to avoid being left behind.
Title: Forget School
Paperback: 200 pages Language: English
Illingworth discusses “windows of opportunity” to promote change in terms of situations created by the pandemic. As a result of Covid-19, there will be a need for adaptation in terms of learning spaces, group activities, transition and catch- up programmes, motivation for independent learning and the long-term implications of the organisation of schooling.
Based on the ideas of Mr Illingworth and evidence from other countries of the world, the current closure of schools must be seen by education leaders as an opportunity for addressing radical change. The main talking points are:
- what we need to teach to prepare students for a successful future in terms of life experience, such as creativity, money management, developing talents, happiness, well-being, teamwork and resilience;
- the role of the teacher as a facilitator, mentor and coach;
- unlocking the potential of technology more widely and
This book encourages the reader to think about the closure of schools and the social implications of Covid- 19 as an opportunity to transform the approaches to learning currently in place and what educational facilities are offering.
This book is an outstanding contribution to the plan to move schools and colleges forward to meet the needs of clients and the changing technology available within a changing economic and social climate.
Book Review by John Morris of JTM Educational Consultants
John is a former headteacher, Ofsted inspector and adviser promoting learning, motivation and performance levels in several school and colleges.