It has been a great start to our week with most of our students back at school. Across NZ schools on Monday, attendance levels were at around 80%. For the first two days this week we have had 87% and 89% of students back. Brilliant to see our learners so keen to get back into their learning at school and of course catch up with their friends.
The lockdown period has led to some deep reflection and discussion regarding what learning could and should look like at RJHS if we are to truly reach our vision of creating, ‘connected, collaborative and community-minded’ learners. Our vision has always been to make learning happen in a way that allows students the opportunity to connect learning across different learning areas, connect with areas of interest and/or passion to them and for them to be able to make a difference with their new learning. This connectedness can then be used for learners to make a difference within the different communities we are connected to.
Over the last eight weeks many students showed us that they are more than capable of managing their own learning when we, as teachers, scaffolded the learning appropriately. This saw learners having more flexibility with the way they approached learning, completed their learning and showed their learning. We saw many students really flourish in the environment that had been thrust on us all. So how do we ensure we can recreate this scenario for learners now we are back at school and enhance it with the additional face to face time?
We of course also found that we had a number of students who did not have the skills required to manage themselves over this time as well. Sometimes, as teachers, we found ways to make the learning more accessible, sometimes learning had to take a back seat because of challenges at home but more often than not students could not manage or access their learning because they did not have the skills to do so. Skills such as identifying priorities, managing time, asking good questions, being resilient and resourceful are qualities that we want to ensure we deliberately develop in whatever approach we take here at school. We need to look for opportunities to deliberately model and teach these types of skills to our learners. To do this we need to offer opportunities where students are guided, coached and supported in their learning.
Over the next two to three eNews bulletins we will communicate some changes to our Semester 2 programme that we know will support all learners in becoming ‘connected and collaborative’ learners. While many of our key systems will remain the same, for instance, Year 7 and 8 learners staying in their module sets with the Maths and English teachers staying the same, we will be making some changes to how we connect learning from one module to the next, how we ensure each learner is coached and supported with key learning across modules and how we construct our teaching teams. Please look out for more information coming soon on the details!
From the start of this week I have also challenged teachers to ensure we keep going with some of the flexible access to learning. To achieve this, all learning will be hosted in Schoology, workshops and other learning opportunities will be presented in multiple ways and learners should be offered multiple ways to demonstrate their learning.