Together we have entered the third term in our homeschooling mode. It is not clear whether this will remain in place for a matter of weeks or if it will continue until the end of this school year. As a result, it is necessary to be clear on our objectives for this term and how we will ensure their effective implementation. It is crucial to reflect on the school’s pedagogical approaches and to consider how we can continue to adapt our objectives and methodology to ensure learning and progress are ongoing in this unique time.
It is necessary to be clear on our objectives for
this term and how we will ensure their effective implementation.
From Nursery to Bachillerato our aim is to facilitate learning and provide new and exciting opportunities while eliminating the feeling of isolation and maintaining the strong community spirit that we take such pride in here at St. Peter’s. Awareness of the emotional impact of this experience is crucial while ensuring we maintain ongoing learning and progress at every stage. Every member of this school community is exercising new skills and challenging themselves to develop their attitudes to teaching and learning in the face of a worldwide pandemic.
To achieve these goals, we are working on three areas:
Approaches to learning
The school community has created a positive and stimulating environment which continues to identify strengths and support areas of improvement for each individual student. Our focus is on the development of skills that will help our students to succeed, not just in school but in life. Ensuring that improving these skills is integrated with delivering content helps us to provide a holistic approach to teaching. Since the start of this homeschooling period, different departments have ensured that they are taking the specific needs of their cohort into account and adapting teaching and learning to best support their students:
- Communication – personal, speaking and listening, reading and writing
- Social – accepting responsibility, adopting different roles and making decisions
- Thinking – critical and creative thought, evaluation and analysis
- Self-Management – time management, independence, organisation and motor skills
- Research – formulating questions, observing, presenting, interpreting and investigating
- Resilience – coping strategies, acceptance and consciousness
- Agency – taking action, expression, voice, choice and ownership
- Digital – critical usage of digital technologies, online safety and data literacy
The current situation has encouraged us to develop innovative and original ways of teaching. This new approach has challenged the students, teachers and families to develop the attitudes and personal attributes that we at St. Peter’s consider essential.
Across all the age groups and subject areas, we have continued to work on meeting objectives with regards to the content that we were working on in school.
There are two aspects we consider most important at this stage:
- To ensure that learning and progress continue, it is necessary to keep moving. Our aim is to avoid simply revisiting and reviewing previous learning but to ensure children are engaging with new concepts.
- It is not important to deliver “all” content previously programmed. Learning does not happen by delivering all the content, but by continuously developing the skills and objectives in every new unit.
In the earliest stages of education (Nursery 1- 2) activities are designed with a focus on creating contexts which promote fine motor skills, personal development, creativity and fostering an enjoyment of learning while continuing to extend fundamental thinking and language skills.
To ensure that learning and progress continue,
it is necessary to keep moving.
In the Foundation Stage (F3-5) there is an emphasis on developing literacy skills, phonic knowledge, mathematical thinking, exploration of the world around us, narrative literacy, the arts and physical development.
In Primary the contents follow a similar approach to that which was taught in school. The schedule continues to include a wide variety of specialist subjects, including Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). These subjects are crucial to exploring skills and approaches to dealing with the personal impact of the world we are living in, preparing students for the future.
In Secondary and Bachillerato the content remains the same and students continue to access core subjects and electives as before. The groupings assigned in school are still in place and classes are focusing on the same areas of learning: Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies, Mathematics, Science, Robotics, Arts and Physical Education.
Assessment must be used as a tool to enhance learning, not as a process for ‘measuring’ or ‘judging’ students. Notwithstanding the official requirements for evaluation, as a school we also feel it would be detrimental to eliminate evaluation altogether when faced with the challenge of the current situation. In education, it is important to recognise the power of evaluation as a means of obtaining necessary data to inform the ongoing teaching and learning process and determine its overall effectiveness based on the extent to which students are meeting objectives and making progress.
Assessment is a tool to enhance learning.
Eliminating it altogether would be detrimental.
Assessment ensures that approaches can be adapted, acting to best serve all members of the community. By understanding that evaluation is not governed by traditional standards but is in fact adapted to suit individuals and the current situation, it is possible to see its true benefits. The reports and grades for the third term will consider all relevant aspects of learning in this new and unfamiliar way. We will place focus on participation, attitudes, proactivity, attendance, digital competence and the skills outlined above.
Despite our eagerness to return to the classroom, we must celebrate the way in which we have tackled the challenges of this new uncertain reality. Our students have grown and matured, our teachers have demonstrated innovation and a willingness to take more risks, and our families have truly committed themselves to supporting this extraordinary learning process.
As a school we have the peace of mind that our students will be in no way disadvantaged by this period but will in fact have more skills and knowledge to support them in the future.
Head of Education