WRITTEN BY KALEA HARAN, HEAD OF SECONDARY SCHOOL, AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Working from Home for parents, combined with Home-Based learning for students can prove to be challenging times for families, at AIS we understand parents must be feeling the demand increasing with their children now also working from home. In the Secondary school at AIS, we aimed to design a curriculum that allows students to work as independently as possible, as well as supporting their wellbeing and keeping them engaged and motivated. We are mindful that the expectations and learning during this time will look different to when the students are at school in physical classrooms.
Our main goal was not to attempt to virtualise the whole school day. Our teachers worked hard to recreate learning resources that recognise this is home-based learning, very different from being in the classroom. We know parents may feel worried they have to take over the role of their child’s teachers. This is not the case; parents support their children through encouragement and helping them build their independent skills. The best thing to do if your child is stuck or unsure is to encourage them to ask their classmates and teachers. However, younger children may need to be supervised more, and provided with reminders and ensure that they are on task, but we encourage parents to allow their children to attempt tasks on their own. Home-based learning means students are facing new expectations. They are being asked to not only engage with the content being presented, but also work in a new learning environment, with the additional self-direction and self-discipline that online learning requires. This takes energy and a change in the way of thinking; therefore, Students’ wellbeing may be affected, and they have emotional response such as frustration or feel fatigued.
Wellbeing is an aspect AIS spent a lot of time embedding into home-based learning, on a regular school day students interact with each other, move from class to class and focus their attention from their computer to the teacher and toward different physical resources, learning online requires that attention is largely focused on the screen. It requires students and teachers to remain seated in front of their computer for more extended periods that would usually be experienced. For this reason, AIS teachers are designing a variety of activities for students’ which will provide opportunities for students to participate in a range of different activities away from the screen as well as exercise routines and meditation that can be done at home. Pastorally we are touching base with our students to support wellbeing with online through their home group and our Counsellors are also contactable if needed.
This is a difficult time for families and as a school, AIS has aimed to ensure all our students continue to have access to excellent teaching resources that allow for meaningful and enjoyable learning experiences.