How Has Teaching and Learning Changed Due to COVID-19?

Entry 4-October 9th

Family Feedback

Reflections/Feedback – Information Literacy Spaces

Returning to the communication topic from my last post, I want to now examine family feedback, and how crucial it can be in general, but specifically during a pandemic. Parents always want to know how their children are doing academically, but now that being on campus can be a matter of life and death, parents have numerous questions about the health and safety of their children. My son’s school, Pechersk School International (PSI), has put a lot of time and effort into modifying their campus, and putting in regulations to safeguard the students and staff. In the summer, all families received a Back to School Guide and accompanying video to take parents through the important decisions that were made, and the expectations of staff, students, and families going forward. Attached to the Back To School Guide, is a Google Document, which allows parents to continually ask questions which are answered by the Director, the school doctor, a CDC consultant, or one of the principals. Not having any direct experience with other schools, to search for norms, I can say with great confidence that PSI is exemplifying gold-standard measures for safety, communication, and for focusing on emotional wellbeing. To help students adjust to their hybrid learning situation, an advisory program has been established in the secondary school to ensure social-emotional learning is emphasized during this time of uncertainty. This class allows students time for questions, for games and for reflection.

Even with all the steps PSI has taken, and all the information they have sent out, the questions continue. Speaking to some of my friend’s who are teachers, they are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of emails they are receiving from parents. How do we ensure we are offering a sufficient amount of feedback, without experiencing teacher burn-out?

Ways to Provide and Receive Feedback from Students and Families

Please take 'return to school' parent survey, closes June 12 -  Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District
Surveys

Surveys let you know if the information you are providing is having the desired effect. Surveys also let you quickly see a graph or a tangible number to confirm or contradict your assumptions about parental satisfaction. There are several survey apps which make sending and receiving results quick and easy.

Video assessment killed the clip art star | The Scientific Teacher
Videos

Sometimes parents can get bogged down in all the newsletters, classroom information, or district e-mails. Just like students, it helps to cater to all types of learners in your community. One way to make parents feel at ease, especially if they are not allowed on campus is to make a video showing the measures you or your school has in place to keep them safe.

Eastern Michigan University to host virtual town hall, 'Empowering  Communities in Responding to the Challenges with COVID-19' - EMU Today
Virtual Town Hall

At PSI we have weekly town hall meetings which are recorded to ensure all parents can stay informed regardless of their schedule. This is another great way to impart information, but also for parents to ask or text questions and receive answers live. This way you may receive an answer to a question you didn’t realize you had!

Document Clipart Google Doc - Google Docs Logo Png , Free Transparent  Clipart - ClipartKey

You can start a Google Document to allow parents to ask any questions and then the answers will remain to allow for any parents to easily retrieve information that has already been posted. This can save time and allow a place for ongoing communication.

Keeping parents in the loop and providing them with a consistent place to ask questions will ease tensions throughout the year. Having said that, you do need a time to switch off. Clearly state to parents your communication policy. If you do not answer emails during school hours or after 9:00 P.M. for example, make parents aware of this:

“Teachers who sense scrutiny from parents and administrators during this time when their struggles are observed have more difficulty coping. Teachers who perceive collegial support, who set limits on their time and who practice self-understanding are more successful in recovering efficacy and coping” (Guerin, 2020).

Source

Guerin, C. 2020. How to Prevent Teacher Burnout During the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/how-to-prevent-teacher-burnout-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-139353.

2 thoughts on “How Has Teaching and Learning Changed Due to COVID-19?”

  1. Hi Leah,

    You definitely share some incredibly important points in this blog post, as tensions are still running high despite being a few weeks into the school year. Much of the worry stems from uncertainty, and it was a great challenge to navigate through this as we were just entering September. Even we teachers were practically going in blind, and changes were happening almost on the daily. Many parents had (and still have) questions, and it is important for us to address these concerns to the best of our abilities. Thank you for the resources and strategies you have shared, and I do wish my school could adapt a number of them such as the frequent town halls and simple surveys.

    Ricardo M

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ricardo. I feel blessed that my son attends PSI, as they are going above and beyond what I believed was possible. When one of my friend’s kids first started remote learning, his assignment for the first week was to set up his work station. One week and all he had to do was decide where he was going to work. This also supposes that he will have a permanent work station. Some people use the kitchen table, the dining room table or a shared desk. During the week when he was “setting up his work station,” my son was working on his exhibition project for Grade Five. He had to focus on the UN Sustainability Goals to create a report, a persuasive writing piece, and a speech to present his knowledge on the topic of sustainable travel. Additionally he was tasked with PE lessons, in which he had to videotape himself participating in the lessons. He had art projects to complete, he had music sessions, and math and reading assignments. I can’t get over the difference in our experiences. On top of which, like you pointed out, we have great support provided though surveys, Google Docs for questions and numerous town hall meetings.
      I’m sorry to hear that your school has not adopted some of the feedback strategies, but the difference may be due to the fact that my son’s school is an International Private School. Also, our school Director is amazing! She truly values excellence in teaching, learning and providing the best experience possible for the students. I know it can’t be easy to be navigate this situation. I hope as we gain experience in dealing with this pandemic we are better able to provide safe and transparent solutions to hep people cope during our current reality.
      Thanks again for your comments.

      Like

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