Ara aktar l-isfel għall-verżjoni bil-Malti.
The period we are going through at the moment is a challenge for all of us. Earlier today I came across this graphic, which I find to be very powerful.
This graphic challenges all of us to think and reflect on the sort of person we want to be, beyond any curricular content that schools in the traditional sense of the word are mostly concerned about. Of course everyone is worried about the fact that children are missing precious contact time with their teachers. If we ever needed proof that digital technology could ever replace the buzzing face-to-face interaction in the classroom, COVID-19 is the proof we needed. It simply cannot.
But back to the graphic. It is very easy to start pointing fingers and blame schools and teachers for something for which no-one was prepared. I am always fascinated by the fact that in any crisis, the number of experts multiplies exponentially. All of a sudden, everyone has advice to dispense. Everyone has a solution that would work if only someone else made more of an effort. Everyone knows more than the actual experts. The collective expertise of a whole professional community becomes second to what a single person says on social media. Even worse, are people who rather than calming troubled waters, incite fear and instigate others, hiding behind a screen and closed chat groups.
It is understandable that some parents may be worried about academic progress. As a school community we are very much aware of that. But we should be more worried about staying healthy, physically and mentally. Some new content can and will be covered remotely. The rest will be covered next scholastic year. We are already making plans for next year and I would like to reassure parents that we will do our utmost to mitigate the issues caused by school closure.
I am trying my best (even though I will be the first to admit that I am not always being successful) to see this experience as a learning one that will eventually lead to growth. This is the reason why all along I have been arguing for a change in mindset, in the way we think about things, and in the way we do things. It would be extremely easy for us to make tons of worksheets available for students to work through. Would it help our students? The answer is a definite no. Rather, we are carefully choosing activities and tasks that will push students to develop other skills and competences beyond content. Are we succeeding? As yet, I do not have an answer to that question, not because I lack the expertise, but because no-one has ever experienced anything of the sort. But we will give it our best.
Over the past years, digital technology has revolutionised the way we think and do things. If during this period, our children learn to navigate the digital world comfortably, then we could start appreciating and perhaps even being grateful for this opportunity.
As much as is humanly possible, we are monitoring what the children are doing remotely. Some children are diligently working on each task we are assigning, very obviously supported by their parents. I am seeing some of the work, and I am impressed but at the same time saddened by the fact that some children (and parents) have not even bothered. But let us blame schools and teachers for not doing enough… because that is easy.
One the biggest achievements at school over the past months has been “Freedom to Learn”. “Freedom to Learn” or F2L as we know, is an Erasmus+ project which we have been working on with a school in Italy and a school in Poland. It would be easy to argue that because schools are closed we cannot continue working on this project. Instead, we are thinking of how to make this project accessible to anyone who is interested even though schools are closed. We are working on the details and will let you know more soon. And yes, we are excited about it.
In the meantime, consider letting the children getting bored but really bored! And when they (or you) cannot take it any more, suggest that perhaps they should try reading a book. Until I was 10, I hated reading. Then one day I was so bored that I reluctantly grabbed a book. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I must have read that same book ten times over. Its pages are yellowed, its spine broken, but it holds a special place in my heart and my library at home. And if anyone of you wants to read it, it is called “Five on Finniston Farm” by Enid Blyton.
Or you may want to encourage your children to read this new book by Ġorġ Mallia – L-Avventuri Msaħħra ta’ Melanie u Karl.
We are fast approaching Easter. Under normal circumstances we would be looking forward to the Easter holidays. As it is, we cannot wait for that moment we will be able go back to school. Next week we will not post tasks per year group but a few tasks for all children to enjoy over the “holidays” while we plan the best way forward for what would have been the last term at school. Cherish this time together as an opportunity.
Rather than spreading fear, let us all learn and grow from this experience.
Head of School