What matters most in the post-lockdown classroom

Audrey Pantelis
Audrey Pantelis is an Educational Consultant and Director of Talespin Consultancy Ltd. Talespin Consultancy offers training and support to schools and organizations on diversity and inclusion; leadership support and development including coaching. Audrey was a founding Head of School of a free Special School in North West London for five years, leading the school to its first Section 5 Ofsted inspection where the school gained a judgement of ‘Good” with Outstanding features. She has been in education – from unqualified teacher to senior leader - for the past thirty years.
 
Follow @Audiekins

 The process of getting us back to where we were is currently hesitant, uncertain and we are not the same as we were. We have all been changed, regardless of  how you considered your mental state to be. We are very aware that the world is uncertain – and it’s not just about coronavirus. Along with the change of/lack of routine, we can identify five barriers of uncertainty that have come about from this crisis:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Aversion and ill-will
  • Sensory pleasure
  • Sloth and torpor
  • Doubt

We all bring varying degrees of these obstacles to our workplaces as we return – or in the case of teachers and school leaders – or continue to work through the changing world we inhabit. As educators, we are expected to have all the answers – but we don’t. There’s a lot of ‘noise’ (think ‘government guidance’ and media analysis of educators that is anything but!!) in the world of education and as we navigate our way through this liminal place, we no longer have certainty in the answers that we once relied on in the classroom and indeed in the educational system.

While there is a lot of analysis on what is needed with regards to ‘lost learning’, there is a real need to address some of the basics that need to be put in place to ensure that successful learning can begin to take place. More importantly, there is a conversation to be had on what is taught – we were already in the process of looking at curriculum review prior to the pandemic. In light of the #BlackLivesMatter consciousness/awareness, this has enabled some thinking of how we manage our approaches to learning and how we are more inclusive.  

We also need to recognize that we are all holding so many different voices and we carry trauma in our bodies – it’s a sensory experience. It definitely contributes to the list of hindrances of uncertainty and we are all bringing some form of trauma – whether we have physically suffered the loss of family or friends from Covid 19 – or our loved ones and family contributing to the front line through their work and the difficulties that this brings up. A definition of trauma is given below:

 “Trauma is an experience or series of experiences and/or impacts from social conditions, that break or betray our inherent need for safety, belonging and dignity.”  Staci K. Haines

I believe that we need to primarily focus on good relationships and good educational outcomes but before we can build on this we need to rediscover the basics – the ‘look’ of school and how to manage this; re-establishing relationships (parents were teachers, so what are teachers now? What do parents need to learn from teachers?); the process of learning – is it important? Why is it important? We need to develop a model of interconnectedness between teachers, pupils and families. Nurturing – at all levels – is crucial in gaining the certainty that we crave, whether we present this outwardly or not. Schools are inundated with demands from so many stakeholders and audiences.  

The following key points are important to consider as we return to our classrooms – which, in all honesty, will look and feel different:

  • The focus on relationships was crucial but it’s now a non-negotiable part of our pedagogy – between all stakeholders 
  • Staff wellbeing is not a bolt on – it’s an essential and integral part of re-building the school’s resilience
  • Inclusion of children and young people’s viewpoints is required in ensuring their voices are heard in order to promote a strengthened sense of belonging 
  • Reassurance from ALL staff that the environment is SAFE will reduce anxiety – potentially through challenging behaviours -  from children and young people
  • Consistency is key – good communication will reduce mixed messages

More importantly is the need to recognize that we are teaching the next generation to not only be academically able, but to be successful, confident, happy and resilient human beings. Modelling these attributes through the delivery of values based activities will assist in this objective.

 Looking for more resources to support your teaching and learning? Check out the best education technology resources on our sister platform EdTech Impact.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"