We’re Not All in the Same Boat…

Richard Hull, Director, Talk The Talk

Students in full-time education are all in the same storm … though not necessarily the same boat. Indeed, much like we all are.

I don’t much like the phrase ‘home-schooling’ – instead I prefer ‘contingency education in a pandemic’. A pandemic that has claimed the lives of millions and one that has changed the world and the priorities of the people who exist here.

‘Catch-up’ is the current buzzword being used to describe the problems associated with nearly a year of ‘normal’ education having been lost to the Coronavirus pandemic. But what have students to catch up with? Is it academic progress?

There is certainly a case for funding additional academic support for those students without full access to online or face-to-face schooling over the past year. I am in no doubt that our expert school leaders and teachers, if encouraged, entrusted and empowered, will provide the appropriate support and intervention to ensure that the boats these students find themselves in do not sink beneath the waves.

But is that the only ‘catch-up’ we should be considering?

What about those who have either been in school or taught online … who do they have to catch up with? The boats of their predecessors? Those ships have sailed and it is nonsense to suggest that the role of catch-up is to bring students back on track with pre-pandemic expected levels of knowledge, curriculum content, study areas and assessment.

Students may not have made the same progress with their education over the past year as they would have done if they had physically been in school. That is a given. It must be accepted that this cannot be reversed and no amount of ‘catch-up’ can solve this issue. 

On the other hand, some students may have found their voice in the online world due to some of the disruptive elements normally seen in the classroom, not being present.

In our online workshops, students are asked the question, ‘What do you most look forward to when you return to school?’ The majority respond in the same way – ’talking to my friends … it’s not the same online …’

This is the real catch-up that we all need.

To see friends. To socialise and talk to one another. To spend time together and feel the buzz of human interaction. To have a daily routine, a sense or normality and hope for the future.

‘Catch-up’ can align the boats to face the future with an improved degree of parity, but the Covid storm has happened and we can’t do anything to change that.

Categories: News