COVID-19 has put new demands on the triple bottom line, and there is no one manual or exit for and from the current situation.
Though we currently experience a partial lockdown, the unpredictability of the pandemic is real, and the restrictions on social and physical interaction remain in place.
COVID-19 did not only disrupt learning as the pandemic manifested new opportunities for more and continued learning through personal and professional development initiatives.
COVID-19 presented unique opportunities for educators to rethink and redesign what it means to teach and learn in the 21st century and beyond. Personally speaking, the Pandemic offers a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to address the gross inequalities and inadequacies in the Educational system.
In the article, I impart six lessons schools can take away from the pandemic as observed during my work with teachers in Nigeria during the peak of lockdown.
- Together we can achieve so much more: Teachers discovered intrinsic and new strengths within themselves and among colleagues.
- Teachers bonded during a time of adversity: Teachers talked, listened, and worked
with parents, community, and outside groups to co-design and co-deploy solutions.
- Teachers employed a plethora of technology: Teachers swiftly learned the power of educational Apps such as Zoom, Doodle polls, Padlet, Seesaw, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams.
- Personal Development Planning PDP & Continuous Professional Development CPD: During the lockdown, Teachers benefited from more professional development opportunities and joined more professional (online) chats than ever before.
- Learning, unlearning and relearning. STARR – Situation. Tasks. Actions. Result. And… Reflect… Teachers know that this is no ordinary start of term. Teachers must now be deliberate in learning and development and must invest in digital literacy.
- Technology-Adoption Maturity: During the lockdown, many teachers were finally able to make successful cases for tech-adoption in their schools.
Teachers should continue to work collaboratively and share best practices within and beyond their schools. Teachers who had the support of management and whose management believed in technology found it easier to adapt to online learning during the lockdown.
I think teachers showed their invaluable worth during the lockdown. We should support our teachers and build on this with the provision of funding and specialised training that not only supports classroom but lifelong learning outside the classroom.
We should focus on teachers (physical and mental) health and wellbeing and ensure that the anxieties and uncertainties faced daily are supported and listened to and that our schools, as well as Governance, provide positive and safe teaching environments.