The COVID-19 crisis has forced parents and experts to reevaluate the priorities of education. Some changes have been positive, including online homeschooling and technology developments, and could be here for good.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced radical changes in every facet of our lives—and education is no exception. What lessons is lockdown teaching us, and how might they alter the future landscape of UK schools?
Since Monday, 23 March 2020, the vast majority of children have been consigned to permanent homeschooling as part of the Government’s bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Lockdown has presented novel challenges to teachers, parents and pupils alike—but one silver lining is that the priorities of education and schools are being fundamentally reevaluated.
Over 100 countries have closed their schools, disrupting the education of almost one billion children worldwide. Teachers and government education departments have had to adapt rapidly during these unique circumstances. Shining examples of online tutoring and pedagogical innovation have brightened these murky times, which begs the question: will schools look different when we eventually return to normal life?
1) Appreciation for teachers
Whether they’ve been dropping off school supplies to pupils, preparing resources for remote learning or checking in on their students’ emotional wellbeing, teachers have been amongst the unsung heroes of lockdown—and many, of course, also have kids of their own to be looking after.
Now that parents are experiencing the trials and tribulations of just what it means to be a teacher during this impromptu era of nationwide homeschooling, teachers may experience a well-deserved surge of respect and admiration from parents and the public alike.
In March 2020, a survey of over 2,000 global education investors and executives across both public and private firms and institutions was conducted by HolonIQ, a market intelligence company within the education sector. Over half the respondents were pessimistic about the potential impact of COVID-19 on education technology. The majority felt that lockdown has shone an unflattering light on the failure of such technologies to adequately leverage the relationship between learner and teacher.
Interactive, adaptive science-based learning platforms may gain popularity, especially those that have approached the global crisis not to build a market share but to facilitate the continuation of children’s educations. Take Century, a UK platform which utilises AI and neuroscience to tailor education materials. Century have granted free access to children across 17 countries. “This is why we do what we do, and if we can help then we should,” said founder Priya Lakhani.
3) A new era of teaching
If the use of online education tools becomes increasingly standardised post-lockdown, the role played by teachers could be fundamentally altered. They might become more akin to mentors and coaches, supporting and supervising their students as they absorb the bulk of their curriculum from online materials. This in turn may place greater emphasis children leading their own studies—but at what age would such a transition take place, and how gradually?
4) Children’s wellbeing
In their 2019 book The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education, Professors of Education Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes warned that excessive mollycoddling of the new generation of schoolchildren was detracting from focus on the curriculum. But this unprecedented global crisis has highlighted precisely why children’s emotional wellbeing is so important—and not only for their mental health, but also for the good of their studies.
To what extent children’s wellbeing is realised as an imperative precondition for achievement is yet to be seen. However, the importance of making sure every child is afforded the requisite emotional support from their teachers—and, of course, caregivers—will surely be starkly obvious when we finally make it out the other side.
5) A shift to online homeschooling
Whilst lockdown homeschooling has been tough on parents, a lot of families have become accustomed to online learning. Many parents have realised the advantages of supplementing their own lessons with the assistance of professional online tutors for those subjects beyond the scope of their teaching abilities.
Furthermore, lest we forget that a lot of kids simply don’t enjoy school. For many personality types, homeschooling actually represents a better optimised learning environment. So whether or not the abovementioned projected changes do indeed come to fruition, homeschooling has made parents more aware of the online tutoring options available to them.
Minerva Tutors have been helping hundreds of parents nationwide with homeschooling during these tumultuous times. By providing a few hours’ immersive online tuition to students, we have freed up mums’ and dads’ time to focus on their own commitments—and thereby made their homeschooling efforts less stressful and more enjoyable for both them and their children.
Get in touch with Minerva Tutors today and, together, let’s help your child stay focused, happy and learning. Simply fill in our contact form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or WhatsApp us on +44 (0) 2088 193 276.