Remote Learning Lessons: Opportunities and Challenges

In this article Brett Salakas reflects on how teachers have had to adapt over the past year when delivering remote learning lessons

Remote Learning Lessons: Opportunities and Challenges

You are not Kevin Costner and this is NOT Field of Dreams!!!

The past year has presented educators around the globe with a multitude of challenges, one of the most prominent has been ensuring quality pedagogy during ‘Remote Learning’.

It is important to note that despite the strong negative narrative there are several potential positive aspects to home-based ‘remote learning’. For many students (but definitely not all) learning at home can allow unique opportunities for students to engage with nature, connect with their family and focus on physical health. However, the 1989 classic film Field of Dreams provides educators with a timely warning!

In the film, Kevin Costner’s character undergoes a great change by moving from the city to live as a farmer. After hearing a voice saying, “If you build it, they will come,” he cuts down his cornfield and builds a baseball diamond. Movie magic ensues and baseball heroes of a bygone era appear and play.

The world has experienced great changes too, just like Costner’s character. We shifted from our familiar schools and classrooms to new and unique learning locations. But we are NOT in a Hollywood film and just because “we build it,” it does not mean students and families will come and learn. Remote learning is a complex balance of online content and personalised interactions.

Remarkable teachers have ensured that effective pedagogies are in place wherever possible. They know that unlike Kevin Costner’s magical baseball field if they just build an online place to learn students won’t magically arrive and educate themselves. A strategic, structured approach is required.

To help students’ experience great learning, remarkable teachers have had to be supported and enabled by remarkable leaders.

View the video below on remarkable teachers and leaders who follow the concept of Seth Godin’s ‘Purple Cow Theory’

We also know that the experience of teachers will never be matched by parents. Teachers are professional experts with years of training of curriculum knowledge and motivating skills to engage reluctant learners, in individual, small group and whole-class settings. Many parents will not have these attributes. So, to best support students do we also need to ask we need to ask ourselves the question, how we can best upskill and support parents and carers?

It is of utmost importance that both teachers and parents work together to implement practical and evidence-based solutions to these challenges. It is only together that we can best support the learning of our students!


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