Schools have been in the online mode for two months, and some pupils and students are slowly returning to their desks, although with some limitations. However, once the doors of our educational institutions are fully open again, we should not draw a line under distance education and return to the pre-crisis state again: everything that has been created for the purposes of online schooling in recent weeks should be further developed and turned into not only a self-contained alternative to classic forms of teaching but also their full-fledged part. At least that is the opinion of primary and secondary school teachers; in our latest webcast, we asked them how they judge the current situation and what they expect in the coming months.
What is the biggest challenge of online education in the future then? According to Hynek Bouchal, the director of the Gymnázium Havlíčkův Brod secondary school, the current situation is very challenging not only for schools and teachers but also for pupils and their parents; at the same time, however, it is an opportunity to undertake changes, which might have been postponed by school managements so far. For most Czech schools, one of such projects was the introduction of systems and tools for online schooling and their technical implementation; and according to the surveyed teachers, the biggest challenge of distance education of the future lies exactly in this area – i.e. in dealing with technical unpreparedness (of schools, teachers, and students) and platform fragmentation.
Grades vs. verbal evaluation: will the crisis decide?
Nevertheless, schools are far from winning by providing just the technical aspect of teaching: it is also necessary to adapt content and teaching methods. In this regard, evaluation represents a special category. Since it is no longer possible to examine pupils and students in front of the blackboard and online written tests have their limits, Zuzana Novosadská from Dino – High School sees a solution in replacing summative forms of evaluation (grades) with verbal evaluation, which is less limiting and overall better at reflecting a pupil’s abilities.
In principle, parents either approach this system positively, as they see an overlap in such assessment, or negatively, because they would not be able to see clearly how their child actually fares at school. A possible solution, in this case, would be to combine both forms of evaluation.
As has been mentioned several times, the coronavirus pandemic has brought many special changes to the educational system; above all, however, it has brought new and valuable experience, especially for teachers, who could benefit from it in the future.
Four practical tips straight from teachers
What worked for them during online lessons?
- Use the environment around you and your pupils; encourage them to interact with it and put your explanation in the context of the real world. Assign tasks that will help develop your pupils.
- Trust the pupils – They know best WHAT, WHEN, and HOW to do what they are supposed to do: give them enough freedom. Trust is a great motivation.
- Communicate more with your colleagues. Contact of any kind will help you build trust, motivation, and a sense of stability.
- And last but not least – be positive! Obstacles exist to be overcome.
Webcast Deloitte for Schools: synchronous vs. asynchronous teaching
Online teaching entails new requirements for the teaching itself, its form, and methodology. Therefore, in one of our webcasts, we focused on the differences between synchronous and asynchronous teaching and presented online tools that help put this form of teaching into practice: from realising online lectures to assigning homework and testing. We also summarised key information about the differences between standard and distance education in our article.