Five things we at Kings Oxford have learnt during the pandemic
As we slowly return to ‘normal’ life and the majority of our students return to in-person teaching this term, we reflect on what the pandemic has taught us. Written by Kings Oxford school principal, John Gale.
1. School is more than just a physical building.
It is the heart of our community. It is what draws us together on a daily basis. Life as a Kings Oxford student has a fundamental role in our students’ society, enabling them to thrive and flourish in a holistic way. It defines the fibre of who we are and how we understand ourselves within the broader globalised world.
2. Relationships comprise the fabric of schooling.
Our teachers care deeply about the students at Kings Oxford. The work of our teachers, and broader staff, is deeply embedded in forming positive relationships and building, nurturing and supporting these relationships. This is fundamental to our core values at Kings Oxford and these relationships are incredibly important in supporting student’s learning and holistic development. What we have learnt is that this is extremely challenging to replicate through the virtual learning environment. The work of curriculum cannot be effectively realised when detached from the relational.
3. Education is innately pastoral, with care and empathy at its core.
This has most recently been evidenced in our outreach activities. Our Pastoral Care team have been providing social and emotional support to students and their families via daily contact from one of our dedicated welfare staff. Much of the work we do here at Kings Oxford is embedded within this ethic of care and empathy. We are particularly conscious of supporting student’s wellbeing during challenging times.
4. Schooling at distance is highly challenging, but also rewarding.
This applies to staff and students alike. There are difficulties with technology which creates additional headaches for staff but also has encouraged us to be creative in what, and how, we are teaching. For students the value of independent learning has been thrust to the forefront of their minds. Although some have found this very demanding this will have served as a valuable lesson in terms of preparation for university life. We have improved our student tracking processes to be able to offer proactive support to students that are genuinely struggling.
5. Learning should be fun to foster creativity and innovation.
At Kings Oxford we believe that student engagement is key to effective teaching and learning. Engaging students in interesting, self-directed activities allows them to explore, take risks, build confidence and learn new skills ultimately fostering their creativity and innovation, as well as providing the best possible results. The importance of engagement has emerged as an essential focus for our teaching staff during the pandemic. It is important that despite teaching and learning online we don’t lose student engagement as the core of our teaching and learning at Kings Oxford.