Learning through Lockdown
Posted: 28 July 2020
“Tell me and I’ll forget.
Teach me and I’ll remember.
Involve me and I’ll learn”.
Being Round Square an international network of like-minded schools that has experiential learning at its heart, we believe that learning is much more significant and transformative when students are given the opportunity to discover and develop their unique profiles of passion and talents.
Learning by doing is about experiences that enable students to make discoveries, to accept failure as a part of the learning process and to become lifelong learners that will see the world as explorers always ready to be surprised. As was reported on a recent article published by the ASCD in Service journal: “Students need to develop an understanding of their own role in the learning process and be expected and encouraged to see themselves more as agents, or ideally owners, of their own learning. For such ownership and agency to be developed students will need to assume greater responsibility, understand new expectations, and be introduced to this new or growing role in stages. Taking ownership, and agency, should be seen by both teachers and learners to be a process, and not the flicking of a switch”.
The lockdown that was implemented worldwide as a means of stopping the spread of COVID-19 faced schools with an unprecedented challenge: to develop their online learning platforms and be ready for virtual teaching, accordingly adjusting curriculums and timetables in an attempt to keep providing quality education and keep students engaged. Yet, if “schooling must put students’ curiosity at the center of the teaching and learning process and make room for hands-on, playful, and experiential learning (“Leapfrogging inequality. Remaking education to help young people thrive” by Rebecca Winthrop with Adam Barton and Eileen McGiverney) we might wonder how did schools manage to achieve this in times of lockdown and social distancing.
The experience of our schools around the world has provided enough evidence to show that the restriction of the physical environment turned out to be a unique opportunity to find creative and collaborative approaches to keep infusing the mindset, knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an interconnected world. These are only some examples of the way in which the Round Square IDEALS made their way through lockdown in the shape of collaborations, projects, forums and virtual meetings, amongst others:
- The Doon School in India participated in the First Ever Online edition of Harvard’s United Nation Model.
- Godspell College in Argentina had online conversations around themes related to COVID-19 with students from Canadá and India during their “Thank you Postcards” collaboration project.
- Keimei Gakuen in Japan hosted a Zoom postcard session during which they shared the richness of the Japanese culture.
- St Mary’s School Colchester in UK kept beautiful journals during the period of remote learning.
- Ashbury College in Canada organised a joint discussion on the pandemic with other Round Square schools using the UN sustainable Development Goals as the lens
- The International Community School in Ghana sent out positive messages to raise awareness about the importance of staying home.
- Belgrano Day School in Argentina hosted a Postcard around the world session to discuss fake news.
- Dover College in the UK engaged in active discussions and debates on how society works to promote a sense of personal responsibility.
- SAI International School in India launched a challenge about art culture across the globe.
- St. Philips in Australia celebrated Diversity Day.
- St Stithians College in South Africa put together an amazing virtual music performance as parts of their Saints Moments.
- Rothesay Netherwood in Canada held a virtual BLISS meeting to build relationships between students in different grades.
- Newcastle Grammar School in Australia worked hard to encourage a sense of Environmentalism within their community
- Primary students at MacLachlan College turned into detectives for a day and explored the nature around them
- St Constantine’s International School in Tanzania set a 30 day physical challenge to keep students active and healthy.
- Indian High School in Dubai offered yoga classes to help improve student’s concentration before their google classroom session.
- Aubrick School in Brazil encouraged students to create their own “bugs” during their amazing Arts Classes!
- Students from AKS Lytham in UK painted pebbles as a sign of hope and to help spread joy.
- The adventure council at Markham College in Perú engaged students to find adventure at home and hosted an incredible online sleepover
- Stanford Lake College in South Africa invited students and parents to learn how to play an instrument together during lockdown
- Sunbeam School Lahartara in India hosted a video competition around the theme ‘Through Our Lens’.
- Students from Singapore International School composed, recorded and shared a “Corona Song” video which you can watch here
- Windermere School in UK challenged their students to join a skipping challenge.
- Glenlyon Norfolk School in Canada took part in a physical education online bingo.
- Brookhouse School in Nairobi shared their progress with the Round Square leadership IDEALS Challenge
- DAIS in India launched a student led initiative of planning skill enhancing activities to keep children engaged during lockdown.
- Elaraki’s student vice president of the Adventure pillar shared a video message about leadership in action.
- A group of students from Colegio Los Nogales in Bogotá put on a musical performance and shared their flag raising ceremony.
- The Athenian School (USA) , Hotchkiss School (USA) , Holy Innocents Episcopal School (USA) , ICS Ghana and Craighouse School (Chile) joined a 90-minute Zoom conversation of ways in which different countries are responding to the Covid-19 emergency
- Primary students at Ivanhoe Grammar in Australia dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up to show they are young people of character.
- Radford delivered e-cards to those in need through their Radfor Radcreates service learning during lockdown.
- St Andrew’s College in South Africa delivered food parcels to needed families.
- Bayview Glenn in Canada launched the Bayview Glenn Dryphons Donation Drive in support of a local food bank.
- HIM Academy Public School in India prepared home made gifts to give out.
- San Silvestre School in Lima invited their students to participate in the challenge of completing 30.000 protection kits that were donated to health carers.
- ICS students in Zurich motivated their students to knit squares for their neighbours.
There is no doubt that learning communities were strengthened and thrived during these past months, and that the bonding brought about by the need to connect with like minded schools will continue to grow strong in years to come. As the above examples show, being part of a vibrant network is a great catalyst to creative approaches, a good source of virtual playmates, and a great way to share and celebrate all that is being achieved.
Creative partners can create a better world. Amazing and courageous global communities can do so as well.