We are experiencing a situation that has never been seen before in Europe. Schools are closed everywhere, even kindergartens and other educational institutions have closed. The pupils are at home, but they should still be taught. This is also a completely unfamiliar situation for the teachers.
How does the Janusz Korczak School work with its students? We were told on Friday that the school would not be open after Monday. So the teachers met at the school on Monday to discuss how to organize the lessons for the students. Materials were copied and put into envelopes. So the first assignments were sent to the students’ homes by post. But that was only the beginning. How can teaching go on, when the materials are completed?
In Germany, many people are talking about how important digitisation is for schools. Teaching should also take place online and new forms of digital learning should become possible. But not all schools are well prepared for this. And now we all have to deal with it somehow – teaching online.
At our school there is no common concept for this, each teacher works according to his or her own ideas, usually in consultation with colleagues from the class team. There are many ideas: Material is sent by email, there are some platforms that can be used for online learning. Our school has a subscription to Microsoft Office 365, but unfortunately not all classes use it yet, and not all teachers are experienced in using it.
In addition, many students come from educationally disadvantaged parents’ homes. Support from the parents is difficult even in normal times. Homework is not checked and the parents often cannot help. This becomes even more of an obstacle in the Corona crisis. Many parents are no better at computers than their children. So the students are left alone and do not work on the material.
In some families there are no or only few digital devices. If several siblings then have to access a single computer to perform their tasks, conflicts quickly arise.
We try to help the families as much as we can. Telephone support is provided almost daily, creative solutions can often be found. What is missing in any case is personal contact with the students. In a video lesson you cannot notice so quickly that a pupil is not well and may need support in a difficult situation.
We all hope that this strange situation will soon change again. Perhaps after the Easter holidays, lessons can take place again in the school building in a different form. But all this is still completely uncertain. The health and well-being of all people is more important in any case.
The Janusz Korczak School wishes all partners of the project and all interested people who follow our blog all the best for the next weeks. Above all, stay healthy!