Fidelma Murphy, Director of Education of Cognita Schools in Spain, the international educational group The British School of Barcelona is part of, was one of the keynote speakers at Re.School Forum (24–25 June), the global online education forum bringing together the best minds in the educational sector to share best practices and ideas to envisage what schools will look like post COVID-19.
The conference addressed the six main challenges that schools must solve in the new normal: (1) how to guarantee health in the schools, (2) what teaching will look like from now on, (3) how to cover the entire curriculum, (4) how to offer objective evaluation data, (5) how to eliminate the digital and emotional divide, and (6) providing the organisation with the resources to do its job.
What will schools be like from now on
Fidelma Murphy participated in the round table “What will schools be like from now on?”, where she highlighted some of the lessons learnt during the period of school lockdown. “There are three key areas that we can consider as the inheritance of this period of online teaching and learning. One is the collaboration among teachers, their ability to connect, to teach, to share training with one another… This has been one of the strengths that we want to take to the next academic year. The second is the ability to design contents, learning experiences and new ways of evaluating our students in this completely different environment. And the third one, and most importantly, is the commitment to wellbeing”, she said.
When asked about the future of schools, she said “It is the moment to be very creative, to transform the way we see schools, to move to “schools without walls”. It is the time to break with the traditional structure of schools, with the traditional timetable and the traditional classroom setting of 25 pupils with a teacher, because during this period we have been able to prove that we don’t need to work with them this way.”
The student at the centre
Fidelma explained that schools have already changed the way they work with students. “The teacher has become a coach, a facilitator for the students’ learning. And this is the model we should look forward to in the future: a model with the student at the centre, where the student is responsible for their own learning.” And she concluded: “If we are able to apply all this knowledge to the next academic years, we will have schools which will be much more suitable for the students of the future”
As a result of this first day of ongoing discussion, re.School summarised the main conclusions as “We have changed in 48 hours. We are brave and resilient”:
- Health and Logistics: Enable common spaces to allow independent learning within the school.
- Teaching: Be very flexible. Prepare for all possible scenarios.
- Curriculum: Question the current curriculum and think about an evolving curriculum. Employ technology to ensure learning.
- Outcomes: Leverage technology to improve the educational system. Integrate shared evaluation systems with families for 360º evaluation.
- Students and Families: Ensure triangular communication: teacher, family, student. Be aware of family situations and offer close support.
- Teacher Wellbeing: Unite teaching teams. Share experiences and ensure continuous training. Take care of people