Educating through a crisis
Which subjects should we prioritise, and is remote learning the new normal?
And illiterate in speech pathology at UTA welcome to you all. Before we begin, I'd like to acknowledge that I am working from and the land of the gadigal people of the eora nation, who's upon whose ancestral land our City Campus at UPS also stands. I'd like to pay respect to elder's present, past and emerging and acknowledge them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land. You can see our panel on screen and of course please bear with us if we have any technical problems. Also please enter your questions. And you can see there's a little q&a button there down at the bottom of the screen, we'll have some time at the end to put them to a panel. So let's begin. There's been considerable confusion around messaging from the government and states around sending children back to school and when we will, and currently the federal and Victorian governments are in disagreement about whether it's safe for students and teachers to return to school as a number of other states prepare for their students to come back to. And while in New South Wales and Queensland are planning for phase returns starting next week on site schooling. Victoria is still holding steadfast in spring students back loads from essential workers back into the classroom. With this in mind, today we really want to focus on two things. Firstly, what does each phase return look like in schools, and secondly, what are the long term implications of COVID-19 on education. Don't Can I start with you, I think it's really important for us all to understand terminology that's being used by leaders, as parents are we really homeschooling at the moment.
And it is a very good question and in fact. No you're not, homeschooling is a term that comes from the New South Wales Education Act and homeschooling actually denotes a particular provision, you see all school aged children in New South Wales, need to be either registered, or enrolled in a registered school, or they should be registered for home schooling and homeschooling is by parents or caregivers, applying to the New South Wales education standards authority, with a plan for the child a learning plan, and that plan is set up a few months in advance, advancing, and what parents will caregivers keepers have to do is to make that submission, and then the submission is scrutinized, and there's visits to the home where the program is going to be implemented in one of my previous roles for the New South Wales education standards authority as a school inspector homeschooling was part of my GP so I'm well aware of the terminology and in fact, when parents say they're homeschooling at the moment. Now the children are learning at home so it's quite different. And if I could mention something else too and that at this point. There's a lot of terms being bandied around at the moment. For example, distance learning mobile learning. Distributed Learning. But in fact, what's happening is it's in emergency remote teaching, that's happening at the moment and it's due to the obviously to the virus, but a lot of systems University schools, etc. have had to gear up very quickly. For this emergency teaching situation, perhaps further down the track, we'll be looking at that nine, nine changes such and there'll be a greater integration of online learning. And we know that for a course to be truly online it takes about six to nine months to implement it, a lot of planning, but a lot of schools and systems. I had a week to get this ready and go and go online.
Yeah, so you're the president the New South Wales Principals Association, you will have seen firsthand what this is looking like in terms of the enormous work how amazing teachers and the staff around them have done to to get this out what's happening in relation to preparing around returning to school is to
That's it, know that the commute. You write a better amazing teachers did an incredible job. I've just been talking to my executive, we've been in the middle of a meeting now told me what they're doing in their schools and how they're preparing for next week. And it's interesting the way some, some schools going around it. We've been told I'm talking to pap middle schools departments case in schools. And what we've been told is, we should have no more than, say, 25% children's school. So schools have organized for often has cravings or alphabetical groupings. But some, some schools have gone out to their parent communities and said, Look, what is that what you want because often you will not get your child's class teacher. If we organize it by classes is better and so some schools I know I've done that and organized their classes to come in one day a week. So it just, and what it will mean is, they'll have some whatever they're doing with those children. They'll also be doing for the ones who are at home at that time,
and still looking it seems like a monumental amount of things to be holding up in the year they've been you know there what's the real challenge has been in relation to resourcing.
Can I say once, once the premiere mentioned, it was going to be considered siblings. It's complicated the whole process. We had planes ready for a half a class one day half a class next day with a class teacher, so it's been quite difficult. In terms of organization, using resources, it's been a department stepped up and done a lot of work, putting a lot of work online into a Learning Hub. There's online staff staff meeting rooms where there were people on different stages and different faculties are working together and sharing ideas, lots of lots of sharing lots and lots of ideas. Lots of scrounging for ideas, looking. What else can I do, how can I have I hope those parents at home with his children I
mean there's obviously been a bit of a
real, a lot of light shone on the inequity of schools in relation to access to technology and access to resources schools where teachers may not have had the kind of skills and knowledge previously about accessing online education or online tools to support education. JOHN you had have highlighted the issues around you 12 students in different schooling systems but what do you think has been highlighted through this in relation to that kind of divide in our education system the equity divide.
It's been an interesting week or so I mean obviously a five week period but last week. I read an article about you twirls going back and how a lot of private schools were going to send their utensils back pretty well immediately to get them ready for the HSC but government schools weren't sending the new tools back which, to me, was a curious decision, given that we built the HSC up into this huge monolithic stress reading structure and we've been telling children for decades how important it is and yet, so many tools were going back but not others. This is a crucial time for you to solve and this becomes not only an educational issue it's an equity issue. Education is relational students learn best when they're mixing with their teacher, and their peers, when they're tossing ideas around when they're refining and consolidating knowledge, when they're working out what their point of view is on a particular issue or content point for example, so to say that some of the tools are going back to face to face lessons, but not others is a really curious and potentially damaging situation. Hopefully that will be rectified and soon as we move through term two students are going to be working towards their trial exams. And then of course the, the big exam which is of the Standards Authority as advisory exams are going ahead. So I'd like to see you tools back in a face to face situation we've been told consistently by the government that schools are safe places. I certainly hope they're safe places for school staff, let alone, children.
They see you're at the other end often working with really young children in relation to this, what, what can you tell us about the implications or the around them language and speech, development and how you've been utilizing telehealth.
So as a speech pathologist, working with a whole range of different children with communication and swallowing disorders. So in for communication in particular, we work with young kids, and with kids throughout their school ages, with difficulties with speech sounds with understanding language when they're spoken to and when they're reading for expressing ideas, where they're speaking and writing their literacy, body language social interaction with problems with boys with stuttering so there's a whole range of different children that were supporting within the school system estimates of how many kids really varies and that there was a national inquiry last year, about how many children's speech pathologists so supporting estimates are around 20% of children in our school system so we're looking at around six kids per classroom or up to around 400,000 kids in New South Wales alone. So those children really when they're not at school, many of them are receiving their services at school, which can be a little bit difficult, but there's had to be a really rapid transition transition to provide services online using telehealth telehealth has been around for years it's, there's a lot of evidence to support it and ETS we operate a tele practice clinic and have since our program, our clinical program commenced last year. So we're really played a role in supporting lots of different allied health professionals all across the globe in transforming to telehealth to support students. And a lot of the kids are still getting those supports and their stuff. And that's really helpful in keeping them moving forward in their development at some of these kids need a little bit more support to keep up with their fears and if they're not getting that support. They're not going to continue moving forward at the same rate, they're not necessarily going to pull back. They just got my walk wide and if they're not moving forward quite as much.
And so as a poverty is one of the positives that might come out of this is that there's just been such a broad uptake of tele Hill across a whole lot of allied health and mental health programs do you think that that that might be a positive that comes out of this news that people are understanding that telehealth is actually a good way to provide services particularly to regional and remote.
Absolutely. There's been a really rapid upskilling of all sorts of different health professionals and how to deliver that services online.
We've certainly been running webinars and we've educated, hundreds and hundreds of speech pathologists and allied health professionals all across the world and how to deliver online services. There's been rapid changes in policy. We're able to access to deliver health, health services online. And so all of these barriers that we were saying even six months ago I suddenly being or become, and that's likely to remain in price long term, which means that the health professionals that are city based are able to access those children that are in more rural and remote areas to provide services. Of course there's still some difficulties in internet access and we do see a little bit of inequity there. But the more we're learning the more we're able to overcome those barriers, and potentially long term this is going to see a really big benefit for some children that just didn't have access to these services previously. the city speech pathologists and occupational therapists are going to be able to link into schools to provide those services to kids that might not have had them otherwise, and that's really going to help support their education.
And so don't. What about few what do you what do you see is the potential systems changes in education as a result of. Look down I mean we've had some really big fence net plans, not going ahead and do what do you see in terms of system changes and potential problems coming out of this education system, and
the advent of this, This crisis is health crisis coincides with a New South Wales curriculum review. And I would imagine the curriculum review will need to attend to what's happened during the coronavirus crisis and make provisions for a type of learning that is perhaps, taking more into account in remote learning or online learning. However, it's also an opportunity to reset the curriculum, reset the curriculum insofar as look to see where our emphasis emphases are currently the last in the last decade or so we've had a, a real emphasis on literacy and numeracy, particularly with the advent of NAPLAN. And whilst, no one would deny that literacy, numeracy schools are important and we need to produce students who are highly literate and highly numerous. We also need to remember that for a lot of our children's schools, they achieve, not only in academic subjects are academically but there are other a range of other types of pursuits, for example, in the creative Performing Arts. So, I would like to see a reset on the curriculum emphases and like to see a greater emphasis given to those areas of curriculum that have been marginalized over the last decade or so, in particular for the Creative Arts. I think this is also a good opportunity for a stronger partnership with parents, it's my hope that over the last five weeks that with parents, engaging with their child's learning that they've engaged with the curriculum and that they've got to first of all a better appreciation of what teachers do, but a better understanding of what teachers do, and a better understanding of the curriculum, and with a better understanding of the curriculum, the input from parents in a child's learning becomes even more important, and stronger and stands to benefit the school within that partnership as well. And perhaps it will lead to parents generally being able to critique it in a very specific way what's happening in education, and perhaps to look at, say the role of externally imposed requirements such as net plan and ask the question, do we need this externally imposed test, when in fact, New South Wales curriculum is imbued with literacy and numeracy skills so that when teachers teach the content, they are teaching our schools and in the early years of learning. That's done explicitly. So that's what I would like to see in it.
Elliot you're on the front line I'm sure but that's one discussion where do you, where do you see this in relation to having this big shift this year was very quick. We don't need a plan this year, you know, a very clear and early decision. What do you record it says
that plan isn't going away anytime soon. It will certainly change the way it is. You know, one of the puzzles with a cat is the adaptive nature of it. So we'll actually, we'll be able to assess children at different levels, not having an artificial ceiling that it has now. Hopefully gets back to its diagnostic feature that I think was very supportive of of teachers in the classroom. And you might actually get it back in time to do any good point, rather than wait you know four or five months for any results to come back. But that being aside, I think, like Don, the systems change that I'm really more than happy about is the curriculum review by Jeff masters and hoping that there is a. What's the word shred shedding of some of the really dense content that we have in to law a lot of focus. But then a bit of focus on the general capabilities that collaboration, critical thinking, those sorts of things that I think they're much much more important. And I think parents at home will be sitting there saying why keeps doing this stuff they're looking at now, the more things in life, there are better things. There are other skills I want my child. So as dawn saying I'm having they click into that and become more involved in their school and say, This is the sort of work we should be doing. This is what really my child wants to be able to do when they leave school.
Yeah, so we, we know that parents have a huge impact in terms of the outcomes for kids in terms of education. I mean you know I've been hands neck deep in education with my fellow at home. I wonder about whether it's making us think more broadly, I mean there's been, there's been big conversations going on for a while about behind for the purpose of education and. Do you think that there is potential that this, the fact that this is in such a dramatic such an edge all kind of change, and you think there is potential that will rethink some of the aims and purpose of education more broadly that'll open up a bigger conversation.
I certainly hope so. I was disappointed probably before this, the COVID experience that we had the Prime Minister and the premier and other publishers saying let's get back to the basics. Let's look at, you know, the pace of jobs and, and, and when we're falling behind you think, hang on, are they really testing what we think is important anyway. Yeah, we really need to go back and say, as I think the, the, the LaRue statement is out Eliana springs to say sorry is trying to say that this is the purpose of education, this is what we should be aiming it. Therefore, let's let's backward map and see how we're getting there. What's what strategies are we doing, what are we teaching to get kids to be the way we want them. Do you
think some of the things that schools have learned and engage and have gained from being more engaged online or having access to different resources that they might not have before. Do you think they'll stay the course, do you think there'll be things that will stay in, in, in now or do you think it'll kind of quickly shift back to a more.
I think in terms of differentiating what you're teaching in the classroom. It's a great asset to be able to tap into something, some, some of their teachers might not have been on the front foot in terms of it and use of it and and have had their eyes really opened up to lots of things so I think there's. I don't know an optimist, I think, potential that takes us have seen. And so, this will make it easier for me to cater for the range of abilities I have in my classroom. I might be able to do this to that whatever. But it's still as a resource, you can't. It can't be the be all end all.
So listen we students like the ones you're working with and with other students who may experience of a top two disadvantages, whether it's economic advantage or access to services do you think that there's an opportunity here to utilize the sorts of resources that have been developed differently in schools.
Absolutely. That development of different resources to be able to facilitate more remote learning could certainly be translated to support more remote support a language and other skills that allied health services provide. We're building those, what we're building those capacities within the educators within parents, and within the health providers as well to be able to deliver services remotely. And if we're able to hold on to that long term and to utilize that rapid skill development. We can certainly provide services to more people at a larger scale and utilize all of those different stakeholders to be able to have the best outcomes.
Yeah, I mean I'm really conscious that we're going back to a shift we're having a change, or back to school again but it's not the same as it was. Any one day a week or two some kids or other kids it'll be more or some will be not being supervised by the hearts ring teacher so there's more shift ahead. And what what do you think about that parents should be doing to talk to their kids or engage with their kids about this next change this next. This next shift, and it's not even that we know that it'll be I mean obviously we all started turn to thinking we were all going to be online for the whole term. Change already already just seems totally so what do you think the kind of conversations. Parents should be having with their kids about what this means.
Change is hard for kids. It can be really difficult to change from those routines that we're used to, and school is such a big routine, it's getting up five days a week and going to a certain place with a certain group of people and it's bizarre expectations that a child develops around that. And so shifts in that routine can be really upsetting. They can sometimes lead children to behave in a way that's a little bit different to what we expect and that's entirely normal as well, because it's harder to communicate what those changes are and and how they're failing because of those changes. And so it's really important that we continue to have a conversation with our kids around what's happening and why it's happening so that they have the knowledge and the language to be able to express how they're feeling, and to know what's coming. So really, parents should be as much as possible talking to their kids about COVID-19 and what it is and what it means. And there's some really lovely children's books that have come out to be able to support parents in doing that, and many of those are available online. So we can talk to our kids about physical distancing, and what that is and what that means because it's a term they're hearing quite a lot. We can let our children know that school is returning and that it's going to look a little bit different, and tell them what that means and what it's going to look like a kids that have a little bit more trouble with understanding visuals and picture supports can be really helpful, which is why those picture books are quite nice, but also just coming up with a bit of a timetable to show them what their school day is going to look like so that they know what to expect. If children understand what's coming. And they have the language to be able to explain what's happening and why. And they're likely to be able to cope a lot better.
I've got a question from Simon has she been saying, What can the Department of Education universities do to ensure they're really taking that blended learning to the next level he had some thoughts on that go. Well,
I think what we'll have to do is just keep at it. Keep on it, keep going. We were having a lot more. In this next couple of up to the end of term. What we've sort of been asked to arrange for a day of professional learning in the in the middle of the five days. And in that time there's there's opportunity to learn to do professional learning on on the use some of this equipment and tools and software packages and whatever is being around and I think that's an opportunity so they can do it. I mean I think I'm well I'm hopeful that they've, they've got a taste of what this is like. And they should be able to say, oh, I'll never be able to do this and change as my other questions there talks about, you know, the catering for the range of children your classrooms and something like this is going to tweak with some teachers and say, I can do this, I can change things. So if they're looking at their pedagogy and their practice I think we'll, we'll do that. We want to sort of nudge a bit, a bit more so.
And what about inference to university entrance requirements to university. Do people have thoughts on that in terms of, you 12 an ATAR and admissions for the 2020 cohort, have you done, do you have anything else.
Yes, I think that's a pretty awesome question and it's it's in the forefront of a lot of people's minds the entry into teacher education programs and universities. At a previous University where I worked with the Vice Chancellor used to say it's not so much the quality of the candidates, when they enter it's the quality of the graduate, when they graduate. And sometimes people don't consider that the quality of of the Graduate when they leave, it's about what they like when that's when they come in, but it is the case that we certainly want bright enthusiastic entrance into initial teacher education, who do have a commitment to education and the education of children, obviously, but who were able to get through those initial steps. And as you know, we've got to satisfy the ATAR three band fives including English but not IoT and submit a personal statement as well. But what is perhaps not as well known is during the course of their initial teacher education degree. There are a number of other hurdles, for example, they have to pass the literacy and numeracy tests, it's called land tight, and they have to do the teaching performance assessment which is a national requirement. If they want to teach in a New South Wales government school they've got to satisfy the teacher success profile. And that means going for an interview or a psychometric test, and a few other requirements. So whilst the debate is sometimes over simplified to eight hours or too low. There's much more to attend. In fact, teaching and teachers are one of the most scrutinized professions. We could ever talk about.
What about in relation to the kind of access to technology during this period and we'll have a number, we'll have areas of the population groups who won't have had the same sorts of access to technology or support from their teachers. Sometimes based on the, on what the system can provide and sometimes from, you know, where they where they are with their families. Do you have any thoughts about that in relation to what that those inequities how that will play out in terms of results or how we think universities might take that into consideration.
I think universities for all of the compliance, that universities have to engage with a very much open to and flexible about offering students places, and supporting students one once they're in a particular course. At the moment, it isn't a level playing field out there for school students. For example, a teacher I know can only communicate with her students, via email or the phone. In one way that's that's good because it's his one on one attention, but at the same time, she's got a number of classes and if you've got five classes or 30 students I mean that's a lot of phone calls, that's a lot of emails, and that does cause it's time consuming, obviously, then I would imagine that she'd be worried about how they're going to come out of this. So, we've got to understand that when students apply for universities they're coming from different contexts, etc. That's why there are different types of scholarships and and funding arrangements. And it's really a case by case assessment of applications. When, when those applications, don't come from the. If I could put it this way, from the standard cohort standard features of the cohort.
I mean let's see one of the questions is therefore from one of the participants and also at least listening in today and one of the questions I had was in relation to students who may have speech and language delays or or other special needs and what the implication of have kind of been not with those not being able to continue the programs of support during this period. What will it be like, what do we think will be the outcomes for those kids returning to school and also some, one of the questions somebody asked here is is, should the government be funding speech therapists in schools do you have a have a some thoughts on that
speech and language and communication really underlie everything that a child does at school. It's not just about English and tech studies and that kind of thing. It's about being able to understand the language that we use to describe scientific concepts to do word problems in mathematics, it's in every subject so it's really important that these kids that have special needs and communication disorders have continued support many kids have been able to continue accessing that with the number of therapists that have been able to provide telehealth services. For those that haven't had continued access, and they may not be able to continue practicing what they've been doing in their therapy sessions. Many therapists have provided provided resources for kids to continue practicing at home with their parents but, again, maybe they won't be receiving exactly the same thing that they did. So maybe they're just not moving forward at the same rate that their peers would but they're not going to fall backwards at all, certainly for some children. We're not going to see any, it's going to be a real benefit for them to have been home in this period, the slower pace of life with lockdown and without physical distancing means we're at home or. There's more time for interaction between kids and their parents and between kids and their siblings as well, and interaction is key to language development language develops with interaction. So that's not staring at a TV, staring at an iPad application, it's conversation. Kids because they're spending more time with their siblings are having to negotiate, they're having to share resolve a rguments. Parents have more time over breakfast because you're not rushing to get ready and get the kids to school and get yourself to work. So there's a little bit more time for that conversation. And that can really help a lot of kids to develop their language skills. So we may actually see some benefits for some children in having more time to interact with, with other members of their family,
like you had some thoughts on that feel in relation to health therapists
in schools. Yes, yes, I absolutely do. And just to comment from Lucy then often those color their families don't have that rich language background, when some of our kindergarten to high school, they haven't they may have a very limited vocabulary, because of those experiences so you know one of the big things in kindergarten that we do is, is talk, give them those models give them the conversations, which are really important. So coming back to allied allied health. Absolutely. I've been in
prison for 22 years been 44 years in teaching
the need for OT and speeches in schools is what is really, really important. I've been lucky in some schools that we've actually been able to get a space service coming one day we use one of our offices and have those children in there, regularly because they need it, and couldn't get out to them in different schools or anything. So I think it's really important that what I think has happened.
22 years been 44 years in teaching.
The, the need for OT and speeches in schools is what is really, really important. I've been lucky in some schools that we've actually been able to get a space service coming one day we'll use one of our offices and have those children in there, regularly because they need it, and couldn't get out to them in different schools are burning. So I think it's really important. But what I think has happened is the, the Gonski funding that's that's arrived in schools, especially they allow is here schools with equity issues. I don't know many of them that have not employed a speech therapist or occupational therapist to come in regularly in the schools, be part of the staff, get to know those children. And then even better with the individual children, but giving really good advice to the teachers. These are things you could be doing to help kids, organize themselves, for example, as an OT will do for you. And the speech is giving you. They're there they can see what's happening. They can give teachers. This child is a little bit more of this little bit more of that. Blah blah blah and in general what you do in the classroom, I, I think that work would be absolutely fabulous in schools.
And I have to agree with Phil on that in terms of being able to provide those services in schools and that that local that locally determined funding through Gonski is something that a lot of schools are using to access speech pathologists, and I think with telehealth, whether it's speech pathologists maybe aren't close by and there isn't the service, there isn't the ability to access them telehealth is really going to give those schools, the ability to link in a therapist from a distance. so they're not having to pay a therapist to travel 50 or more kilometers to their school, to be able to provide that service. I think the issue comes in when sometimes the funding bear is only gonna support a therapist, one day a week. And when you're looking at around six kids per classroom that have difficulty. It's just not enough time in the day to save them all. And that's where some of the difficulties can come in where younger kids are prioritized and all the kids are missing out.
And so don't What do you reckon we should be doing as universities to support a new era, all improved fabulous post COVID education system.
What I'd like to see is building on what we're currently doing. And that is partnerships with schools now ETS have a number of very positive partnerships with schools primary and high schools, I'd like to see that consolidated. And in fact, new partnerships developed to the needs to be an exchange of ideas between schools and universities and exchange of personnel. We love to get primary and high school teachers in at UTSA to talk to our students. people who are actually in the classroom at the moment, who are really in touch with what's going on. But also, we like going into schools and researching, what's happening in schools, it's got to be that partnership, and it's got to be strengthened. Just recently we conducted a survey with New South Wales primary schools, about proposals to our undergraduate degree for primary teaching, and we got a, an immensely positive response from those primary schools 63 schools within 48 hours responded, about our proposed plans. And what we're hoping to do is to work more closely with those schools. So that's, that's, to me, one of the most important things is that close connection, the dialogue, the CO working the collaboration that we want to get more teachers in at UTSA to work with our students. What do
you think so, what would you like to see universities doing.
I was the principal of a demonstration school in Wollongong for ideas, worked very closely with the University of Wollongong and their graduates coming in and working in schools. I really that exchange of ideas is absolutely spot on, we need to do that. The, the, I have really current teachers who are on top of their game, working closely with universities and sharing with with our undergrads is would be fabulous. I know action research, some of those. This is really driving practice looking at best practice, sharing. If University doing some of the research, they can share with with teachers that are this is a better way of doing it so I think that's a really crucial thing to be doing. And I would support it
And so, you know, this is my tough question that what does success look like, how will we know that we've managed this successfully. I did call you up and ask if you've had time to think about it what what do you think, feel, what does success look like when we come out the other side of this and everybody's back at school.
What does it look like.
Look, I think, successful look like the teachers will have him assist the children see where they're at, develop plans to say over this time, I think they've drifted off a little here, I need to pull it back in the line. I need to sort out their goals or where they're going with them. And I think, to get us on track, because the worry. And, you know, if you've had a great fun and and some practical stuff at home cooking and working in the God or well I saw two things. You're still learning. So let's see if the academic learning needs a bit of a top up. I think I'd like to see a closer relationship between families and schools, because I think that'd be, that'd be spot on so they're never locked, they will. I'm hoping parent will say, I know why they need some holidays. I know why they need the break. All right, I understand what the pressure is on the two and a half or three down. Now it's like so. Probably a greater appreciation of the role of teachers. So that partnership appreciation. And I guess, knowing where the kids are at and developing plans to get going. So they're not missing a lot lagging.
Now what about you.
I certainly agree with all Phil has said, particularly the partnerships that I mean I've talked about partnerships between schools and universities. I've talked about the importance of parents as well so I'm certainly hoping that parents and schools will be closer and their parents have gained a clear understanding of education. But one other thing I'd add is that for school sectors and universities that they will be. They will each have a very clear set of procedures ready to enact in case there is another pandemic because from everything operating. This is going to be, not an isolated occurrence we can expect more. So we need to make sure that it's not in the future for emergency remote teaching, we slip into a different gear and that it's done smoothly because the contingency plans have been put in place.
Okay, I think.
I think we've had a lot of changes in the way that services are delivered in the last month with this pandemic. There's been a lot of changes in policy in terms of being able to allow health professionals in schools and families to get online and to deliver services, the technologies developed a long way. The providers of technology have had to improve their service delivery and their security. We've had changes in government policy and funding and upscaling of so many different people to be able to go online, so I'm hoping that we can take that ability long term and not see it as something that was just associated with this emergency remote method of working, and we can take that forward to the, to the benefit of people that don't always have access to the services and the facilities that we have in cities, we're able to use that new technological competence to provide greater equity to kids in rural and remote areas to schools into families, so that they have those services longer term.
Got a couple of questions from the attendees so I'll just start working my way through those do. So do you think teachers need additional training to get up to speed on technological requirements. And what resources are they at providing maybe feel Can you answer that one.
Yeah, I do think teachers need additional work and I think it's been a possibly a great opportunity for younger teachers to lead the way there. So I think it's a nice thing to have happen.
And, but as we know.
You have to be able to you have to use it, define it and then let it go You got to learn it and work on it and develop your own your own skills in yourself. The department's been this thing called dollar sign earlier. They are basically just so I find that the with ye 11 and 12 students have been those who didn't have computers have been sent dongles and computers, bang, we've exhausted the supply in Australia. Some universities beat us to it. So, because of the concern I had was the, the inequity in primary schools where some families inhabit and now we're told on Friday, but that won't get this term, we won't get those. However, I've been told there is a guarantee that they will get it. As soon as they can get all the supplies. So we've got to get. Once we get it we're going to
use it. So,
technological divide but this has really shown shine to a bright light on what some people have been saying for a while but I really kind of very big consciousness across the community I think about the technological divide in terms of equity. This thing about access, whether it's being able to access the internet, or whether it's being able to access a computer in a particular family or whatever the circumstances are that that technology and access to technologies really,
you know, become really conscious of it anyway.
Okay john Have you got anything that you think in terms of the in terms of what will change in relation to education for students who are coming in as teachers by teacher education in relation to these, these times do you think there's things that we might take forward. In, in the I'm teaching programs itself that will change as a result.
Obviously there's got to be a heavier.
Emphasis I'd say on online learning and a shift away from that emergency remote teaching mindset to a smoother and more comprehensive comprehensive integration of learning online and digital platforms. And it's going to be the case that university, academics are going to be have to be on top of developments in digital technology and how they can be used in not only delivering their courses or training their pre service teachers to implement and use those platforms within the classroom. A lot of schools are doing that now but as we know the world of technology is changing on a daily basis for for teacher education, academics are going to have to be really staying on top of that, but not using it in the in the gimmicky sense but using them purposefully in their classes so that the students can use them purpose only in the classroom. And that's where we need to consolidate that teacher of the University School partnership as well. So that university academics know what's happening in schools, and schools know what's happening in pre service teacher education.
I'm walking away with the idea that we're going to end up with teachers who have gotten more technological skills, parents who are more engaged in education to language and communication development acknowledged as a kind of broad skill and capability, a bigger focus on capabilities, can be amazing. this year.
It's going to be fantastic. Right.
Has anybody got any last points that they want to make. Before we close.
Can I say it. You raised the, the aims of education before and I just want to pick up on that very briefly, insofar as during this pandemic. I've not heard any politician or bureaucrat talk about the aims of education. And in fact, in most education debates. That's not even raised, we talk about student performance we talk about test results, etc. But we don't go back and talk about what are the aims, what are the purposes of education. Now if we start to do that, then, then that will help guide the decisions we make. And that sort of discussion. I believe would have helped the decision making about a return to school, what are the aims of education, what do we prioritize. Therefore, these are the things that should happen first so I just add that.
Yeah, and I mean. Exactly. Back to the purpose. Yes.
I mean, the other thing that I would add is that kind of quite kind of heartbreaking.
And, you know, because things been involved in education long come up the heartbreaking. Part of this for me has been the ways in which teachers have simultaneously been incredibly acknowledged by I think parents and the broader community but not necessarily their professionalism not really necessarily acknowledged wise that I think is particularly empowering or. All the kind of skills, and an incredible dedication that I'm going to bring to to their work, and there's been a lot of talk as if teachers are basically to basically without providing childcare, or essential workers and, and the staff also the staff who the other staff here engaged in education to do and I think that's been a you know that that device has been really clear in terms of the public.
This article is based on, and contains excerpts from, Life after lockdown – Educating through a crisis.
It’s been one of the most contentious debates of the coronavirus pandemic – whether or not to send children to school. For the many parents and carers juggling remote learning with working from home, it’s been an acute reminder of the significant role education and educators play in our children’s lives.
“This health crisis coincides with a New South Wales curriculum review and it’s an opportunity to review what has happened during the coronavirus crisis and make provisions for a type of learning that is perhaps taking more into account remote learning or online learning,” says Dr Don Carter, a senior lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at UTS.
“It's also an opportunity to reset the curriculum. In the last decade or so we've had a real emphasis on literacy and numeracy. And whilst no one would deny that literacy and numeracy in schools are important, I would like to see a greater emphasis given to those areas of curriculum that have been marginalized over the last decade or so, in particular for the Creative Arts.”
Phil Seymour is the President of the NSW Primary Principals’ Association. He says he hopes there is a shedding of some of the dense content that draws a lot of focus and instead concentrate on general capabilities such as collaboration and critical thinking.
“I think parents at home will be sitting there saying why keep doing this stuff, there are more things in life, there are better things. This is really what my child wants to be able to do when they leave school.”
It's my hope that over the last five weeks, with parents engaging with their child's learning, that they've got a better appreciation of what teachers do.
Dr Don Carter
Phil Seymour says now that teachers have been exposed to new digital technologies, they will be an important resource going forward.
“Digital technology is a great asset to be able to tap into, and something that some teachers might not have been on the front foot in terms how to use of it and have had their eyes really opened up to lots of possibilities.
“It will make it easier for teachers to cater for the range of abilities in their classroom.”
Teachers aren’t the only ones who have had to move their services online. Speech pathologist and allied health professionals who typically work with students have been rapidly upskilling in order to stay connected with their clients.
Dr Lucy Bryant is a lecturer in speech pathology, and manager of the UTS Speech Pathology Telepractice clinic, SPROUTS.
“Long term this is potentially going to be a really big benefit for some children that just didn't have access to these services previously.
“The city speech pathologists and occupational therapists are going to be able to link into schools to provide those services to kids that might not have had them otherwise, and that's really going to help support their education.”
Dr Carter says it’s important for the education sector to have a clear set of procedures ready to enact in case there is another pandemic.
“We need to make sure it’s not in the future for emergency remote teaching, that we slip into a different gear and that it’s done smoothly because the contingency plans have been put in place.”
“I think this is also a good opportunity for a stronger partnership with parents. It's my hope that over the last five weeks, with parents engaging with their child's learning, that they've got a better appreciation of what teachers do.”
The next virtual event in this series, 'Life after lockdown - restoring body and mind', will take place May 21.