Tackling the difficulties in learning during COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put a pause on the normalcy of all our lives. Industries, offices, businesses, educational institutions, and every other sector have experienced massive disruptions to their everyday operations. Educational institutions have been particularly hard hit.

With the emergence of the pandemic, the campuses of educational institutions in Bangladesh were closed to contain the spread, and consequently, schools and universities have been experiencing challenges as to how to educate their students and fulfill their mission and vision. The pandemic has forced educational leaders across the world to collaborate and innovate to provide safe, high-quality teaching and learning.

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According to UNESCO, this pandemic has disrupted the education of 91.3 per cent of students in 188 countries. This is a severe blow to the world that requires long-term planning to overcome. However, while the global pandemic remains a concern, quality learning cannot cease.

As students and parents remain at home for extended periods, it is essential for schools to partner with parents and guardians to develop the whole child and work together when students need individualised support

Education is needed to grow young minds and prepare our future leaders but also to support the social and emotional wellbeing of students by helping them feel connected to their teachers and classmates. Being confined to their homes can result in lasting negative impacts on their bodies and minds and educational institutions like the International School Dhaka are finding alternate ways to support students through an online programme that addresses both the academic and developmental needs of our students.

As students and parents remain at home for extended periods, it is essential for schools to partner with parents and guardians to develop the whole child and work together when students need individualised support. Through these difficult circumstances, we have the opportunity to teach more than just the curriculum and help students develop valuable skills like organisation, online etiquette, grit, resilience, and how to advocate for themselves.

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Following the IB curriculum, the school teaches its students how to connect every experience to the ten attributes of the IB Learner Profile. The global pandemic has shown us how interconnected the world is and that we are all better if understand and celebrate our common humanity and work towards mutual well-being. The Primary-Years Programme (PYP) and Middle-Year Programme (MYP) are designed to help students connect to and construct an understanding of the ever-changing world and prepare them to solve the problems of the future for which there are no easy answers.

ISD celebrated several milestones during the last spring’s emergency school closure. MYP students in grades 6-10 attended a Virtual Book Fair, 5th-grade students conducted a virtual PYP Exhibition, and we joyfully celebrated the class of 2020 in a graduation in an online ceremony. Throughout the summer holiday, a series of webinars focused on coping with the pandemic and promoting a healthy lifestyle were offered to ISD and Delhi Public School (DPS) parents.

As the ISD community prepares to begin the school year online on 13 September, the faculty and administration have been working diligently to prepare the best possible online programme, learning from the successes and struggles of the emergency school closure last spring. To conduct and participate in effective online learning, teachers, and students are engaged in learning new digital tools and platforms that support interactivity and engagement. ISD utilises the Google Suite, Managebac, and Seesaw to conduct online classes and deliver the high-quality curriculum necessary for students to be successful in their International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework.

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As we all continue to adapt to this situation, it is imperative to have a growth mindset, seek opportunities to learn in multiple ways, and share knowledge and experiences with others.

To create global leaders for the future, ISD is teaching academic knowledge and skills required for success in the 21st century as well as imparting the life skills necessary for a happy, healthy future. Focusing on effective communication, teamwork, and kindness to others, ISD seeks to fulfill its mission to “Empower, Inspire, and Embrace.”

* Chris Boyle is the Secondary Principal, International School Dhaka

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