Shire Christian School moves quickly to online learning

27 March 2020

Shire Christian School moves quickly to online learning

Shire Christian School has moved quickly to online learning in recent weeks, in an effort to ensure students continue to receive quality Christian education and pastoral care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Partnership with parents is a fundamental part of the school and the gracious support of the school community has been a great encouragement to teachers during the transition.

A parent commented, “we seriously appreciate all of the work the staff are putting into getting this online learning up and running. It is a huge task and it has made the transition so easy for us at home.”

Mr Tim Bluhdorn, Year 6 teacher and year 3-6 section coordinator, said that teachers were working hard to make learning accessible to all children.

“It’s been a lot of work very quickly. Teachers have spent countless hours adapting and creating online lessons,” he said.

“The use of Google Classroom and Google Suite, which we were already using, has been helpful and Zoom video conferencing has been amazing.

“We have setup years 3 to 6 with a regular Zoom meeting each morning and we’ve had really good participation and engagement from the kids. They’ve found it to be a really good way to communicate with each other and the teacher is able to clarify their expectations for the day and answer questions. We are almost up to having the whole class using Zoom, I was just missing two students today.

“We’ve been using breakout rooms in Zoom to enable students to talk to each other and share ideas. Today they shared their learning space at home which worked really well,” said Mr Bluhdorn.

While it has been important for the school to ensure continuity for children and make learning from home happen quickly, it has also been important to make sure new teaching strategies are sustainable.

“We are trying to have an awareness around future proofing what we are doing. We don’t want to just set in place something that we can use now because we don’t know how long this will go on for. We are putting processes in place that we can see working, not just now, but into the future,” said Mr Bluhdorn.

“It’s a learning curve and we need to give time for the parents, students and teachers to adjust but we can’t just leave it there, we have to keep moving forward,” he said.

David Humphreys, head of music at Shire Christian school, said that students were adapting well to online lessons.

“The feedback from students has been positive. Students have said that they are enjoying the flexibility and have enjoyed working from home. Some of the things I thought they would find difficult they haven’t. The technical side of things hasn’t been a problem for most students,” said Mr Humphreys.

“Using Zoom Meetings gives me a platform to teach music in a way that is similar to how I would teach in a classroom. I am at a place now where I feel like I can make it work for me and I know I can teach my subject well.

“I’m teaching lessons live and recording them to post to Google Classroom for students who have problems with slow internet or want to revisit parts of the lesson," said Mr Humphreys.

School business manager, Peter Watters, said that continuing to care for staff was also an important part of the transition.

“One unexpected thing we have noticed is the increase in teachers raising WHS issues due to them sitting for much longer periods using their laptops,” said Mr Watters.

“We have just re-circulated our ergonomics policy and protocol along with a posture and stretching guide to hopefully keep them healthy,” he said.

The School Executive met again this morning to consider how best to support teachers while working remotely.

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