How to best equip school leaders to create more equitable and resilient education systems post covid

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Every child’s education around the world was impacted by COVID-19. Schools used a variety of innovative methods to continue teaching during the pandemic. Nearly overnight, a lot of schools started providing online teaching classes. Schools approached teaching in different ways with the support of the internet, traditional post offices, television and radio and other media.

Teachers responded quickly and enthusiastically to the changes in lesson delivery. The crisis stimulated innovation in the education sector and School leaders should take  this opportunity to update the teaching learning model, if not already done by now.

Following factors should be the focus of a school leader best prepared to handle the post-COVID crisis

Curriculum

The skills taught in the current curriculum like repetition, pattern prediction and recognition, memorization and information retrieval are no longer necessary in today’s globalized world. These are the tasks that artificial intelligence and other technologies are equipped to complete quickly.

The school needs to place emphasis on modern skills like creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, collaboration, communication, growth mindset, global competence and a whole host of other skills which would equip the student to take up jobs in the future. Instead of concentrating only on “template” content and knowledge, the curriculum needs to place a greater emphasis on developing students’ abilities.

It must also address issues concerning the social and emotional health of the students. Additionally, it must guarantee that students have an education that is both globally and environmentally connected.

Curriculum personalization by students must be permitted by the school leader/principal. What students want to learn is up to them. Students must design their learning pathways without following a  predetermined curriculum.

It provides students the chance to make decisions, suggest new course material and discover the effects of their actions. Additionally, it aids in the development of lifelong learning habits and abilities in addition to helping students take ownership of their education. To help them learn more about learning—beyond what they learn—and to comprehend the learning process.

Pedagogy

The current world’s demands require students to take an active role in their education. There are many reasons why students should play a larger part in their education. First, students come from a variety of backgrounds with varying degrees of aptitude and interests, which may not match up well with the content that they are all expected to learn in the classroom.

Students should be encouraged to take a more active role in defining their learning and learning environments in collaboration with teachers and teachers need to be encouraged to pursue classroom differentiation. In light of the recent push for personalized learning, students must take a more active role in understanding and mapping out their learning paths.

Also Read: Simple guidelines to improve teaching quality and effectiveness in the classroom

 
A shift in the teacher’s role from serving as the instructor is necessary in order to make room for more important roles such as being an organizer of learning, curator of learning resources, counselor to students, community organizer, motivator and project manager of students’ learning.

More emphasis must be placed on preparing teachers to be educators who value each student as an individual and act as consultants and resource curators rather than being rote lecturers.

Location and Time

Unwritten rules require classes to be held in one place with all students present. In the past, learning has typically taken place in a classroom environment at a school during scheduled class times. This major online movement changed the way things were. The COVID-19 experiences suggest that the best model for students is a combination of face-to-face and online learning.

The online learning component introduced during COVID-19 can continue to co-exist along with the traditional classroom learning. Students can have a lot more control over their learning when they are not required to attend class at the same time and same location. They can learn from anywhere in the world and their learning would extend beyond the confines of the classroom.

Covid brought in disruption in the sector which will continue to create a divide between the schools who continue improving on their delivery vs. those who don’t. School leaders must benchmark with the best practices and ensure that their school continues to evolve along with the requirements of the future where more students are likely to switch to competency-based education – which places a focus on acquiring special talents and skills.

Learning must become more individualized, based on a student’s interests and strengths. And the educational institutions will need to evolve by transforming pedagogy and school structures.

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