Dear Parents/ Guardians,
We have now completed the first week of online teaching following our return to school in January. As with the lockdown in March, we are grateful to staff, students and parents who, once again, have been highly proactive in using our school platform to ensure regular and meaningful interaction with students.
Return to Online Teaching
As mentioned in our Parents Update last Friday we are aware that many schools have structured their online learning programmes so that students are sitting continuously throughout the school day going from online class to online class. We took the position that such an approach was unrealistic and would ultimately be counterproductive. Anecdotally, it appears already from feedback in other schools that students and parents are struggling with the demands of continuous online learning. At our Parents Council meeting last Monday evening there was support from parents for our school’s approach to online teaching. Parents acknowledged that students could not be expected to spend their entire day sitting through continuous online classes.
However, students must have clarity around the structure of their programmes and the interaction with them must be regular and routine. There is a balance to be struck between over exposing students to online classes and maintaining a meaningful level of interaction with students on a planned basis. We have outlined to staff our minimum expectations regarding face to face engagement with students during this period of online learning:
- Teachers are required to regularly engage with students online
- If teaching a class group for 1 to 3 periods per week, at least one of these classes should involve face to face engagement with students
- If teaching a class group for 4 periods per week, at least two these classes should involve face to face engagement with students
- If teaching a class group for 5 periods per week, at least three of these classes should involve face to face engagement with students
- In order to establish a weekly routine with students and to ensure continuity of learning we have asked teachers to inform students when online classes are taking place and give students as much advance notice as possible
- Please note the calendar function works when students have accepted an invitation to their online virtual class.
- Our students should be logging into their classroom via the meet link according to the timetable. They can input the relevant online classes as a reoccurring meeting on their calendars.
It is important for parents and students to note that live teaching is not the only method by which face to face engagement can be achieved. Teacher engagement with students also refers to approaches such as pre-recorded classes, teacher demonstrations, a voice over on a PowerPoint and connecting in with students through the Google classroom. Many of our teachers are already using these wide variety of approaches which are all valid. Indeed, feedback from students indicates that they find pre-recorded demonstrations to be the most learner friendly. What we are really looking for here is to avoid a scenario where only work is being assigned to students and there is no other interaction with them. We have asked our staff to keep a record of their engagement with students (both face to face and assignments given) as it allows us to follow up with parents when questions and queries arise. Parents are asked to contact our Google Classroom Administrator at email@example.com with any issues. Please note we will be looking for feedback from teachers, parents and students next week, as to how the whole process is going.
Secure Online Interaction
- Parents are asked to note that all students should have their cameras on and their microphone muted when participating in online lessons unless otherwise instructed by the teacher. Refusal to follow the teacher’s instructions in this regard will result in the students being removed from the class.
- When accessing our online learning platform students must use @glanmirecollege.com accounts. Under no circumstances will students be allowed to enter an online class using a personal account.
We thank you for your cooperation with these essential rules which help protect and ensure the safety of all.
GCC Senior Management