Far back this year has been the return to “school” characterized by the nerves of the students to see their classmates, the illusion of brand new backpack, enjoy the smell of a new book or the adrenaline of the beginning of a new educational stage.
The current scenario poses an unusual turn, in which it will be key for teachers to transmit positive emotions to their students .
Education should be the jewel in the crown of a country, but in contexts like the current one, teachers will have to face an arduous task, in such a unique context of a pandemic. In such circumstances, how teachers cope with an ‘unfamiliar’ environment and are able to provide new ways of teaching can be key.
Some of the measures agreed by the public administrations to return to the classroom raise certain questions in the educational community and in families. However, this situation implies challenges and can be used to consolidate changes in the educational system that teachers have been demanding for years. Therefore, this is a time that can also teach us new things.
The present and, above all, the future of a country is what its citizens are capable of doing. And this will largely be determined by education. Giving it resources is a social and community good.
Given this reality, what can the educational community do in the most atypical return to the classroom that is remembered in decades?
Uncertainty in the face of the unknown
As they say “fear is free” and in this case, also reasonable, because not only is the progress of a generation pending, but the health of all, something that generates a series of emotions that are much more difficult to manage.
However, in order to face this new situation in the most appropriate way possible, we must not abandon an optimistic and flexible vision.
The emotions play a fundamental role in personal development, and what to say in academic development. For this reason, we need that, without resigning ourselves, we can transmit to others, positive emotions that generate environments of tranquility in order to improve the adaptive response to the environment.
The action plans designed by the educational centers, the change in school routine and the adoption of the continuous day in schools, which will help to minimize contacts and, therefore, the risk of contagion, must be accompanied by commitment, aid, collaboration of all social agents and a hopeful environment.
Adaptation period and new ways of teaching
In the first days of the school year, it will be convenient for students to have a period of adaptation to experiment in an environment that is known but that forms a new reality.
Doing a review of the subject of the last quarter of the previous year, added to the impulse of the competence development of the students, will help them to retake, to them, the academic part in a progressive way and without rejection.
In addition, including training on the use of technologies and online teaching platforms to prepare students for a possible return to teaching of this type or blended is essential.
The rejection of online education , if the non-health need requires its implementation or as a complement to the presence, will not help to take advantage of a resource that every day has a greater number of tools, which allow the implementation of innovative methodologies that they favor learning.
However, we have to bear in mind that a good online model does not consist of a simple transfer of the face-to-face to the network, in which a series of virtual classes are given and a few exercises are proposed, if not that it is necessary that there be a solid structure, with a platform that allows the learning process to be more dynamic, an adequate pedagogical model and a network of support, accompaniment and educational guidance that creates an appropriate space for learning.
Reformulation of the method
It is essential to continue making progress in placing the student as the protagonist of the teaching-learning process, being the generator of their own knowledge and promoting the development of skills. The teacher must position himself as a guide, companion and facilitator of education, giving the student the main role in the learning path.
On the other hand, the application of methodologies such as gamification , support for innovation, the development of executive functions, the reorganization of schedules or changing the evaluation model focusing more on skills than on content are basic and necessary aspects that they will help us to give a much more adequate educational response.
The support and admiration for the figure of the teacher is now, if possible, more just than ever. Trusting in their professionalism and commitment will make us emerge much stronger from this new reality.
Author Bio: Aitor Álvarez Bardón is Associate Dean, Faculty of Education at UNIR – International University of La Rioja