Education has been thrown to the bottom of a learning curve in online distance learning that few were prepared for. Teachers across the globe are looking for new ways to teach, to communicate and to continue and extend their educational practices. It’s a serious business of course, but we are going to have to make compromises and adjustments in expectations. This is all rather unknown territory, but education is doing its best, in what are difficult and challenging situations.
One of the things I am missing in my educational experience of the past couple of weeks is the social encounters with my pupils, the humour, the messing about and simply laughing together. It is an important part of my daily routine. The distant learning contact with the pupils and the classes just isn’t the same as it was. The look on my face when I say something in class that I don’t actually seriously mean, or the social banter about a tv programme, football match or someone’s birthday are largely lost and with it the richness that is the background to the classroom learning situation.
I like many teachers are in the process of rebuilding and repackaging lesson plans and material to work in a digital environment. That is the key business of course. But I and colleagues are also busy with trying to keep an informal and playful contact with our pupils that offer a more relaxed engagement through the digital route.
There are various examples going round on social media that play into this area. A few that I have been involved with can be seen below.
The missing emojis in WhatsApp – the need for other emojis than are what are on offer in the app, now that is that the hairdressers and barbers in the Netherlands are going to be shut for two months or more.
The views out of pupils’ and teachers’ windows where they are sitting behind their computers
Online/Instagram quizzes relating to school, such as the emoji quiz based on the names of teachers
A missing you film from teachers to their pupils
They are all fringe activities to the main educational one of course. But let us not forget that play and fun are also crucial elements to education at all levels.