Learning in Virtual Classrooms while protecting the Vulnerable

Describing the Issue :

Children are NOT LEARNING at home.

The notion that they are is a fallacy.

They are repeating and revising already gained knowledge and not learning anything new.

I cannot believe the lack of commitment, effort and innovation to overcome this issue within Education, Local Authorities or SG.

It is completely unfair to ask parents to 'home school' their children. They dont have the skills or ability.

Teachers post / email 'something' to do at home each day but what are they doing for the rest of the day?

Last week our local secondary school teachers posted a You Tube video for their pupils to watch at home of them dancing around in their gardens having made up A4 sheets containing "positive messages". Each of the messages must have taken all of 5 minutes to make. Every one of the teachers was dancing around in the video in their Gardens in the sun wearing sunglasses. ONE WAS EVEN SUNBATHING ON A SUN LOUNGER IN HER GARDEN! Worse still - It was aimed at secondary pupils!! How is this helping to educate our children and how on earth do you think parents felt watching this, while they try to educate their own children AND work from home???? It was shocking to watch. What else did the teachers do for the rest of the day? And to make it worse they all self congratulated each other on it thinking it was marvellous. In what way were any if the secondary pupils actually educated in this self promoting social media nonsense?

Why has education not shown the same flexibility as other working environments to deliver the same levels of service whilst adjusting to the lockdown.

What they are delivering just now is nil in terms of education.

In my workplace we have had to adapt to Covid 19 whilst maintaining consistently high levels of service delivery in a high risk operating environment. We now conduct all meetings online, meeting cycles have become more frequent, to ensure better governance. We have increased capacity across our ICT infrastructure and within a matter of weeks, we are operating to the same standards now as we were before lockdown. Only in a completely different way. One that we have had to redesign, at pace, by innovating and finding different ways to work.

Education, teachers on the other hand seem to me to have just sat at home sending an email per day. I find it shocking. They claim in their defence that there is "nothing we can do". Yes there is!!!!

Over and above this, the visibility of more vulnerable children by education professionals has all but evaporated.

THE SOLUTION - increase capacity and create live online Virtual Classrooms

1. Increase school capacity - schools operate 7 days per week. A morning and afternoon session would create 14 school sessions per week.

2. Teachers begin to work a shift system over 7 days.

3. Teachers attend school, as normal. In their own classes they are socially distanced from other teachers.

4. Children who have ICT and Internet at home stay at home.

5. Teachers use an online platform (MSTeams Video conferencing) to deliver live online classes. The children at home actually start learning at home. Taught by their teacher. Not their parent. Not suggesting this is for 6 hours a day but maybe 2 hrs per day.

6. For children who dont have ICT - 2 options :

i) buy them tablets and provide either free wi fi at home or a 4G sim card. These children then learn in the same way as children at point 5. This would cost a fraction of the budget spend already committed to Covid.


ii) get the children who dont have ICT at home to attend school.

Typically, the children described at point 6 will most likely be the more vulnerable children (CP concerns existing). By implementing 6ii) this bring 3 benefits:

a) By having them in class the teacher / education professional has more contact and can ID child protection concerns far more quickly.

b) these children can be provided hot meals in school

c) the more vulnerable children get access to education (many will not be receiving any the way things stand at present)

The vast majority of children have ICT and would continue to learn at home but in my suggestion, FROM TEACHERS.

With the smaller number of children physically attending school, social distancing in classrooms could be easily achieved.

Teachers coukd easily socially distance in the schools.

Vulnerable children can either learn at home (with ICT provided) OR

In school. Indeed a hybrid of 6i) and 6ii) could be used to ensure social distancing and prioritising the most vulnerable children to physically attend school.

I cant believe this hasn't been done already and think it's a disgrace that the status quo from the first 3 weeks of lockdown has been allowed to continue while many other organisations have had the agility, foresight and innovation to adapt to "new normal" whereas education has just stood still.

Its shocking.

Teachers should be back teaching, not sending the odd email which they are doing just now and children need to get back to learning.

They are learning nothing new at the moment.

Why the contribution is important

To get children back actually learning, not just repeating already acquired knowledge.

To protecting the most vulnerable children in communities.

To get teachers more gainfully employed - as opposed to sending a couple of emails a day and spending the rest of the day in the sun / garden.

by Kendonag on May 05, 2020 at 02:35PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.6
Based on: 9 votes


  • Posted by Rachael May 06, 2020 at 23:20

    Whilst elements of your solution have merit (eg teachers in their own classrooms live streaming) I think you’re sorely mistaken in your assumption that teachers are sitting on deckchairs doing nothing all day. In addition to creating, distributing and marking work online for pupils (not an easy task considering they started lockdown with almost no resources suitable for online teaching, and with very little training on the platforms they are now using) they are undertaking a wealth of development work, for example developing courses materials to be either offered to pupils as additional options or to help support them once they return to school.

    Secondary school teachers have also had to get their heads around an entirely new way of assessing pupils in only a matter of weeks, one which is (rightly) complex and rigourous. Hours have been spent with teacher sitting in meetings and online training trying to ensure they understand how this new system should work and applying it to their own senior pupils to make sure that no one is left disadvantaged by the cancellation of exams.

    Teachers do a lot of ‘behind the scenes work’ - tracking, admin, making resources etc. which has only increased since lockdown began. Many are also spending time completing additional courses and trainings both to help them deliver content online and to ensure they continue their professional development from home.

    As a slight aside please remember that many teachers have children too, so often they are homeschooling their own children (much in the same way you are as they are not specialists in all subjects/levels!) as well as doing their own jobs. I also doubt they send ‘1 email per day’ - my daughter has been in contact with some of her teachers multiple times per day via email and each time has had a speedy response. I doubt she’s the only pupil doing this. Scale that up and it’s a lot of emails on top of everything else.

    The teacher’s at my daughter’s school have created a wee funny video and I for one applaud them. Why shouldn’t they take 5 minutes out of their day for a bit of fun, especially if that might lighten the day of a couple of people who see it? Teachers are humans, not machines. They’re facing the same problems, challenges and fears that the rest of us are, and people need to realise that.
  • Posted by gettingbacktonormalish May 07, 2020 at 12:28

    The technology is there but it's not being used consistently across the board. We are now in week 7 so the shock factor of the lockdown is past and there should be contingency planning to adapt to distance learning for the long term, thereby reducing the pressure to get kids back into classrooms.

    Creating an online learning environment is not an easy task. It needs to be planned and coordinated but if Education authorities joined forces, this could be developed consistently. I appreciate teachers also have caring responsibilities for their own children but lots of parents are adapting to working at home around their children, so this is about making changes across the board for all professions, schooling and households.

    The teachers union have advised that teachers are not expected to provide video tutorials or classes if they are not comfortable to do so but this is not conducive to successful distance learning for our children. Something needs to change.
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