Kinteract News

What lessons can teachers take from 2020?

Post by
What lessons can teachers take from 2020?

Like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expected 2020, it will definitely go down as one of the craziest years in history. However, while we all - in a sense - scrambled to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, we taught ourselves some very valuable lessons in the process.

The world won’t ever return to what it was - and that’s a good thing! With what we’ve learned in 2020, we can make 2021 even better!

This is as true (if not truer!) for education as it is for everything else. Teachers, schools, and parents have worked amazingly hard, and shown incredible resourcefulness in keeping education going against the odds this year. 

We’ve all worked hard, and learned a lot!

Here are some of the top lessons which we think educators should take forward into 2021:

We’re much more adaptable than we thought

It took a matter of weeks (some, mere days!) for schools to overturn centuries of classroom tradition and segue into remote learning.

When the chips are down, teachers really can do anything!

Of course, the transition wasn’t always seamless. Teachers, students, parents, schools, and edtech providers all had to work together to get through the teething stage. But we did it!

We successfully kept education on its feet through the strangest, most unprecedented, and most unpredictable event of the 21st century.If nothing else, 2020 has proven just how smart and adaptable teachers are.

To not only make such a huge transition themselves, but to guide students, parents, and entire education communities through it is no mean feat.

Every educator on the planet deserves a massive pat on the back!

Technology can (and should!) take the strain

Remote learning tech had a massive role to play in 2020. Many schools had been using online platforms - for things like resource sharing and homework logging prior to the pandemic - but things shot to a whole new level when Covid-19 hit.

Without remote learning technology, we’d have been lost. Like it or loathe it, it was online teaching platforms that stepped in to take the strain when the schools closed. We couldn’t have done it without the internet!

As teachers became more accustomed to using their online teaching portals, many discovered that they have advantages beyond enabling remote teaching.

For example, Kinteract’s intelligent tools and automations can lift a lot of the admin burden from teachers’ shoulders. Automated progress trackers, tools that make assessment and reporting simple, resource libraries, and more can all drastically slash the amount of time teachers have to spend on admin.

This not only makes teaching less stressful, it also gives teachers more time and mental energy to focus on actually teaching.

We have the technology to give teachers time back, and enable a sustainable work/life balance. 2020 has proven that there’s scope to bring that technology into schools.

It’s time to repay our teachers by letting the tech take the strain.

Engagement is vital - for all students

We’ve always known this, but 2020 really drove it home. Engagement is absolutely crucial for education and development (especially at primary and secondary level).

Most teachers were trained with the idea that they’d always be able to teach students face-to-face. When learning went remote in 2020, engagement was something that many struggled with. Without the proximity to others, some felt that engagement wasn’t as fulfilling.

For others, however, engagement drastically increased via remote learning. More introverted students, for example, who are often overshadowed in the classroom by louder, more extroverted students found themselves able to get their teachers’ attention for the first time. Through remote messaging, one-on-one conversations, and less interruptions/distractions from louder students, they were finally able to flourish under their teachers’ guidance.

We worried about how extroverted students would cope without face-to-face engagement - but we’ve rarely stopped to think in the past about the quieter students who are persistently overshadowed (and who lack engagement) in classroom situations. 

With remote learning, the tables were turned. For the first time, quieter students were able to engage with their teachers. And the results were stunning. Many teachers were impressed at what these previously overlooked students were capable of.

The lesson here is that we need to find a happy medium. One which enables both extroverted and introverted students to flourish. Increasingly, schools are exploring ‘hybrid learning’ - a blend of on and offline teaching which gives students both face-to-face contact with teachers and peers, and the opportunity to engage and develop in quieter, more focused online settings.

Parents have an important role

A lot of parents will be entering 2021 with a newfound respect for teachers. Learning from home meant that parents had to be more involved than ever in their childrens’ education.

It was a steep learning curve (no pun intended!), but those parents who stepped up to the plate made a real difference to their children’s education. 

What’s more, effectively teaching students in their own homes made it easier than ever for teachers and parents to communicate. 

When it comes to primary and secondary education, teachers are far from the only influence on young people’s learning. Parents have a huge part to play as well. The more involved and engaged parents are, the better.

The pandemic gave parents and schools an unprecedented opportunity to work together for the good of student education. It’s been a very valuable experience for everyone involved.

Moving forward into 2021, it will be fantastic if we can maintain this level of parental engagement. Online schooling platforms like Kinteract can facilitate the growth of educational communities, in which teachers, parents, and other stakeholders can work together to benefit students. Hopefully this is something we’ll see more of in the years to come.

Online security is paramount

If we’re moving towards a hybrid model of education in which on and offline teaching are blended (and that does seem inevitable at this point), it’s vital that we are on top of data security.

All data is sensitive -  but educational data is especially so. Particularly when it pertains to primary and secondary students.

Security concerns about platforms like Zoom and ClassDojo kept cropping up during the pandemic. Tech providers were kept busy throughout, tightening security and making sure that data was safe.

When choosing edtech solutions, educators need to put data security first. By picking a well-established, well-trusted platform like Kinteract they can be sure that all data will be kept totally confidential, totally secure, and accessible only by parties with explicit permission.

2020 has brought problems our way - but it’s also shown us just how resourceful we can be. We’ve learned a lot of valuable things from this pandemic year, and come up with some solutions that will stand the test of time. 

Now it’s time to take the best of what we discovered in 2020, and bring it with us into this brave new post-pandemic world.