As you know, our School temporarily closed on Friday 20th March owing to the current COVID-19 outbreak. As a School, we managed to flip to virtual learning in the week leading up to the closure and since then we have endeavoured to maintain a ‘normal’ academic timetable for all our pupils.
Different time zones and different learning platforms have posed a few problems for us, but we feel things have got off to a good start. For us as a School with such a high number of international pupils, it is important that our pupils feel connected to each other and to us. We want them to feel part of something bigger than just being at home by themselves in different parts of the world. With this in mind, we have conducted virtual lessons through Zoom and Google Meet, we have set group challenges through our social media channels and our Head has delivered virtual assemblies to the School as a whole. We have been impressed by the creativeness and dedication of both our teachers and pupils during this uncertain time. Throughout the process, we have regularly checked in with our pupils to get their perspective on their virtual learning experience. Here is what a couple of them had to say:
‘The Mount, Mill Hill International (MMHI) is, like all other schools, experiencing difficult times because of coronavirus. MMHI has, nevertheless, adapted very well to this situation and pupils can contact the teachers very quickly. This was the case even before coronavirus. Because of the platform, Firefly, and Gmail you always know what to do and you can always ask questions to the teachers. Because of Zoom and Google Meet we can also take online lessons and clarify questions quickly and easily with the teacher.
Since Friday our teachers have given us a timetable where we have regular Zoom lessons. I think it is a good way to talk with the teacher face-to-face and you can also see your classmates. I do think that the start time of 7am is too early but I understand that we have pupils all over the world and it may not be early for them! Nevertheless, this school was very well prepared for this complicated period. The teachers had already registered us to Google Classroom before it was even said that our school should close.’
‘Over the past two weeks we have been away from school because of coronavirus and we have had to work from home. In the beginning I was a little bit afraid that it was going to be hard to learn, let alone do the work, but as the teachers sent the material to us, it made sense. Some teachers recorded videos of themselves teaching and then shared those with us. Some recorded their voice over a PowerPoint Presentation and some even scheduled Zoom meetings when all of us joined and discussed what we have learnt that week. We could send emails to the teachers and they answered in time. I really enjoy distance learning and I think that our school has approached it pretty well and I think, as time goes by, we will all get more familiar and everything would be as normal. I really hope that the issue with coronavirus is dealt with and we can get back to school but until then, I think that online learning is working well.’
Our pupils and staff are currently enjoying a well-earned Easter break. We hope that their break is healthy and restful, and look forward to seeing them back online soon.