Distance learning: a way to deal with Coronavirus emergency and not stop educational and learning activities. A challenge for teachers and students in these difficult weeks. Distance teaching urges teaching staff and pursues the social task to “do school”, but reveals some difficulties.
Distance learning: when school doesn’t stop
In Italy, 2020 started with the news of the Coronavirus epidemic. These are difficult days and weeks. The cities seem suspended, with a broken breath and the prevailing silence. This is the time for smart working and distance learning (because yes, school doesn’t stop). Thousands of students come to the platforms daily to continue studying and just as many teachers continue with their training path. Many obstacles, sometimes impediments, an unstable connection and the lack of real contact. School is the place for meeting and learning, but also for community and the sense of belonging. In this dimension, the challenge is great and there is a need, more than ever, to strengthen relationships.
The need, again, to maintain and build a social fabric capable of helping and building strength. Indeed, school has a very difficult task. It must act as a social glue to support its students. Understand, again, and avoid the isolation of the most fragile subjects. The interaction between teachers and students is very important. A thoughtful interaction, made of constructions and choices. There has been much debate about the assignment of tasks. A difficult choice that hides some pitfalls. Some students don’t own a printer, others don’t even have a computer and many use a smartphone. Recently, again, graduation exam has been discussed. In this case, if students do not return to school, it will consists of a single oral exam. Team work is also invoked in this situation, even among the students themselves.
Not just students: that is, when teachers and parents also need help
Teacher is called to make common decisions, but he in turn needs strong support. Many teachers are not accustomed to use technology and the preparation of slides, videos and other telematic material, that can often involve a doubling of effort. In this case, the teaching stuff must support and define a design and avoid overloads. The downside involves parents.
In some family contexts, in fact, the stress due to the Coronavirus emergency is compounded by the presence of several children and perhaps a single computer. Distance learning cannot replace real lessons, but can, in this context, take care of the relationship with students in a splendid reciprocity. There are many obstacles and even more things to better, but support cannot be missing. A support that can be achieved by everyone; parents, teachers and pupils. A great challenge and a great responsibility, with the hope of meeting again and returning to normality asap.