Against intuition: how international schools can promote evidence-based pedagogy
Throughout the challenging times of COVID-19, Liam Printer, Secondary Spanish teacher at ISL, expresses his opinion on the impacts this has had on teaching, learning and motivation. He describes ISL’s approach and procedures, which have been appreciated by many. His article, originally posted in The Journal in Ireland, turned out to go viral with nearly 400k readers.
Just like all school’s around Switzerland (around the world)– the coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on the classroom learning. Firstly, educational institutions had to move from in class to remote learning within a few days. Then, the Swiss authorities allowed for some students to come back on alternate days – for specific classes only. Afterwards, the regulations changed several times for the oldest students and then summer holiday happened. No one knew exactly what to expect after an eight-week break. Luckily at ISL, we were able to welcome back all students, for full in class learning. The question however remains, does it feel different being back in class, at school?
Liam explains, « Yes, absolutely, but it has to. The world is different. Life is different. Schools have to adjust. Seating in classrooms is spaced out, there are floor markings around teachers’ desks, hand sanitisers in every classroom, one-way traffic in the cafeteria and staggered class end times for younger students. »
Yes, schools feel different due today’s situation, but this change has also brought positivity over the past months. « My overwhelming feeling is of appreciation and gratitude to be back in my classroom, seeing my colleagues’ and my students’ faces again. »
Seeing students, teachers – a lively school feels great, however the current situation makes schools deal with the lack of community events and fun interactions. « The hardest part for me is that so many of the fun aspects have been stripped out of our jobs: the ‘fancy dress’ days, the graduations, the theatre productions, the sports competitions, the field trips. But if it’s tough for us, then imagine what it’s like for our students? They are coming to school and attending our classes with almost no socialising, no sports, no events. Now is the time to really make our classes more engaging, more fun and more centred around our students’ lives and personalities. »
Ensuring entertaining, educational and engaging lessons for students is a must, especially throughout these uncertain times. Additionally, taking care of our students and their mental well-being is the number one priority at ISL. With the right planning, the correct measures in place and a positive mindset teaching in the classroom can be done, « For our students’ sake, it needs to be done. »
Find out more about our coronavirus approach at ISL, more specifically our back to school plan. We are continuously working on providing the safest environment for all community members.
Explore Liam’s article, podcasts, and interviews.
- Article – Opinion: When it comes to schools re-opening, why is no one talking about Switzerland?
- Podcasts – The engaging of a classroom is Liam’s passion, and that is also the reason to why he started hosting “The Motivated Classroom” podcasts series for language teachers and learners.
- Interview CBC national broadcaster – Teachers around the world are worried about how reopening school will work.