|7 Jul 2021|
As I am sure you have all had many changes in your lives, In my 28 years of teaching I, like the rest of the education profession, have never experienced anything like the last 18 months. The world has been overturned in terms of its normality; old certainties have been tested to destruction.
Education itself across the globe has been through an unparalleled trauma. Schools closed (with some yet to re-open) and learning shifted to online. The figures are simply mind-boggling: by mid-April 2020 90% of students in the world were no longer in school. Perhaps inevitably, in poorer areas of the planet, where access to online learning is not available, this has been a catastrophe.
The shock of the pandemic has, nonetheless, caused adaptation and change. Indeed, these changes occasioned by COVID-19, may well be viewed, by future historians, as not only necessary but also desirable.
The model of the school has been constant for many years – it is, after all, efficient, fair and provides discipline and order. Yet, the closing of schools, required teachers to innovate their teaching methods, rewrite schemes of work and embrace remote learning. Lessons now were not only received in the comfort of one’s home, but could also be recorded – to be reviewed again and again at a later date. Marking too became part of this virtual world; and students who were shy at speaking up in class found a new voice online. In this respect those who find the social aspects of schooling hard may have adapted to their online existence more easily.
But the pandemic has also underlined what we know to be true of education - people. In particular – you our Perkonians, who have gone out of your way to help our students either by giving career talks or by your willingness to be a mentor. For this we thank you.
It is part of human nature to adapt to changing circumstances, for good or for bad. As our students continue to move through the year groups, having emerged from the pandemic, they will continue to acquire an ever more sophisticated “tool kit” for coping, for adjusting, and thriving in life.
Chris C Muller
Associate Dean - Engineering, Maths & Physical Sciences, University of Exeter More...