From the beginning of 2021 we have taken on the challenges imposed by the new normality. Whilst in 2020 attendance was replaced by home-schooling, this year has as a main challenge to adjust new educational models, based on alternating attendance that allows the link between virtual and face to face learning.
Thanks to the implementation of improved technologies, the school has adopted a hybrid model as an option to guarantee biosafety of the whole educational community and the return of as many students as possible to the school campus. Headteacher, Anke Käding, explains that it consists of “Combining face to face classes with virtual elements or with students that are in a virtual space.” While one week some students attend face to face classes, others continue with their learning process also participating as if they were in class, but remotely, making use of the technological tools that allows them to do it. For Mrs. Käding "This has been a challenge, the biggest challenge is to generate an equal experience for all students. Nevertheless, we have seen how this model has permitted the development of new competencies".
Manuela Vogelgesang, leader of the teacher training team, explains that the model implemented depends on the section of the school and even on the grade, well it is important to understand that each age group has different needs. Thus, while all students from Kindergarten and Klasse 1 have the possibility to attend permanently to the school campus, from Klasse 2 onwards the new model has been implemented, with important differentiation issues. “Older students can work more independently; younger ones need a more active accompaniment.” Adds Mrs. Vogelgesang. For this reason, it is necessary to evaluate day by day and make adjustments that ensure classes can reach the necessary requirement level.
The main challenge this year is to adjust new educational models based on alternating attendance that allows the link between virtual and face to face learning.
In addition to technical training in which the teachers have learnt to use technological tools, the school has opened collaborative spaces so they can share their experiences. This way “Connections are made that strengthen the development and invite to take advantage of the tools. We want teachers to be creative in their planning and that between them they come up with ideas to understand how to make the most of their time at home,” says Manuela Vogelgesang. “These are spaces that allow the exchange of ideas, something extremely valuable when we talk about developing and broadening knowledge” concludes Anke Käding.
One of the most important challenges has been to enable students at home make the most out of the hour of class. “Departments like Science need the face-to-face contact in the laboratories for some specific learning activities” explains Cristian Müller-Ortiz, Head of the Science department. For this reason, a protocol has been created that allows those who attend school to take advantage of the facilities and carry out their experiments and for those staying at home to carry out the activities with everyday objects. “We seek to ensure that the experiences are similar and can complement each other” argues Mr. Müller-Ortiz.
With the smaller students, commitment from parents is much higher. As they grow older, their level of independence increases. On the one hand, it is fundamental to promote autonomy at home and avoid overprotection. On the other hand, it is essential to create a learning environment without distractions and it is necessary to have constant communication. “We encourage active communication from both parties, it is important that both parents and teachers are informed” says Manuela Vogelgesang.