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Primary Update

Posted: August 28, 2020

Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to complete the Parent Survey on Online Learning. As of this morning, we’ve heard from 207 parents. If you haven’t had a chance yet or misplaced the link, please click here to complete the survey. The survey will collect responses until the end of day, Tuesday 1 September 2020

Yesterday morning a Student Survey was sent to children in Years 4-6 to complete and this morning staff in the Primary Section of Discovery College received a survey as well. It is important as we look at making changes to the way we are working that all stakeholders are consulted and considered. Already, several patterns are emerging that will help guide us in refining our online provision. I think it is important to note, however, there is almost a 50% split amongst families around the key areas the survey is collecting data on, like screen-time, number of Zoom lessons and the relevance of independent learning tasks.

All feedback will be collected by Tuesday 1 September 2020. The feedback from all three sets of stakeholders will then inform the refinement of our online learning approach. Knowing that any changes in the learning grids will have a direct impact on timetabling of lessons, we are anticipating small adaptations over the next two weeks with any major adaptations being introduced by Monday 14 September 2020.

Thank you to those of you who attended the Meet the Teacher Zooms on Thursday evening. Having the opportunity to connect with you face to face, albeit in a Zoom call, is helpful as we continue to build connections and partnerships for the year ahead.

Many of you submitted questions prior to the Zoom Meetings. Some questions submitted were more ‘Big Picture’ than class based so I thought a bit of an FAQ here in The Explorer would be useful.

FAQ

  • With the disruptions to the school year last year from protests and the global pandemic, and continued class suspension this year, how are you ensuring learning isn’t being lost and that my child isn’t ‘falling behind’?
    The learning outcomes at Discovery College are developmentally appropriate and adjusted to meet the needs of our students. Although our curriculum documents are written down, they are flexible, providing us the opportunity to shift outcomes to those that are more appropriately addressed for a particular time. Adjustments that were made in Year 3, last year for instance, fed into the adjustments that have occurred to start Year 4. Nothing is ‘lost’ or ‘taken away’; rather, the learning outcomes and objectives are rearranged to support learning and teaching. This would happen regardless of a global pandemic or not as each cohort of students is different and the amount of time needed to consolidate understanding varies from class to class. As you would have heard last night, the outcomes in the areas of language and mathematics were highlighted by your child’s class teacher and will be available in PDF form shortly on the new Parent Information Portal (see the separate Explorer article on this for more details). Our curriculum remains in line with the guidelines and structures of the IB PYP and their guidance to schools during the current pandemic.

  • Why are there so many links? Why can’t we use just one Zoom room for everything?
    We hear you and we are currently looking at ways to streamline the sharing of online resources and access to learning technologies. Using one Zoom room for everything, unfortunately, is not a viable solution as it would prohibit the ability for small groups to meet as well as cause bottlenecks with specialist lessons.

  • What should we do if we have IT technical difficulties during the day?
    We understand that sometimes technical difficulties arise over the course of a day. In order to make sure you’re connected with the person best able to support you, please email primary.office@admin.dc.edu.hk with any such technical queries. Your query will then be passed onto the person who can help.

  • Why can’t you just have full day zooms like Secondary students?
    The survey results will help inform our next steps of refinement in online learning. We recognise that various international schools have a variety of models, including full days Zooms. The early data from the DC community is pointing to not an increase in Zooms or longer screen-time but instead a change in how the current screen-time is utilised. Methods of learning and teaching have always differed in Primary and Secondary settings because children in these settings are at very different developmental stages. It is important to remember that what works for one learning community might not be what is best for another. This is why stakeholders are being surveyed to find common ground moving forward.

  • It is not possible for us to attend every live session. It does not work for my family. What should we do?
    We understand that every family situation is different. We also understand that this is not easy. You need to make decisions about what is best for your family. Please make sure to communicate to your child’s class teacher if they aren’t going to be able to attend live sessions. The important thing here is that your child is able to access what they can in regards to their learning. If Zoom sessions are too much but completing the self-directed learning tasks is possible, then please do that.

    We don’t know for sure how much longer we will be in an online provision model. Assessment in regards to online learning will be dependent on what a student HAS done, not what they haven’t. We will use the evidence available to provide next steps in learning. Please note though, if there has been no or very limited engagement then assessing a child under these circumstances is not fair to the child.
    We remain optimistic though that we will be back face to face in some capacity before long.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead and please remember to fill out the survey.

Josh Blue
Head of Primary