It’s about the journey, not the destination. Many wise people have often said those words. And never have they rung truer than now: in a constantly changing world, where just keeping on with the journey has become ever more difficult; where the turns are sharper than ever and where you aren’t sure of what the destination may look like next year, let alone tomorrow. Welcome to being a hybrid-learning student during a world pandemic.
Children do not often talk about the journey, they like to show off their final product. We ooh and aah over that, and rightly so: a lot of effort goes into getting there. But, may I argue that we should focus more on appreciating the success the students have on the journey itself. On their own, they are still too young to appreciate the importance of this, their journey, just as we were once too young to appreciate the importance of ours.
Effective online communication became the overarching theme of the destination of this unit. This was not by choice, but by necessity. Our reality required it, our reality begged it of us, and so we, Year 3 Unit 3 learners, coming up to the 1st year anniversary of our new reality, gladly gave in.
Students usually practice effective communication at school on a daily basis in multiple ways, the following are just to name a few:
Handwriting, spelling, grammar practice and written layout.
Reciting with rhythm and rhyme, reading and giving instructions to a partner or a group.
Our new online hybrid learning environment gave us another dimension to explore. We practiced working with a partner online, then giving instructions for them to follow and finally generating a finished product on one side of the camera. Students found that working with one person remotely was a challenge, and working with more even more so. In this hybrid environment, students had to look for consensus, find a way to vote in order to agree, all the while dealing with the day to day frustrations that working in a group can bring.
One aspect that this new form of hybrid communication brought to the forefront of the students’ consciousness was the importance of respect and common courtesy. Even though these are practiced in hopefully every classroom on a daily basis, during the hybrid learning process students became more sensitive to noise levels as well as to the organization and management of their time and space in this new learning reality.
The finished product is a creation myth written by each student based on their research of a country on a continent of their choice. Some myths follow a pre-designed paragraph outline, which worked as a model that the children followed, adding their researched non-fiction parts and their creative fiction elements. Stories recorded at school were told using a Kamishibai, a traditional street theater form created in ancient Japan.
More will follow soon!