With all the major changes to teaching methodologies that have been recently implemented, how do you see 2021 looking in general for education?
Education is constantly changing, and the pace accelerated in 2020 with disruptions in the form of school closure and transitioning to online learning. During this process, technology is critical in ensuring students and teachers stay connected. To deliver the curriculum online, lessons must be reformatted, as the pedagogy must suit the shift from in-person to online delivery. At the start of the transition, delivering online lessons was born out of necessity; and support and commitment were required from the schools, parents and students.
As we move into 2021, opportunities have risen from the earlier challenges. Technology in education will continue to grow and take its place in classroom education, often incorporated as a tool for effective teaching and learning. Continuing investments in education technology, matched by upskilling of teachers will offer considerable benefits for students and their learning.
What educational trends do you foresee being put in place in the near future?
The learning challenges students face during the pandemic and disruptions to the traditional classroom setup have placed mental health as a priority. Reviews of the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process will continue and now there may be heightened interest in what learning looks like, and how we develop our students as learners who are purposeful and motivated.
What are your plans for your school for the upcoming academic year?
In 2020, the school dealt with many challenges which brought about changes. These included teachers and students having to learn how to work differently, embracing technology and using video-conferencing platforms for the purpose of teaching and learning.
Moving into 2021, plans for the school will include a reflection on our past year experiences. We find that our students can learn remotely and there are opportunities for greater collaboration. Now that location is not an obstacle, we are able to have guests joining us live from different parts of the world. Particularly memorable were the online ECA activities that were conducted with guests from Australia and the United States as co-facilitators. Our students were provided the opportunity to stay connected in a bigger, international setting. We could leverage on the power of break-out rooms and student presentations were made effectively.
These experiences have shaped our thinking moving forward. There would be plans to increase opportunities for students, including the implementation of new programmes with greater market demand. Upskilling of teachers will remain a focus as they will need to acquire new skills and be future ready. The overall picture is for the school to operate more efficiently, bringing greater benefits to the school community.
What advice do you have for students finishing secondary school considering all the drastic changes that have occurred?
To these students who will soon be completing their secondary school education, the challenges that we face as we transition from in-person schools to online teaching and learning, are also fundamentally changing the world of work. As we move away from physical spaces and embrace technology and remote settings, the skills of Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Collaboration remain crucial for the present and future. Honing these skills remains important to be successful in education, work and ultimately, life.
Beaconhouse Sri Lethia is a private school offering the national curriculum and preparing students for UPSR, PT3 and SPM public examinations.