On May 28, the Federation of Quebec Parents' Committees (FCPQ) presented the festive digital meeting, a virtual evening offered free of charge to all parents during which our colleague Stéphanie Dionne was invited to name 3 good shots from the middle of the education in this very special year.
By this beautiful Friday evening, the spirit was at the party to underline all the progress made during the last year, not only by the pupils, but also by their parents who supported them in their school course and in their personal life. .
At the end of the evening, Stéphanie Dionne presented the 3 good moves of digital. These are based on the observations and experiences of the École branchée team over the past year. Moreover, these successes were supported by the testimonies of the students present during the evening, who came to talk about their extraordinary year and what made the difference for them.
Let's take the time to name them here to thank them:
- Nathan Acheampong, École Curé-Antoine-Labelle, CSS de Laval;
- Amélia Drouin, Grande-Rivière high school, CSS des Portages-de-l'Outaouais;
- Broderick Flannigan, École secondaire de l'Île, CSS des Portages-de-l'Outaouais;
- Andréa Galerneau, Seigneurie High School, CSS des Premieres-Seigneuries.
First good shot: Attention to well-being
“What was the most difficult was to keep your motivation. "
If motivation was a big issue for Andréa, she mentions in return having appreciated the fact of being able to sleep longer on days when teaching was done at a distance. “It helped us a lot,” added Broderick.
Amelia, for her part, mainly named the difficulties related to anxiety and stress generated by the situation. Nathan recalled the great capacity of adolescents to adapt to the many changes that have had an impact on their lives and he underlined their sense of pride to have gone through this period of uncertainty.
In fact, the past year has been destabilizing on a human level. It therefore appeared essential to prioritize not only the well-being of the learners, but also that of the adults who accompany them.
Amélia spoke of the positive impact that a simple question asked repeatedly by her teachers had on her: “How are you? ". Indeed, for her, the learning context continued to be human thanks to each of these attentions on the part of her teachers. Broderick supported it by adding “It makes a huge difference! ". He also recalled the importance of breaking isolation: “It brings students closer to teachers and it develops strong bonds”.
Several examples were named by the young people:
- Amelia's English teacher took time to allow them to meditate and ask them how they were doing. “It removes the virtual barrier and makes the situation more human. "
- Andréa's French teacher understood that all her students were stressed before an important exam period. She took the time to underline each other's strengths by writing them down on a pencil that she gave them. Andrea still has this pencil and it means to her that teachers see what they are doing and who they are, even from a distance. It was a very reassuring gesture for her.
- Nathan's ethics teacher took the time to ask his students to place themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 to say how they were doing. He also made one-on-one meetings to talk to them.
"All the young people have lived through difficult times during the pandemic", recalls Amélia, for whom awareness of mental health should be daily in all schools.
Second good shot: The importance of co-education in the digital age
Parents are not only the primary educators of their children, but their contribution has been essential, even essential, in the context where they have often had to learn from home. Maintaining effective communication between school and home has undoubtedly been a major success factor over the past year.
Parents were the eyes of teachers
This year, parents have literally been the eyes of the teachers. In this context, what observations have they gained from sharing with teachers? In our opinion, all those related to the well-being of the child (stress, motivation, sleep, for example) and to academic success (understanding of the work to be done, methods and workload, for example) are important to communicate with the aim of creating a school-family link centered on the establishment of the best learning conditions for young people.
Let us name a few accomplishments that have made it possible to improve the link between school and home and to support parents in their role.
- A Parent Questionnaire was created by Myra Auvergnat-Ringuette, 4th year elementary school teacher at Externat St-Jean-Berchmans, to validate their children's online learning experience with parents. She shares it with all the teachers who want it.
- Several school service centers (CSS) have put together tools and tutorials for parents and students, including:
- A Facebook group brought together over 20,000 parents from all over to support each other in the context of the past year.
- The FCPQ, in partnership with theEnglish Parent's Committee Association of Quebec (EPCA), set up the portal Parents Quebec, with the support of the Ministry of Education.
Third good move: The essential development of digital skills
Regardless of where the teachers started from, they all learned about integrating technology this year. And these learnings will remain.
If pedagogical practices in a virtual context have developed at high speed, it is most likely thanks to the collaboration and mutual aid of the entire network. Teachers have learned to use digital working environments, video conferencing tools and interactive applications, they have adapted their planning to create the best learning conditions for their students online and more.
What the young people said they liked
Let us return to the testimonies of young people. Amélia appreciated the use of interactive quizzes (on Kahoot for example) by her teachers. “It created a stimulating competitive spirit. In addition, the use of online questionnaires allowed teachers to quickly verify the concepts that the students had and had not mastered.
Some teachers recorded their lessons and cut them into several short video clips to make them available in online workspaces. “I liked having the chance to watch the videos again when I needed them,” Amélia said.
Nathan observed the innovative spirit and creativity of his teachers. For example, his chemistry teacher succeeded in transforming the context of assessment into a laboratory which brought with it its share of stress for the students. Since the virtual classroom no longer made it possible to live the teaching and practice sequence in the laboratory, she adapted everything by integrating demonstration videos. The students thus worked on the drafting of the laboratory report by noting the manipulations observed in the videos as if they had carried out them themselves.
Amélia spoke about the importance of living more interactive moments online, of working more in collaboration with her comrades. Nathan seconded by recalling the importance of creating more time in sub-groups and of providing direct student-teacher communication channels to ask questions and avoid the embarrassment of having to address them in front of the whole class.
Andréa ended by recalling the importance of creating a more spontaneous and natural dynamic, even online. “It allows you to laugh, to let go of your crazy, even online. It is important! "
“I want the activities and lesson plans to continue to be available online. It's so helpful to have everything in one place and less stressful. We can no longer forget anything, everything is there! "
A virtual course is fine, but the virtual school… no!
According to the testimonies of the young people, their virtual lesson experience was successful. However, the virtual school experience was not there. The nuance is important to them. What makes them want to go to school is the opportunity to see their friends, the exchanges between the lockers, the atmosphere in the school, the extracurricular and everything that is experienced outside of style.
By way of conclusion to this evening, Stéphanie Dionne underlined the fact that, in the last year, teachers have not only learned to use technology for student learning and to promote active online pedagogy, but also to invest time in their teacher-student relationship. The pandemic has reminded everyone that in order to learn, young people first need to feel good, to feel that they are being wished for. This period also allowed teachers and parents to come together to better communicate.
“In a context as special as the one we have experienced, we had better be several to pay attention to the well-being and success of young people. This learning has enabled us to progress together: students, teachers and parents, ”she concluded.
And now, let's hope that these three hits, which have a positive impact in both face-to-face and distance teaching and learning, become the norm for years to come!
The École branchée is proud to contribute to sharing the expertise of the education community in digital integration with parents. Over the past year, our team has contributed in a number of ways. Let us mention:
- The production of the number Well-being, a lever for learning ... even at a distance, a special edition intended for parents of the École branchée magazine, in partnership with the FCPQ and EPCA and with the financial support of the Ministry of Education.
- The opening round table of Digital Education Day, organized by the Quebec Ministry of Education, in which more than 6,000 teachers participated in November 2020. You can listen to the compilation of interviews conducted with 9 stakeholders in the education sector on the importance of creating and maintaining the relationship with students at a distance.