Parents and experts blame inconsistent distance learning methods

“I don’t think we can make a comprehensive statement and say that it needs to be a specific way, because we need to be able to adapt to the specific needs of each family, not just the school community.” , Australian Principal Federation.

Tina King, Acting President of the Australian Principal South

Ms. King said that while some schools may be “more robust” in distance learning than others, everything is about listening to their community and maintaining student involvement, connection and learning. He said he was in focus.

Kevin McKay, principal of Dandenong North Elementary School, said a more normative approach would not work in a disadvantaged school like him.

The school does video check-in every morning, but McKay said live online lessons cannot be run on campus due to the large number of students who need personalized support in English.


“It works in many schools, but it doesn’t work in us or other schools with a large non-English background,” he said.

Melbourne’s mother, Kelly Coghlan, said she experienced the best and worst of a distance learning approach during five blockades in the city.

Her 11-year-old son, Ollie, attends a Catholic elementary school and holds a 30-minute Google Meet session each morning. In this session, students are given assignments for the rest of the day, without the supervision of a teacher.

Ms. Coghlan said she was dissatisfied with the school’s still adopting the same light-touch approach to distance learning that it adopted in its first blockade more than 12 months ago.

“We are now heading for the fifth blockade. He is in sixth grade. I don’t say anything has improved in the process of these five blockades,” she said.

Meanwhile, her 14-year-old daughter, Savannah, attends an independent school that offers live online lessons throughout the day.

Ms. Coghlan said her children’s various experiences revealed a coherent lack of coherence in how individual schools approach distance learning. “There is no distance learning baseline across the state,” she said.

For Yenuli Peiris, a 13-year-old eighth grader, distance learning has improved significantly since last year. She and her family said they were happy with the combination of live education at Google Meet and the solo worktime set by her school, St Monika’s College in Eping.

“It was much more productive than last time,” she said. “Last time, teachers had no experience in distance learning, so it was very difficult and resources were significantly reduced, but this time it is much better.

8th grade Yenuli Peiris is pleased with how distance learning is progressing.

8th grade Yenuli Peiris is pleased with how distance learning is Hopkins

“I can’t see my classmates and teachers, so I’m a little lacking in communication, but otherwise it’s okay.”

Education consultant Peter Adams said the department needs to provide guidance on the basics of quality distance learning.

This includes balancing live and independent learning, providing rapid feedback, measuring student task comprehension, monitoring health, and setting tasks that do not require parental supervision.

“What you want to do is not be overly normative and provide a minimal safety net for your children,” said Adams, an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne.


A spokesman for the Ministry of Education said: “As with face-to-face learning, schools offer a Victorian curriculum through education and learning programs developed at the local level that best meet the needs of the local community and maximize the use of staff and locals. Resources.

“The department consistently issues to schools the advice that learning programs need to be implemented to ensure learning continuity during remote and flexible learning periods.”

He did not answer how much variability in the quality of distance learning was taken into account by policy makers in making decisions about future school closures, or the impact of high variability between schools on equity.

A Ministry of Education review found that during the winter blockade in Victoria in 2020, schools were identified and adapted to the best methods for distance learning.

“For example, more lessons are organized around shorter syncs. [in real time] The first instruction with the opportunity to work on a set task or problem, including collaborative work, and to interact with the teacher individually. “

“Schools have also improved the level of online connections between students and from schools to families and students.”

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Parents and experts blame inconsistent distance learning methods

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