Shepparton Christian College rises to the challenge

By Jessica Ball

From staff to student and family, there has been much to learn from remote learning at Shepparton Christian College.

Principal Chris Aiton said the college had made the most of a difficult time.

“I think it's just made us stop and think about ways we can do things differently,” Mr Aiton said.

“The technology is there and I guess one of the positive outcomes is we've now been challenged to use it in new and different ways and I think some of those new and different ways will follow through and stick post-COVID-19."

Rather than traditional face-to-face meetings, parent interviews were hosted via Zoom and Mr Aiton said parents appreciated the changed format.

“That actually worked really smoothly and we were really pleased to be able to engage with our parents,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity to touch base with parents to discuss how their kids have been travelling and how we're working together with parents to get the best we can for our kids.

“Some parents commented that it was far more accessible, and we'll consider whether we continue to use a hybrid system.”

In the classroom Mr Aiton said teachers had to think outside the box.

“Teachers are having to experiment with different ways of approaching the classroom and the learning environment,” he said.

“Grade 6 teacher Mr Stone, he's been setting weekly challenges and this week it was to build a tower, last week was to do a trick shot.

“He's done some video lessons and (in) one he dressed as a panda and another one he was dressed as a Stormtrooper — just creative ways of catching the kids’ attention.”

While maintaining strong teacher-student connection, Mr Aiton said the experience was also fostering stronger independence for senior students.

“Every one of our normal timetabled classes has video connection for secondary level, but we're still not able to look over their shoulders,” he said.

“It's definitely been challenging students around what does it look like for them to take more independent responsibility for their learning, and that is a very good outcome.

“There is a higher degree of independence that students are developing and that will serve them well long-term.”