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Education Lithuania

E eventSunday, 25 February 2024

Children's prayers:

"Dear God, I want to ask you that mummy doesn't get Covid-19."

(Eve, whose mother is a doctor)

"Please help all those affected by the pandemic. Protect my family "(Amélie)

"Please help people to overcome the virus" (Thomas)



How we became computer professionals in two weeks

With the start of distance learning, it became clear that our students were not as "smart" as we thought they were. Equipping children with computer technology is not enough. Knowing how to download a game or install a mobile application from Google Play Store is not yet computer literacy. The same goes for teachers who routinely shop online but suddenly break down when it comes to installing a distance learning application. This experience is a lesson for us from quarantine: the IT course should not be given from the fifth grade onwards, but from the first grade, or perhaps already in kindergarten. The problem is not that the school does not teach the children what they need, but that the general curriculum itself does not meet the challenges of the times.

If, during a pandemic, more than one person, using computer technology, has defended his or her doctoral thesis and entered a higher level of education, then what does distance learning mean for fifth graders? As we have become computer professionals in one week, we need to continue to develop our skills and grow our students at the same pace, because the digital world is our world.

I hope that when we go back to school, we won't put tablets in the drawer, disconnect the platforms we have created, and don't forget the connections for online exercises.

In a fortnight, the school has entered the 21st century. If we move too fast, it will return to the 20th century.


The programmes, the lessons of life and a word of praise for idleness.

Are we thinking of the life lessons that teachers and students learn during a pandemic? The competencies and skills acquired here are not described in any curriculum. By clinging to the programmes, by sending students many exercises, by not taking the time in videoconferencing to review their experience and reflect on the situation with them, we are preventing them from acquiring life wisdom.

There has been a decrease in activities, mass events, "indispensable" meetings. It is a pity that we think it is important to be always busy. This is how we teach children to be "busy people" from an early age, because to be important and valuable, we must not have a moment to ourselves, not dream and learn constantly. We have simply forgotten that it is very important for a child (and for an adult) to have time to do nothing. It takes time to think, to look out the window, to sit on the couch and think calmly about whether I want to read a book or do a giant puzzle. Quarantine has saved students from over-evaluating learning: someone with promise has to do dance on Monday after school, draw on Tuesday, go to the pool on Wednesday, go to the tutor on Thursday, etc. All of a sudden, there was time to read a book, ride a bike, walk the dog, do crafts or just do nothing.

A pandemic shows at what point science can be incompetent when faced with an invisible virus. We were too convinced of human superpowers and forgot that wisdom is not equal to academic knowledge. This will help us to understand at school that academic speculation alone does not give maturity and wisdom. Wisdom does not only depend on the curriculum and the number of exercises performed.


What is "normal"?

During the first week of distance learning, the administration of the school where I work received many letters of encouragement and gratitude from the students' parents. The schools also received letters from outraged parents asking them to manage here and now the amount of work required, to force teachers to give video lessons and to teach each child individually in real time. A rhetorical question remains, for all the people (not just the educators) who have moved from their usual place of work to their living room, kitchen or bedroom: did it all happen by itself? Probably not. It is the same for teachers. Moreover, that is normal. After all, in addition to the computer skills, family life and multitasking of teachers between the classroom and their own children, there are also personal emotions, anxiety, and responsibility, just like everyone else.

No sooner have we moved to distance learning than we teachers, like parents and society, want a perfect job, not knowing that not knowing is not only normal, but also sometimes healthy. It dethrones the know-it-all teachers and it is a much healthier experience for personality development than qualification seminars. There are teachers who love and appreciate this way of working, just as there are children whose results have risen during the month of distance learning. More than one teacher was surprised to see how students who are not zealous and focused in class have shown themselves to be able to work in a systematic and consistent way and have made progress.

Distance learning has revealed another ability (or disability) of our students: that of independent work, self-discipline and activity planning.

So why ignore this by forcing everyone to work in groups? I think we are deluding ourselves by relying on the one panacea of active learning, constant stimulation, and group work. Learning sometimes means sitting (or possibly lying down) for an hour to read a text, learn words in a foreign language, etc. Sometimes I am glad that I am no longer at school and that nobody tries to activate me six times a day (there are on average as many classes for high school students). I hope that in the aftermath of the pandemic, the modern lesson will be one in which education will be even more personalised and where there will be more time for individual work of deepening not in breadth but in depth.


Sister Kotrina-Danguole