It is 08.00 am on Friday 18 December 2020, one hundred and nine days from the start of the school year.
The cheery things to report
Fact: Covid 19, by forcing the closure of schools, colleges and universities, has disrupted the traditional educational model.
Denial of this fact: Many countries, including France, have refused to accept the FACT. They have forced schools to remain open, under an umbrella of supposedly effective anti-Covid 19 procedures, and in the midst of new surges of the pandemic. They do not make public what proportion of continuing infections can be traced back to the schools as a significant source within a community. The latest news on this front is that Germany and the Netherlands have just changed tack – they have again closed schools this week and reverted to distance learning.
Hybrid teaching, the new educational model?: There is increasing interest from some education experts who believe the FACT, who reckon it has exposed substantial shortcomings in the classic school model, (not to mention the old not-fit-for-purpose school real estate), and who believe that the FACT also has a great upside – it has created a brand-new argument and rationale for developing a much better educational model, a new Phoenix arising from the ashes. Their talk is about developing a new educational strategy that establishes a custom designed framework for a new, better, operational model – a formalised ‘flexi-time and flexi-timetable’ blend of face-to face learning, home learning, family learning and technology supported learning.
The concept of hybrid teaching chimes with a recent blog that highlighted one teacher’s delight at how her pupils benefited from becoming proficient during a period of forced full-time online learning, and hybrid teaching really, really chimes with Mum and dad’s arguments about the benefits of mixing school and home based learning, not just to reduce the risks of virus transmission, but to widen Child’s educational curriculum and horizons.
The not-so-cheery things to report
The French lockdown was cancelled this week!
As of Tuesday of this week, 15 December, most lockdown restrictions in France were lifted. This was based upon the assumption of the ‘men-in-charge’ that the lockdown was working and the new cases were dropping, and could be maintained to stay below 5000 per day. It was replaced by an overnight curfew. During the day, people are now permitted to leave their homes, drive anywhere, fill all the public car parks, stampede through the Christmas shops and end up having a simple family Christmas dinner at home. There are still not allowed, thank goodness, to dine out, or go to the cinema, theatres, concert halls, or sporting events, at least until 7 January. This is presumably on the assumption that the latest surge will be fully controlled by then.
Now, let’s look at the context and some nitty gritty numbers:
|Weekly national summary||Covid 19 cases||Covid 19 deaths|
|3 Jan to 27 Nov||2,131,376||50,259|
|3 Jan to 04 Dec||2,217,873||53,779|
|3 Jan to 11 Dec||2,283,752||56,280|
|3 Jan to 18 Dec||2,367,648||58,989|
Mum and dad’s assessment: No conjecture needed – no, the latest Covid surge has not been brought under control. The average daily number of new cases is still running at over 10,000 each day, as highlighted above. Once more, the hopes, wishes, desires, assumptions, economic objectives, whatever it is that drives the decisions of the ‘men-in-charge’, are, even as we speak, being dashed upon the rocks of over-optimism and/or just plain crass thinking.
And meanwhile: Over our own festive period, mum and dad have decided to put in place a new temporary layer of extra psychological protection by banning any discussion or reference to the two primary subjects of Covid 19 and Brexit (yes, that is just as damaging as Covid 19 in its own really stupid ‘men-in-charge’ way!).
They do not want their planned positive experiences to be dragged down into the gutter, not even for one minute. So, no news channels, no breaking news, just nice gentle, visually stimulating, entertainment and informative programmes about people, the environment, animals, and things that relax the mind, and ……..
Finally, after 109 days of exposure to their primary school, are Mum and Dad still coping?: No deep analysis this week! Our priority of the moment is to prepare ourselves and our psyches for simple enjoyment, winding down the constant search for improving and simplifying the way we protect ourselves from Covid 19, shutting down the exploration of the what-if scenarios and putting ourselves ‘in our own zone’, not anybody else’s zone. Feels good! To be recommended!
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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