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Lessons Learned through COVID-19

Can you believe there is only one term left of 2020?

This extraordinary year has seen a global pandemic cause the largest disruption to our education system in history. It is natural to feel worried about all that our students have lost and missed out on so far this year. But what if we chose to focus on the lessons learned through COVID-19 rather than the lessons lost?

Review, reinvent and re-imagine

The pandemic has provided us all with a giant button to either ‘pause’ or ‘reset’. As schools and offices have shut across the country, we have quickly adapted with new tools and ways of working. Teachers have learned to skilfully facilitate online learning and to connect with their students via digital classrooms. Parents have adjusted to their new roles working from home whilst supervising their children’s schooling. We have all learned to step back, consider our purpose and to innovate with intention. Such innovation will be long lasting. We will not simply return to the ways we lived and worked before.

Appreciate moments of every day joy

Life in lockdown has enhanced our gratitude for small, every day pleasures. Time spent singing, dancing, painting, drawing, watching a movie, listening to music, doing a puzzle and working on a craft project has brought us relief, distraction and happiness. Arts activities can encourage us to be mindful, to slow down and to feel relaxed. They make us smile and feel connected to our humanity. The global pandemic has taught us to notice and savour these everyday moments of making and responding with creativity and joy.

Value our connections to each other

Physically distanced from those that we care about, we have had to learn new ways to connect and communicate. Text messages, phone calls and online catch-ups have taken on new meaning. We no longer take for granted the privilege of teaching students face-to-face in the classroom where we can create and make music in time and space together. We now appreciate that schools are more than just places where we learn, they are communities of strength, connection and healing.

Place well-being at the centre

We have always known that schools play a vital role in supporting the well-being of young people. This has become a central focus as we seek to support students to feel safe, resilient, re-connected and re-engaged with learning on their return to school.

Arts programs provide teachers with opportunities to explore social and emotional learning with their students. Musical ensembles can support students to develop social skills, drama games can support students to develop confidence and resilience, art making can support students to express their feelings in new ways, and dance activities can help students to feel physically fit and in tune with their bodies.

Dolly Parton once sung that ‘storms make trees take deeper roots’. Though these unprecedented times have challenged us, they have also helped us to discover new learning and to rethink who we are and what we value. As we approach Term Four, let’s celebrate our ‘deeper roots’ and apply our new learning with resilience, optimism and renewed hope for the future.

Elise Hopkins

National Arts Learning Manager, The Song Room

 

If you would like The Song Room in your school in 2021, now is the time to get in touch.

Call Simone Carrodus on 0413 233 665, email enquires@songroom.org.au, or fill our an EOI here.

 

As published in EducationHQ on 14 October. 

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