by Deputy Headmaster Micah Hocquard
With the Global Pandemic and lockdown closing schools across the country, many found themselves in the unique position of having to deliver online programmes for their students.
At Medbury School, the only independent boys’ school in Christchurch offering an education for both dayboys and boarders from Years 1 to 8, we had been busily preparing behind the scenes. This meant that when schools were closed near the end of March we were able to jump into action, delivering remote learning the very next day. It was something new for the whole Medbury community. Teachers were getting used to setting tasks via Seesaw and Google Classroom and teaching through video conferencing, boys were adapting to being away from their classrooms and friends and parents were adjusting to supporting their sons while managing to work from home.
We decided to keep our school term dates the same, which meant we had nine days of remote learning before the end of Term 1. This period generated some exciting learning opportunities and it was great to see the teachers and boys interacting via video conferencing. This would prove to be one of the most valuable tools of remote learning as it allowed the boys to connect with peers and teachers in a way that was more meaningful. Everyone’s digital technology skills were vastly improved and boys were learning how to submit tasks on Seesaw and Google Classroom, whether these were videos, images or maths tasks.
Not only were the boys completing academic classwork, but many were also taking part in a range of specialist activities. It was great to see some boys creating obstacle courses and work out routines for the All Blacks, constructing musical instruments out of household items or making their own lip sync videos to songs for Drama.
Student Cole Moffatt and his father complete a Drama Lip Sync Challenge
Reflections and Feedback
After the first round of online learning, we moved into our much deserved school holiday break. We were pretty lucky with stunning autumnal weather. We were still in lockdown by the time Term 2 rolled around. After some reflections and feedback from our initial remote learning period, a few minor changes were made for our second round. We would increase our video conferencing capabilities, reestablish our House Points system and introduce a new Digital Challenge Badge programme. All of these assisted with improving and maintaining the boys’ engagement with remote learning. We ended up awarding a total of 335 badges to 244 boys.
During lockdown a number of Medbury boys also managed to check off some of the criteria towards a Community Service badge as they were able to give back and help out at home.
When we look back at the remote learning period, we are very proud of how the Medbury Community took it in their stride to push forward during an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty. The boys were incredible at adapting to a new way of learning and the teachers did a phenomenal job of delivering a learning programme from afar.
E tu kahikatea
At the end of Term 1 the staff sung and discussed one of our waiata ‘E Tu Kahikatea’. When we look at the meaning of this waiata, it ties in brilliantly with our recent experiences. We learnt a lot during lockdown, we braved the storm and it is great being back at Medbury together.
E tu kahikatea
Hei whakapae ururoa
Awhi mai awhi atu
Tatou tatou e
Stand like the kahikatea (tree)
To brave the storms
Embrace and receive
We are one together
As the School prepares for its Centenary in 2023, it continues to balance the strong traditions established throughout the past 97 years, with innovation in teaching and learning in an ever-changing environment, as it strives to be one of Australasia’s leading preparatory schools.