Response to Covid-19 restrictions
The sudden decision from the government to encourage homeworking due to the outbreak of Covid-19 initially posed a problem for our Tutors. Normally, our learners meet every 2 weeks in our lovely new classrooms where they have much interaction with other apprentices and enjoy the classroom element of their course.
We made the early decision to investigate virtual training solutions on offer and after a week of hard work our trainers Sarah, Jo and Alex had set up their own home office/training areas, mastered the new technology and had prepared their learners for a change of delivery….virtual learning via zoom was launched. As a team we have been separated since mid March and have been staying in touch using this new technology. I took some time out to touch base with Sarah Taylor who teaches our TA Learners to see how she was getting on….
Sarah Taylor our amazing Teaching Assistant Tutor shares her thoughts on how this new virtual training is working for her and her apprentices;
“I am currently teaching our current TA learners from home via video communication technology called Zoom in addition to usual email and telephone. This has proven to be very successful and learners are invited to join our “virtual” classroom sessions on their normal System People training days.
I asked Sarah how she was dealing with challenges this has caused and how her learners are feeling about the sudden changes thrust upon them;
“Exceptions are being made for learners who have volunteered to be part of the Hub Schools and are working to a different timetable in order to support our local schools and children of key workers. Where possible I am making as many adjustments to support all our learners.
If a learner cannot join our scheduled training a 1:1 is immediately arranged at a time convenient for them to go through content that has been covered. Our learners are continuing to use their own group chats to share resources, pool ideas and support each other through these difficult times. All of my learners are proactive and are adapting well and with an open mind and enthusiasm to our new approaches.”
Can you describe how you are continuing to provide high quality learning this way?
Yes, its great as the fortnightly 1:1 reviews are scheduled to allow individual feedback on work that is has been completed and marked. We have made new plans, set new targets and dates in order for all apprentices to be able to work with support to complete their apprenticeship on time.
This has enabled me to take a much more focused approach to my Level 3 learners development of their portfolios. Through the use of Zoom they are also getting vital practice in preparation for their professional discussions which will happen in a similar format – always a silver lining!
What is next for your Cohort Sarah?
The next session scheduled for my Level 2 students is Positive Behavior. All learners will be sent the power point in advance of the session and we will go through it virtually on zoom. We will discus key points and their own experiences to develop high quality notes. They will then have two weeks to complete the written aspect before sending completed work to me to be marked.
How have you personally found isolation and balancing your work from home?
The current events have had a huge impact on everyone, I am finding the use of new technology a learning curve and have been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the forums we are using. I was initially worried about not being able to see my learners in person and have focused on keeping open communication and being available as and when needed. I feel that the positive relationships I have with my learners have really helped and it has helped me feel a lot more comfortable with using new methods of teaching.
I am in a lucky situation living in the middle of nowhere! I am slowly developing a new routine, walking every day and trying to stay as healthy as possible. It would be all to easy to slip into a very sloth like existence! My new fixation is to try to make sure I complete 12,000 steps per day and having my dog Shelby makes this all the more easy to achieve.
Unlike many others I am not finding being socially isolated too stressful, therefore I am treating of this as an opportunity to spend more time with my immediate family. We are taking the time to learn new things together that we previously did not have the time to do. My 16 year old may not agree that learning to cook was high on her priority list prior to this but has given it a go all the same!”
We will check in with Sarah next month to see how things are going. Well done Sarah and her TA learners for their dedication and hard work during this difficult time.
Lyndsey Fitheridge, Commercial Director