Perspectives on Emergency School Closures; How Did ISKL prepare?
Earlier this month, ISKL's Head of School, Rami Madani, and Director of Technology, Charlotte Diller, took part in a podcast hosted by Coachbetter.TV., part of Eduro Learning, an online educational portal for professional learning.
Here, school leaders from seven international schools around Asia, Europe, and the Middle East joined in an online conversation to discuss their perspectives and experiences on the emergency school closure procedures in regards to COVID 19.
At the time of the recording, all the schools interviewed were at different stages of preparation for the closure process: six weeks closed, two weeks closed, and preparing to close.
When asked about how ISKL was preparing for the extended school closure, Charlotte shared:
"Due to the haze situation in our region last September 2019, we had already experienced two days of virtual learning.
'We took valuable feedback from ES, MS, HS teachers, and MS & HS students, together with anecdotal parent feedback across the schools. From that experience, we learned that expectations needed to be more clear, and it is essential to have a planning day or planning time for virtual learning to be in place".
Charlotte also discussed how engagement tools such as the Socratic seminars online that teachers rarely use in the classroom were somehow more successful in a virtual environment.
Rami was queried on what ISKL already had in place that worked well and what needed to be upskilled quickly.
He stated, "Our perspective is what triggers such decisions to close the school and how do we prepare ourselves for it. ISKL can close for two reasons - one is where we are asked to close; and the other is where we choose to do so.
'What helps us to develop this is by creating a decision-making matrix that guides every scenario. ISKL receives 80-100 emails a day from parents - and some of them say we should close and start operating virtually.
‘We will always make a decision that is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - following their guidelines in terms of travel advisory and SOP’s when it comes to being in contact with an infected person.
‘What also helps us is to look at not only how the closure will affect our teachers but also the other departments within the school. How will the numerous counselors, teachers, and administraion departments such as Finance, HR and Operations be affected? That perspective has helped raise questions in our minds in terms of our readiness and preparation level."
Rami went on to explain how ISKL is part of a network of six schools in the region, the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS), and due to the Covid-19 situation, there was cancelation of some athletics and forensic events.
"Unfortunately, we had to cancel some of our IASAS events. We were able, however, to hold some events virtually such as the Music Convention, Dance, Show, Debate, and Forensics," he said.
'It was a new learning experience for our students not to have a real audience in front of them, but it was better that we still went ahead with it rather than cancel indefinitely".
To watch the full interview visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsUy-VuF4u0&feature=youtu.be or listen to the podcast here.
In line with the Malaysian Government's Restrictive order on March 17, ISKL's campus has been temporarily closed, and ISKL students are currently undergoing the virtual Continuous learning program.