Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 8

Administrator's Corner CREATING A BETTER EDUCATIONAL FUTURE OUT OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS BY: JAMES MACDONALD I t has been said over and over recently that we are living in unprecedented times. We are not sure how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but with discussions revolving around ‘flattening the curve’, there is an acknowledgment that we will, eventually, come out on the other side. It is a question of when, not if.  One thing I’ve learned by leading schools through campus closures twice before (first in Japan in 2011, followed by Thailand in 2014) is that, early on, it is important to think on two levels: dealing with the urgent and immediate (and being in crisis mode will take most of your time and energy)  while also finding the headspace to think strategically. Regardless of which phase of the crisis 08 Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020 your school community is in now, you need to be thinking about what educational future will be created post-crisis. There will be a future 'new normal'; it is just a question of whether or not you craft it. And to do so, you need a vision. Creating a vision in challenging times Consider this idea: What if, back at the beginning of the school year, your school’s leadership team held a retreat and came up with the somewhat crazy idea to close the campus for four weeks in April and implement e-learning? Could you justify it? Maybe not fully, but I suspect you could find different reasons to support it: developing technology Class Time skills, improving independent learning habits, embedding digital citizenship, providing amazing professional growth for teachers, and last but not least, throwing off the shackles of the daily schedule. Whatever justifications you personally come up with, through this thought experiment, are your de- facto vision.  To help share your vision with others, a great technique is to create a ‘vision narrative’ by describing an hour-by- hour day in the life of an individual student (or two) post-crisis. How do their routines and learning change? This exercise could also include teachers, leaders and parents. The vision becomes tangible pretty quickly when you have a narrative.