Manchester International School’s success story during lockdown

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Rajesh Vasudevan

Learning without the constraints of confinement, Manchester redesigned the curriculum right from Kindergarten to Grade 12 says, Rajesh Vasudevan, Head of School, Manchester International School, Coimbatore in a conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

“No Lockdown to Learning” is what we at Manchester International School reinforced to all our stakeholders- be it Covid 19 or not. Learning is a process, and this process never stops, as we firmly root our educational beliefs to the philosophy of ‘education is not just preparation of life; education is life itself!

However, like many other schools across the globe, Manchester too has its share of success story to weave- the whole experience of teaching and learning moving out of the physical infrastructure and getting closer to the pupil. This Educational Renaissance as we love to call it was predominantly a key to unlock the potential, both of the teachers and the taught. Learning without the constraints of confinement Manchester redesigned the curriculum right from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

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Running online sessions from Monday to Friday, and Saturday too in some cases, were more of a fun exploring sessions for the Primary Year Program. Story Telling Sessions by the homeroom teachers, Circle time with family and Preparation for the Digital Exhibition- PYP (Proposed for the first week of June) kept our young champions busy. Many parents volunteered to teach certain skills like Impromptu Speaking, Phonetics, Recitation, Rangoli, Cookery, since they were too bored at home and literally our sessions had greatly inspired them to involve in the journey of active learning.

Google Classroom, Google Meet were the two platforms that the PYP (Primary Year Program) team employed to run their sessions. Teachers were already familiar with Google Classroom. Google Meet was an extended platform to be visible to learning. Students were truly excited to see their friends and teachers during this period one could see them eagerly waiting every day for their sessions to commence.

Middle Years Program pivoted on concept-based learning took the focus of learning to a larger expanse. Students from MYP3 and MYP4, introduced to various social and cultural issues viewed the bigger picture using Design Thinking, came out with Blogs, Posters, Digital Doodles and PowerPoint Presentations to demonstrate their understanding of what they had learned.

The senior students had their entire focus purely on academic experience, with scheduled lessons, assignments, and assessments. These sessions were not just tutorial classes but more of an acceleration, where the teachers introduces the concepts and gets the pupils to co construct the lessons and make presentations. Flipped Teaching and Blended Learning saw their best employment in these sessions, as senior graders were technologically confident than compared to the other graders. The Sessions conducted in Zoom and Google Meet took the whole learning to a new dimension. Collaborative Learning using the 70-30 model (30% teacher directed and 70% student directed) proved more successful than the actual face-to-face classroom learning.

‘Unlock Creativity’ is a series of weekend activities that involves the parents and other family members. ‘Cook with Dad’, ‘Art out of Waste’ ( whole family), ‘Paint your Dreams with Mom’, ‘Sing a Song with Family’, ‘Music Mania’, ‘Tap your Feet’, were some of the activities that we had conducted to make sure learning can be more fun, when parents also take onus of the teaching and Learning.

Though most of the curriculum demands, Differentiated Instruction as a mandate to reach out to all types of learners, most of the schools do not actually employ it beyond the lesson Plan. Nevertheless, these sessions actually forced to the teachers to ensure learning is diverse, student-centric and purposeful an affair. The dynamic nature of the lesson plans were truly visible. Sans fear of exasperation and pressure, Students actively partook in the true culture of learning.

This Lockdown was a blessing in disguise for a few teachers across the globe, who never thought that they would have to depend on technology to this extent. Moving from the comfort zone, keeping the texts books away, this pandemic truly gave the teachers an experience of Educational Renaissance!

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