UFRO columna helga 1

UFRO columna helga 2

Online education and quality.

“We are facing a situation at the moment, which is absolutely new and which does not only affect the population’s physical health, but also our way of interacting with other people, the way we work, communicate, enjoy our environment and our education.

This situation has made us assume our vulnerability and requires greater flexibility, adaptivity and humility from us. It invites us to stop over-demanding, to reflect, to look at ourselves and to give value to what we often don’t even see. This is where teachers become key in order to support, guide and inspire the students to make their lives more complete, healthier, happier and more meaningful. They can become guides who give great strength to the students through education and their online classes.

The fast technological evolution, students who are digital natives, the implementation of shared classrooms (where teachers from other institutions or countries can participate as guests), the possibility of visiting museums and libraries around the world for free, plus the efforts of the teachers and educators themselves to learn and be trained, are elements that we must value today, in addition to a teaching-learning process that involves emotions, bonding, trust, good faith and especially hope. Although there are some cases in which they don’t have access to the internet or computers or in which there is no certainty at all, we have to keep our hopes up.

So, what should we concentrate on? On maintaining the personal link between teacher and student; on innovating and diversifying our way of teaching; on always putting the student at the centre of the knowledge creation process; and on the development of skills like self-management, learning to learn, self-confidence and hope.

This is an opportunity to strengthen values and to make the students recognize their knowledge, previous experiences and personal resources without forgetting their personal backgrounds. In addition to that, we have the opportunity to cultivate and practice social skills that are essential in life, such as empathy, solidarity and mutual respect.

We have the chance to apply varied, motivating and highly effective resources, which invite the students to be creative, to adapt and to learn permanently. Feedback for both sides should be a constant variable, so that we all learn together. The focus is not the grade, it never should have been. The focus should be on learning and preparing for life; a good life, with purpose and meaning.

What we are learning about online education at the moment will not expire when the pandemic ends. This online learning modality will last and complement face-to-face learning. We are facing an opportunity in education and we must be aware of that!”

Helga Gudenschwager Grüebler
Educational Psychologist
Director of PROENTA-UFRO