There is no doubt that these are difficult times. The global situation is rapidly changing, and Aiglon is working to adapt its learning and community to new challenges.
In a school whose community and values are closely linked with our physical environment and personal relationships, Aiglon is working hard to adapt while also maintaining the integrity of its learning and its ethos.
What does this look like?
A New Challenge
As of 16th March, Aiglon moved to a remote learning model. This sounds simple as it’s being talked about a lot today, but as many are aware, implementing such a significant and sudden change to the pace of our lives is complex. It requires creativity, patience, flexibility, teamwork and practice.
Aiglon teachers and staff have been working tirelessly over the last few days to implement the systems, training and procedures required to move our classrooms into a completely virtual space. We have approached these changes with three main principles: provide a high level of learning, maintain connections and promote community wellbeing.
As Mrs Sparrow and Mr McDonald told parents last week, “We have repeatedly encouraged members of our community to summon the best in themselves in terms of a positive, empathetic and kind mindset in the face of adversity. Challenge, responsibility and service are three of our explicit core values, and we hope that the Aiglon community can engage with these to the full.”
High Level of Learning
Fortunately, Aiglon has already been working in several digital spaces, and a lot of our resources will be provided through platforms that are already well known to teachers and students. This includes services such as Google Classroom, Managebac and iSAMs.
This week before Aiglon’s originally scheduled spring break, teachers have begun to upload material and provide essential resources to students who may continue to study and revise during the holiday period. We then hope the holidays will provide valuable space for a change of pace, an opportunity to adjust to the ongoing situation and a chance for some relaxation.
Officially, Aiglon will begin its remote learning programme on 6th April. We believe that routine is important, and to this end, the schedule of lessons will mimic a typical school day. Teachers will launch a live video session with their class to introduce the lesson, explain the concept and important knowledge, answer questions and to assign tasks and prep. Beyond the lesson, each department will maintain standard “office hours” on a rotating basis, so students always have someone to contact despite the school working across most of the global timezones.
In addition to timetabled lessons and assigned learning work, we recognise that communication is especially crucial during this time. Aiglon’s tutoring programme will likewise be conducted virtually. Tutors will check-in with their students once per day and organise a video or voice call once per week. Tutor groups will also have the opportunity to meet together in this space.
Likewise, tutors will also maintain regular and consistent contact with their students’ parents to ensure the learning provisions are going well and that everything is okay.
We are aware that virtual learning necessitates a lot of screen time, something that we usually compensate at Aiglon by our time in the mountains and regular physical activity. Part of our education will encourage both teachers and students to take a break from the screen, move around and find other ways to engage your thinking outside of a digital space.
Teachers and staff members will also maintain regular department meetings to ensure they are in regular contact with one another both for work and to support one another.
Members of Aiglon’s senior leadership team are likewise on-call and assigned to specific year groups to helps students and parents in any issues that they may experience. We recognise that this is also a highly unusual and stressful time, and we want to ensure that Aiglon can provide stability, consistency and support during the weeks ahead.
We fully expect that the development of this remote learning model won’t be without challenges, changes and the need to experiment and innovate as the implementation begins. As our Director of Learning, Mr Duckling, said to encourage staff, “This is new for all of us. As ever, we are open to ideas, improvements and your experience. I wholeheartedly thank you in advance for the efforts you are about the make to adapt to this situation.”
Aiglon’s Director of ICT, Mr Wise, likewise voiced his optimism as his team works to implement the technical requirements of this model, “Situations like these, really are opportunities to try new things.” We hope that this spirit of optimism and hope will be embraced by all our students, parents and staff as we bring Aiglon’s ethos and spirit from the mountain to support our global community.
We look forward to continue updating everyone about these developments.