TYPES OF SCHOOL ECOSYSTEMS
A school deals with students, parents, caregivers, community, societal and cultural values. In other words, each of these components forms a dynamic aspect of the ecosystem. So, no two schools can be the same. They may have the same philosophy, vision and mission statements but may differ slightly in the ethos and the interaction between the components of the ecosystem.
in view of this, schools may belong to different ecosystems.
1. A Sustainable ecosystem – where in all stake holders work together. Sustainable schools are designed to act as living laboratories to teach and embody eco-friendly initiatives that reduce our environmental impact. These schools reduce absenteeism, improve health of students and staff, and increase indoor air quality.
2. A Safe ecosystem – here in all members are safe be it ethnic minorities, gender equality and safety for those who are facing trauma, or simply diversity of learners. Children who have faced violence at home will need an environment which has a calming influence on them. Similarly, the children who have faced COVID-19 will need a reassuring environment. the counsellors, teachers and the other caregivers need to work together to provide a safe environment.
3. An Enterprising Learning Ecosystem – is the totality of systems that encourage diverse teaching strategies, training, and professional development; enable multiple opportunities for learning; put the student in control; optimize peer learning; and focus on feedback. These environments would provide a system that would place the student at the core as a producer. There is a high level of interaction between the layers of the ecosystem.
4. The most relevant ecosystem however, is the Regenerative school ecosystem: Let’s look at this ecosystem in the perspective of the COVID pandemic.
Schools have been conducting online classes – both synchronous and asynchronous. the learning climate at home is not quite the same as that of a classroom. There may not be adequate devices – one for each. So if there are siblings, and the slots of online teaching coincides, there is a problem. It is also possible that WIFI connection is not stable and the synchronous learning that had to happen has not percolated down to the student as it ought to have.
Consequent to this the implications are:
1. There could be an achievement lag – To top it all, the teachers are not able to see the class and understand from the body language of the student whether the concepts are understood or not.
2. The lockdown has extended over a longer period leading to a summer brain loss. Research has found that when the vacations stretch for a long period of time, brain loss is felt in areas of Math and Language skills.
3. The front line warriors may not have the support at home to get their children to learn from these modules of online teaching. – The special children and the RTE children may also belong to this category. These children may need morale boosters. The counsellors need to work closely with them.
4. This support is needed by the teachers too. The lockdown was announced suddenly. Some of them are at home without the textbook or the reference material. A few of them do not have computers at home to produce content for online classes. There is no domestic help at home. They may have young kids and to top it all, they have to learn a new technique of delivering online. Schools need to support their teachers.
The Covid pandemic will end. Schools will start but will the world be back to normal?
The leaders need to think of a new normal.