Here's help for schoolies online – teaching through a lockdown

There’s a second pandemic, that goes hand in hand with coronavirus. It is the loneliness epidemic. Teachers are its frontline workers – because young people are vulnerable.

Because “the need for teachers and chaplains to find ways to construct and maintain authentic community in their schools has never been greater,” Connected – building community in a fractured world, an online conference with a line-up of top speakers has been organised by Barnabas Schools Ministry. It’s on this Friday April 24

Key speaker Miroslav Volf, director of the Yale Centre of Faith and Culture  says: “Both connection and solitude are important for education. In recent years we have stressed more connections and less solitude. Perhaps the “corona-time” can help us re-discover the pedagogical importance of solitude.”

Center For Public Christianity’s Natasha Moore will focus on a time with “distinct flavour of apocalypse.” “In studies, young people in particular have reported mixed feelings about the idea of a future collapse of some kind – not only fear and anxiety, but also longings for change. Now that we find ourselves in the midst of a global crisis that nobody can ignore, what challenges and opportunities does that present when it comes to students’ sense of the future; their understanding of hope; and their sense of the narrative arc of their lives and our world?”

They are joined by leading educators such as David I. Smith from the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning, Michael Anderson, Professor of Education at the University of Sydney and an evangelist, Sam Chan from the City Bible Forum.

Early sign ups for Connected – building community in a fractured world give feedback from the online classroom.

Stories of joy online

“I was forced by circumstance to write an email to each student i teach, rather than talk to them – it brought a plethora of moving responses, one in particular was an email of great vulverability in which the student confided their struggle with mental health issues and asked me for a biblical perspective – I was able to share the hope of the Gospel and the power of the psalms.”

“I taught a gifted and talented online Year 7 class when I taught for the [NSW Education] Department in Western Region. My students were from Broken Hill to Bathurst and so seeing their joy at connecting with other students who were excited about science and then getting to push them to extend their thinking in all kinds of creative ways was so fun – as well as, like every year 7 class, seeing them grow throughout the year. I also got to sub teach them for a month when they were in year 8 and I was living in LA (2am classes for me) and continue to see them grow despite the now epic distance between us.”

“I have learned the joys of Zoom and Canvas and SeeSaw and lots of other fun online apps.”

“Working with students to work out things together. That moment when a discussion takes off and I can just sit back and be quiet as different students clearly grapple with the issues and articulate the key points I wanted them to address.”

Stories of online teaching as challenge 

“My great capacity for procrastination when i cannot perceive a direct benefit of my work to the good of others.”

“Building relationship & feeling class & Chapel vibe (particularly with Chapel – you can only see so many faces so it is really hard to get feedback & adjust on the fly) you have to just stick with your script and pray it is ok.”

“Ensuring that students are engaged in the content, this is particularly challenging for students who are struggling with independent learning. Personally, I have been reflecting on the effectiveness of my ability to convey information and ensuring that questioning and enquiring is going beyond the ‘check yes’ qualifiers.”

“Accountability of students. Making sure that they are engaged with learning and not just doing ‘busy work’.”

“Engaging students who are less motivated: It is easy for them to hide behind the “my internet is not good” excuse. I find it harder to be creative.”

Getting involved

Barnabas Online Conference 2020


Building community in a fractured world

Friday 24th of April
9am – 2:30pm AEST (GMT+10)
Tickets $25 | Registration closes 23rd of April

Register here

Zoom link will be sent to you.

Questions? Contact Paul Dudley
[email protected]

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Connected Building community in a fractured world

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clock icon9:00 am - 2:30 pm

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