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Remote learning a positive experience

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School students at all year levels have had a positive remote learning experience, but are happy to see each other again face to face.

Marsden whānau expressed their positive feedback and experience of their remote learning programme, which was seamlessly implemented. “We had remote learning timetables ready to go for our Year 7-13 students, and academic, and wellbeing programmes planned at all year levels in case we had to enter another lockdown at short notice”, said Principal Narelle Umbers. “Our staff were exceptional, they pivoted to remote learning quickly, so that we were able to start Period 1 of the first day of lockdown”.

A big focus at Marsden was on finding a balance between screen-based and non-screen based learning activities, and on keeping connections and relationships thriving through form time and student-led care groups. Teachers and students also enjoyed the new features of Google Meets which gave a lot of different possibilities for interactive and creative online lessons.

“Marsden senior students are integral in keeping the whole school connected when we are in lockdown”, said Ms Umbers. “Our Year 13s do a wonderful job of keeping students at all levels connected and engaged through their use of videos, challenges, social media, presenting at assemblies and Google Meets. It is not just the formally elected committee of Year 13 leaders who foster connection and belonging, it is also the wider Year 13 group and many Year 11s and 12s step outside their comfort zones to lead online ‘care groups’, consisting of students at different year levels.”

“At Marsden there are two keys roles that student leaders play. They provide a voice for the students, and they connect the student body, and they play both these roles so well in the current unexpected circumstances, including being part of the discussion regarding their ideas for the school can reinvent some of our end of year events which have been impacted by the change to NCEA exam dates. The ownership that they took of the problem was outstanding, as was the degree of consultation they had undertaken in coming up with their suggestions”, said Ms Umbers.

A robust remote learning programme, including opportunities to express creativity, to problem-solve, to reflect and take care of one’s own mental and physical wellbeing, to ‘think out’ about how one can help others, and to work to a more personal timetable aligned with those in your bubble, made for a productive lockdown time at Marsden. Nothing beats coming together again though.

Marsden seniors ran student care-groups during lockdown.

Personal tours can be booked again at Marsden School and, Alert level pending, staff look forward to welcoming families considering a Marsden education to their Open Morning Wednesday on 27 October. (04) 476 8707 marsden/

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