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This is a challenging time for all teachers and parents. Creating an engaging remote learning environment for young students can present unexpected obstacles. Here are some helpful tips from Scots’ educators, to support active participation while learning at home:

Connect to each other

“Make connections with home wherever you can. Strong relationships are integral to teaching, even more so with students at home, disconnected from school, sporting and other social circles. Do not be afraid to throw it all away in order to be intentional about investing in the relationships you have with your students. I have found that simplicity is key. Amongst the difficult dynamic of families working and learning at home, tasks that can be successfully completed independently help to build confidence which in turn leads to greater continued engagement.” Mr Joel Brown, Year 3 Teacher 

Keep it short, sharp and flexible

“Moving between activities quickly, watch a short clip, engage in a verbal and written discussion, ask students to write their ideas down and repeat.” Ms Cecilia Oppenheimer, English and Agriculture Teacher

“Try to set hands-on experiential learning tasks for the boys to engage in. I think it is so important that the boys are on their devices for the least amount of time as possible. Include a variety of tasks so the boys are excited about each learning opportunity and try to incorporate jokes and fun games during Zoom lessons. Being on Zoom can be daunting but if you relax and be yourself, the boys will relate to you so much more.” Ms Jane Roche, Year 1 Teacher

Home is unique

“When schools initially closed and widespread home-based learning began, schools and parents seemed to make an urgent decision to replicate the school day at home. Replication was not feasible as staff were no longer in the driving seat with the 25 pairs of eyes seated in the one room. A flexible approach has engendered the most positive of outcomes in the ‘online classroom’.

“Home-based learning has taught me that maintaining a learning environment where the boys feel happy, safe, and understood can be facilitated in an online and offline environment.

“Committing to a daily check-in with my students, spending time unpacking their adventures/misadventures whilst at home, and providing space for feedback on lesson structure and style have contributed to students’ engagement within a lesson. Most importantly, the professional relationships built on campus have continued to flourish.” Mr Scott Siekierka, Year 9 Coordinator and Assistant Housemaster of Royle

Remember to have fun!

“Incorporate competition, fun and movement. We have had a silly hat morning, plank challenges, dance song work breaks between periods, joke telling and drawing challenges with our mini-whiteboards on top of our heads to name a few. Listen to the voices of your students too. Listen to what they have enjoyed, what they have found helpful as a demonstration or activity, what they found challenging and even ideas that they have for your classes is an important way to acknowledge them in the learning process and as members of your community.” Ms Elisabeth Smith, Year 2 Coordinator and Teacher

Read more of the challenges faced by teachers as they keep students engaged remotely.

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The Presbyterian Church (New South Wales) Property Trust T/A The Scots College, Sydney Australia
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William Elder


Mr Alan Elder was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents at a young age. He attended The Scots College for all his schooling, graduating in 1944. He played 1st XI Cricket and was a member of the College Cadet Unit. After leaving school Mr Elder studied accountancy and retained a life-long love of the College, especially the Pipes and Drums. Mr Elder never married, however the significant bequest he left will allow his Scots family to remember him through the Lang Walker Business Centre.