Learning in Lockdown: De La Salle College

Learning in Lockdown: De Le Salle College

Learning is more than acquiring knowledge, it’s the social element of learning that isn’t easily replicated online.

The year 2021 has involved the snap-in and snap-out of lockdown learning and teaching that we’ve become so proficient in throughout 2020. Routines are well established and learning continuity is strong. Each student at De La Salle College is known and supported through a specialised Wellbeing Team, which ensures student engagement. Additionally, the college’s sophisticated online learning management system and digital tools have allowed learning to continue with little need for radical modification or reinvention.

In 2020 and 2021, teachers adapted their programs and teaching to varying degrees. For many, remote learning has been a smooth process, however subjects with a heavy practical component had to become creative. Art teachers developed interesting activities for students using everyday household items. These student artworks were later displayed in a digital gallery, reflecting the intimacy and introspection of what was a life dominated by interior spaces throughout the year.

In many ways, remote learning did not significantly extend the scope of the college’s existing suite of digital tools. The college invested in online delivery of curriculum for many years prior and remote learning consolidated these existing systems and approaches. This solid foundation contributed to the highly successful movement into remote learning.

Importantly, humans are social beings and learning with peers helps students build a sense of self. Learning is more than acquiring knowledge, it’s the social element of learning that isn’t easily replicated online.

De La Salle addressed these challenges by supporting both students and teachers through an accessible online learning environment and the college’s Wellbeing Team. This team consists of Class Mentors, Year Level and House Coordinators, Directors of Students, the Year 9 Head of Campus, college psychologists and Health Centre Officer. Students feel supported through daily check-ins with their mentor teacher and participating in GROW (Growing Responsibility for your Own Wellbeing) classes. GROW teachers facilitate students’ learning about mental health, respect and consent, sexual health and self-management.

Despite lockdowns, every day the Wellbeing Team continues to support all students across the school. To improve student engagement, the team implemented House and Year-Level activities, online quizzes and wellbeing challenges including longest-held plank, best photograph and longest time keeping a ball in the air. They also encourage students to look after their wellbeing at home by taking screen breaks, eating well, exercising and checking in
with friends and family.

As many college gatherings moved to online equivalents, it revealed some benefits in this mode of event delivery with unequivocal support for the college to keep some of these occasions online. For example, online parent-teacher interviews are more manageable for everyone as parents and their sons can engage with teachers in their home. Some events, however, haven’t translated quite as effectively. Awards assemblies miss the atmosphere and sense of occasion that comes with an audience and team sports, camps, excursions, concerts and drama performances are dimensions of schooling that are special for so many students. We hope for their return soon!

The 2021 lockdowns have seen students, staff and parents confidently approach remote learning. Students and parents are comfortable with De La Salle’s processes and strategies to support learning and wellbeing. We react quickly to snap lockdowns and ensure continuity of learning and connection, however, with each subsequent lockdown, students experience time away from friends and usual routines. That takes a toll, so when students are on campus, De La Salle ensures that time is allocated for them to reconnect and re-engage with each other, and their teachers.


De La Salle College educates over 1,000 students across three campuses – Tiverton, Holy Eucharist and Kinnoull. Each campus is aligned for […]

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