Distance Learning

At Letovo, just like at all Russian schools, the fourth term of the 2019/20 academic year did not start as usual — the holidays were over, but students did not come back to school. The shortly introduced lockdown made teachers work from home, too. However, the teaching process was not interrupted in our school even for a single day: the test week was followed by the full-fledged studies — and in some respects, the learning process became even more intense and exciting.

Totals in Figures

~16650
learning sessions were held online
100%
readiness of Letovo for online work
~50
academic days in the distance learning mode

Management of classes

The academic workload was retained in full scope: by combining all kinds of individual and group work, we have managed to complete the program and deliver all final papers in due time. Even full-fledged classes of music and physical education were delivered online. The schedule was developed considering the time zones of our students, academic load, and the children’s physiology. The lessons were reduced to 30 minutes (retaining the double class principle, when two academic hours are devoted to one subject), but the teachers used this time with maximized efficiency. All this allowed Letovo students to keep pace and successfully complete the academic year: over 40 % of our students have 6 and 7 grades, which corresponds to the “excellent” mark according to the five-grade scale.

Lessons

For teachers, distance learning turned out to be a real professional challenge: they had to invent, innovate, and research for the lessons to correspond to the program and be engaging.

Online findings

Due to the confident use of the online toolkit, the academic team has managed to successfully build relations with students and retain students’ interest in acquiring new knowledge and overcoming difficulties. Just like for many other schools, Zoom was Letovo’s central platform where lectures, discussions, and group work could be arranged. In addition, teachers actively used the internal platform Canvas, Google services (documents, presentations, maps), interactive online boards (Padlet, Whiteboard), and other online tools. Judicious approaches to lesson management and scope of home tasks, active use of play-based teaching technologies, self-assessment tools, creative innovations — all this helped make distance learning efficient and, at the same time, preserve energy, health, and efforts of students.

From the First-Person Perspective

Student
Sofia Yanis,
9th grade
When distance learning started, I was skeptical of it. I thought that would not go beyond the hanging head. But it was during distance learning that I have managed to discover some new capabilities of mine: I never thought I would be able to deliver a report in front of an international audience — and I did that at the event in honor of May 9. I made sure that I could still write to teachers any time and get connected to them via Zoom. And I understood that this school would be my school, my place not only when I was at Letovo, but even when I was not, that was still my school.
Teacher
Aleksey Kolpakov,
Literature teacher
I was afraid that we would not be able to teach literature remotely, as I had always been teaching it face to face; it had always been in person. Besides, I am a communications-oriented teacher, so I kept thinking: how will we talk to students now? But it turned out not to be that difficult — and then it even became interesting. And surprisingly, but gradually, I got rid of the feeling that I stopped interacting with children. It even seems that at some stages, we started understanding each other better than we did in the classroom. There was one more thing: the children who didn’t like speaking up during face-to-face lessons suddenly felt more eager to do so during lessons held online. Besides, distance learning encouraged searching for new approaches, innovative methods to make the lesson consistent. My colleagues and I started spending more time preparing for lessons than we did before the distance learning: we knew that we did not have any opportunity to walk around the class and spend some more time speaking. So distance learning improved our discipline and made us think and innovate.
Parent
Polina Korkina,
Mother of Olga Korkina (11th grade)
When the lockdown happened, the school shifted online in no time. When online learning was set up technically during the first week, the lessons still took place, though not in the full scope. We asked a friend of ours from another school how her learning was, and she answered: “Awful! We have distance learning!” I asked if she had any video conference classes, and she stared at me without understanding what I meant. At that school, the tasks were uploaded in the parents’ chat, and her mother studied everything with her. Our distance learning was of entirely different quality. For example, my daughter had advanced literature classes — of course, I tried not to interfere, but I heard their classes a couple of times: the discussions were going on, with full participation, only you couldn’t touch anybody. Speaking of how Letovo’s team worked, I saw consistent, high-quality management and governance.