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“Social distancing will take place in & out of classrooms,” says David Miles

Schools across the UAE have taken on the challenge of distance learning in different ways. In our exclusive interview with Newlands School, Principal David Miles gives us an insight into how the school braved the challenge and shares his thoughts on what the future of education could look like.

How has Newlands School responded to Covid-19 and what do you envision for the coming academic year?

Newlands School has put the health and safety of students, parents and staff at the forefront of our endeavours. We have followed all government and education authority advice and rules. Our distance learning programme has been a great success and parents are complimenting us on how much the children are learning in this different way of schooling.

We have been considering 3 scenarios for September:

  1. Back to normal school
  2. Distance learning continues
  3. A blended learning approach of time in school and time working at home.

hg0088手机版登录Newlands is prepared and ready to run with any of these scenarios and once the Ministry of Education shares its vision for the way forward we are confident that we will be able to provide our students with a high standard of education.

What were some of the highs and lows of distance learning during this period?

hg0088手机版登录Definitely the low point is not seeing all the children’s faces in school and not hearing them in the physical building. We all miss that. High points are seeing the versatility of our students and staff and the many ways in which everyone has adapted to the new normal of distance learning. It’s amazing how clever the students are in using technology!

Should schools implement new curriculums based around distance learning for the future?

hg0088手机版登录I feel that this crisis has pushed a lot of schools to think more digitally about learning and teaching and this has been a good thing. The curriculum content can be the same but the means to deliver the curriculum has had to change. Of course, it has also opened up other avenues and opportunities for learning and teaching which is exciting!

Do you think that blended learning will become the new norm? How does it bring out the best in teachers and students?

It is difficult to say what the new norm will be. I believe that a lot of educational institutions will be looking into some form of blended learning approach, irrespective of how things pan out over the next few months. What we have all learned over these few weeks will have helped us make the necessary strides forward down this new road and I don’t see us going backward in that direction.

How is Newlands School preparing to welcome back students in September?

We are really looking forward to welcoming students back to schoolhg0088手机版登录 – in whatever form school will take. Health and safety measures are being put first and as a priority, we are planning on making the necessary changes inside the physical school building to ensure we comply with scientific advice and practice.

Social distancing will take place in and out of classrooms and we will endeavour to teach students about keeping safe alongside teaching the normal curriculum.

hg0088手机版登录It will be a challenge for younger children especially, but we are confident that we can achieve this. Getting on with the task of educating this generation is our privilege and responsibility and even in a worldwide crisis, we have proven that this is possible and educators will always find a way.

About the Speaker

Mr. David Miles graduated with a B.A. from the University of Wales, United Kingdom, and gained his Master’s degree in School Leadership and Management from Manchester University, UK.

As an experienced school leader, Mr. David draws from his extensive experience of more than 25 years in Education, both in the UK and overseas. Over the last decade, Mr. David has worked in international contexts, having worked on 3 different continents, and in a number of locations. He has worked in Wales, England, Turkey, Libya, Abu Dhabi, Pakistan and Dubai. These experiences have given him a truly international perspective. He is passionate about raising educational standards and improving learning and teaching in the classroom.

Mr. David is an advocate of a distributive school leadership model and has been successful in building dynamic teams in each of his previous schools. Since joining Newlands he has built a team of very experienced leaders to work alongside him, which has led to significant growth in numbers as well as a successful academic environment.

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