Nova Scotia rolls out plan for teacher-assisted home learning
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- Nova Scotia teachers and students are preparing for a resumption of public education without schools.
With the school calendar winding down, students are facing pressure to successfully wrap up their academic year.
And, with schools closed until at least May 1, teachers are now preparing a new way to teach students, said Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney.
"You adjust," Wozney said. "It's kinda what we do every day."
On Monday, Education Minister Zach Churchill released details of Nova Scotia's learning continuity plan.
For older students, there will be an online component, but the province realizes that not everyone has high-speed internet.
"We also want to make sure that we are reaching those students that don't have access to high-speed internet," Churchill said.
For those that don't, the Department of Education is setting a distribution method for them to get materials bi-weekly.
He also said the province is aware that some parents might not be able to devote any more time to help their kids at home.
"We don't want this to be a burden for parents," Churchill said. "We know that everyone's anxiety levels are increasing right now and that people are busy."
He said if parents are having difficulty with the at-home learning, they should reach out and access the support that is available for them.
The province's plan includes bi-weekly learning packages for students in Grades Primary to 9.
When needed, students in Grades 10 to 12 will receive direct instruction from teachers.
Learning will be assignment and project-focused.
"Teachers are going to work as teams in their schools," Wozney said.
The NSTU president says supporting the students is more important now than ever before.
The school year is running out and the time for teaching and learning to resume is now.
"The plan, we recognize, is not perfect, but it's what we have to work with, and if we wait for perfect, we will never have a plan," Wozney said.
Grade 12 student Emma Mackley misses school.
She also fears there will be a gap in this learning model that could impact her as she prepares for university.
"I'm a little bit concerned about the whole cancelation of exams," said Mackley, who is the co-president of student council at Prince Andrew High School.
"I think that's something that drives and motivates students to learn for post-secondary like myself where I am in Grade 12."
For Samara Cyr, the school closure came at a time when she was already feeling some academic pressure.
"I already feel like I'm falling behind in my learning, since before the quarantine," said Cyr, who is in Grade 11.
Cyr says she will miss the in-class environment and has concerns she will struggle without having a teacher there to guide her.
Wozney says teachers and students are all facing a steep learning curve.
"This is a big adjustment, but teachers are going to shine," said Wozney, who is hoping students will as well as they enter a new way of learning.