Creating connections during remote and flexible learning

Templestowe Heights Primary School principal Rhys Coulson explains what he has learned from this time

Throughout Term 2, the inspiring success stories from schools around Victoria as they adjusted to remote and flexible learning featured on the Department's Stories from the Education State web page.

One of these stories highlights the great work of Templestowe Heights Primary School principal Rhys Coulson and his staff, who focused on creating connections and engagement through the use of entertaining video content.

Among their most popular pieces of content was a funny and informative video featuring school captains Gemma and Sidney showing their peers how to practise good hand hygiene.

With the return to remote and flexible learning in Term 3 for most students in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, we spoke to Rhys about what his school learned from their Term 2 experience.

'What a massive learning experience it was!' Rhys says, reflecting on the challenges of the time.

Along with using funny videos to build connections with students and families, Rhys explains that a lot of what the school prepared and delivered was set up to support parents and carers.

'This time around, we have shifted the focus, with most lessons moving to online, live lessons,' Rhys says.

Focusing on learning

'The shift in focus means the onus is now on the child to attend their live lessons, with parents and carers now only required to be in the same room, rather than working through an activity together.'

Rhys added that he is focused on making greater use of the school's online learning portal to boost student learning. 

'It's a very exciting initiative,' Rhys says.

'The portal is a "one stop shop" for students, parents and carers to access their lessons, online classroom and all other relevant resources and information related to the school's online learning platform,' Rhys explains.

'Our goal is to eventually have students accessing their homework on the website, where teacher videos modelling specific skills already taught in the classroom.'

Rhys added that teachers had been encouraged to be more willing to take risks this year, leading to teaching innovations and yes, a bit of fun too.

'Yes, along with our focus on learning, the teacher videos will continue,' Rhys says.

'It is vital that we stay connected and show we can have fun. There was overwhelming feedback for those to continue!'

Find out more

Access more stories about what schools have been doing to engage with students learning from home
Visit Stories from the Education State web page on the Department's website