In what has been an extraordinary year for many people, we are so pleased with the way that our tutors and students have responded to the many challenges they have faced this year. The change to remote learning and the suspension of our games programme has meant the experience for our students has been flipped on its head and we are delighted with the way in which ESPFA students, tutors and coaches have dealt with this.
Having been put into lockdown again in January, and students only allowed to attend face to face learning as late as the 15th of March, one of the biggest changes to the education programme recently has been the use of remote learning. This was something many of our students and tutors have never experienced before, so tailoring the approach to suit the individuals was paramount. When speaking to Laura Moss, the tutor for Witton Albion, she thought that changing the way the students approached learning was crucial. She said: “One of the biggest changes is the way I have got the learners to interact, usually in a classroom environment we do quite a lot of group work. However, through the lockdown there has been a lot more independent work set.”
Laura was also happy that she could still have a positive impact on the students, despite not seeing them face to face. She said: “Whilst lockdown has certainly been an interesting time to be a teacher, it has proved to me why I became a teacher - to make a difference; to face adversity; to reflect and adapt to ever-changing times. I believe the way we have adapted to this situation has helped make a significant difference to the lives of the students that we teach. By continuing to give them structure and guidance throughout lockdown has not only physically (through continued HIIT/daily physical activity challenges) but most importantly mentally given them strength to get through it.”
The students have also had to adjust the way in which they learn due to remote learning and not having the camaraderie of being within a class environment. Witton Albion academy student Lewis Gibson believes despite enjoying some aspects of remote learning, being without his teammates has been difficult. He said: “we have been in online learning which has been tough as finding motivation has been difficult. Personally, I have enjoyed online learning as it meant less travelling to and from college, but I have missed the classroom environment a lot and the structure of a college day.”
Overall, the students and tutors have generally responded well to the many obstacles we have faced over the course of the academic year so far and Mark Baker, Head of Programme, commends the efforts of the tutors and the way they have been able to completely restructure their method of teachings this year. He said: “I believe that sometimes we can underestimate just how big a change is for a tutor delivering remotely, as opposed to face to face. The delivery methods and processes for teaching within an online format, will be new to many and something that previous professional courses have not covered. Taking this into account, tutors have shown fantastic adaptability in their approaches throughout this period.”
Baker also acknowledged that without the games programme, some students may have been lacking in motivation, but they have largely done a good job of focusing on their studies. He said: “In general students have responded well to the challenges. It has been really hard for some learner's motivation levels, with there being no games programme to focus their attention on, however the key must always be completion of their academic goals and this has been the driving force throughout this period.”
Once again, we are so pleased with the way our students, tutors and coaches have responded to this year’s challenges. With football now back and some light at the end of the tunnel, let’s hope we can finish the season on a positive note.