Reflections on Teaching Remotely During Covid-19

Term: 3 Year: 2020

Towards the end of Term 1, when each day brought fewer and fewer children to school and more and more anxiety amongst those who continued to come, it seemed almost impossible that we could move an art program into a remote teaching format.

But a flurry of emails amongst my colleagues in the Boroondara Art Teachers’ Network meant a great sharing of ideas and lesson plans, resulting in rising levels of excitement and optimism. C’mon guys, we’re ART teachers! If we can’t think creatively about the challenges and opportunities of remote learning and teaching, we’re in the wrong game!

We can’t assume that children have access to the kinds of materials that we have at school, it means doing things a little differently. But this is where a lot of the fun lies – having to think outside the square. I’ve been working on the assumption that kids have only paper, grey leads, coloured pencils and textas. I’ve looked to alternative materials that would likely be in most homes. I have encouraged kids to use eyeshadows in a drawing and painting activity. Nail polish was suggested to paint small pots made out of bread dough clay. And of course there’s the food colouring from the pantry that can be used too. Kids have made mandalas on the floor out of crockery and cutlery, as well as nature ones inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.

I really feel that art is an important alternative to all the screen time the students are doing for their other work. It is so good for their wellbeing and working together with their family promotes bonding and understanding. I hope I am encouraging them to see artistic opportunities and possibilities where they didn’t see them before. I know I am!

Jennifer Hortin
Visual Arts Teacher
Boroondara Park primary School