IES Falun has just finished up the fall term 2020, and regardless of the pandemic, our last week at school was filled with joy and Christmas spirit. We thank IES Falun Friendship Council for organising the theme days, and the arrangement with the enjoyable Christmas trees on each floor. Never have we had so many Rudolfs and Santas in school.
We can look back at a very testing calendar year. During the past 10 months, the Covid-19 situation has placed demands on each of us. In accordance with our national regulations we have practiced to handle rapid changes and adapt on a short notice. Together with our students and guardians we have been balancing to follow the directives from the authorities and at the same time fulfill all our childrens’ and young people's right to education; learning and development.
At school, we have all worked intensively to adjust the schooldays accordingly. With joint efforts we have walked the extra mile every day to be there for our students, to keep the school open and safe. Experiences well worth reflecting on. We have learnt and developed in many areas. Our ethos about high academic expectations, safe and calm learning environment and command of the English language has needed extra comprehensibility. More emphasis has been put on our school rules about respect, responsibility and safety.
On the topic of learning and development, our students in years 6-9 have just “received” the fall term grades, and I really want to highlight that these are only term grades, not final grades. Final grades are only given once during the compulsory school years, and that is in June, after the spring term, in year 9. Until then, there is time left to learn what one wants and needs. We need and will continue to discuss the importance of understanding both how knowledge and grades are two different things, and also how they coincide. We need to develop a mindset that allows for growth, resilience and persistence for life. I urge everyone to reflect on the learning from the fall term. For example; think about three memorable events, lessons and / or tasks that have gained new understanding and new insights and how they have been used, or will be able to be used. Perhaps this reflection practice can become a shared routine at home.
A more systematic reflection on learning and development is offered in school twice per academic year during the development talks. In preparation for the spring term talk, each student will evaluate how the work with the fall term set goals has developed, and if any adjustments are needed for the spring term, so that one can achieve the goals you set. The spring term talks are planned to take place during week 6, and just like during the fall term, they are planned to take place digitally. Before that, during weeks 3 and 4, it is time for the spring term's guardian evenings, which will also be digital. Among other topics, during these evenings, you will have the opportunity to learn about the revised national curricula, which will take effect from the fall term 2021. For our families with students in years 6 and 9 Skolverkets' decision to cancel the national exams this spring term will naturally also be a topic. More information will come on SchoolSoft in January 2021.
Until then, another topic I strongly recommend you to talk about at home during the Christmas holidays is how to be safe online; social media and online gaming and to balance the days with outdoors activities and a good night sleep.
Most platforms have an age limit of 13 years for a reason. According to the Internet Foundation's annual survey, “Swedes and the Internet”, 6 out of 10 parents state that they lack insight into their child's digital life. Please read more here. All children and young adults need adults who show interest in their lives online and know how it works. Specific guidance on this is provided by Statens medieråd here, in Swedish, English, Arabic, Somali, French and Persian. Additionally, here is a link to Rädda barnen on how to help your children be safe online.
To balance the online life with outdoor activities, author and chief physician Anders Hansen explains how the brain functions in terms of our wellbeing. In his newly released “Hjärnstark junior”, he points out that exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, and when the brain gets more energy, we think better and become more creative. In fact, he lists how the social media business has developed to direct our attention by utilizing our brain's reward system dopamine secretion. Each "like" is portioned out at times when they give maximum effect. Further, research shows that 33% of teenagers sleep with their phones in bed, which increases the risk of depression. Physical activity contributes to an "upgrade" of the brain, so that one can focus better and handle challenges. Hansen concludes that those who use social media consciously for about 40 minutes a day seem to be doing best when it comes to well being.Here is a link to his Tv-serie Din hjärna på SVT1 and here is a link to his radio summertalk 25/6 2019.
Wishing you all a safe and respectful Christmas Holidays and a Healthy Happy New Year, online and in real life, as well as a mix of much rest and lots of outdoor life!