Reflecting on Off-Campus Learning

Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 8 October 2021

As we start Term 4 I wonder what mindset you have. Is it “Great, only a couple more weeks of Off-Campus Learning?" I know we are all frustrated by 106 days of lockdown and a full term Online but we know that change is coming and there is a lot of merit in finishing well.

As we continue with Off-Campus Learning for the next week or two, it is worth reflecting on how this experience has changed us for the better. I was in a meeting earlier this week where Lyn Worsley from The Resilience Centre spoke about how we can have a proactive approach to returning from lockdown. She posed a few questions that I will be encouraging our staff to ask students to stimulate 'conversations of hope':

  • What has worked during lockdown?
  • What has changed in how you learn?
  • What do you want to keep?
  • How has lockdown made you a better person and helped you to realise what is valuable in your life?
  • What if “COVID kids” change the course of education for the better?


There is a lot of talk about how COVID has changed the way we work. Has it changed the way students should learn? What have we discovered that works well that is worth continuing? I read a blog by Seth Godin recently about how we are inclined to defend the status quo. In the blog he said:


“Imagine for a second that milk was a new product, designed to take on existing beverages made from hemp, oats or nuts. Defending oat milk against the incursion of cow milk is pretty easy. You could point out the often horrific conditions used to create cow milk. “Wait, you’re going to do what to that cow?” They could write about the biological difficulty many people have drinking it. Or they could focus on the significant environmental impact, not to mention how easily it spoils, etc. Or imagine that solar power was everywhere, and someone invented kerosene, gasoline or whale oil.”

I like this idea of changing the frame of reference. Imagine if Off-Campus Learning was the norm and we were implementing a new approach - where students had to sit together to learn, where learning happens in discrete subject time slots... What would we change?


It will be interesting to see how the season we have been through impacts the way we do school. There definitely is a richness in relationships that is very hard to simulate in an Off-Campus Mode. However, many of our students have built valuable skills in being autonomous learners and using technology well - great learning has taken place.


Are we going back to On-Campus Learning and just remembering Off-Campus Learning as something we once had to do? For some, this may be the case - or perhaps some things should change…