We can never undervalue what the education sector does to set up individuals for success and prepares them for their future careers. As human rights activist MalcolmX once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
But what makes education, particularly the schools, run and do its crucial work are the teachers and staffers who do the legwork in providing valuable education to students–local and international students alike.
Especially during the ongoing global health crisis, they are considered the frontline workers who ensure that learners from all around the world are holistically equipped to become future solution providers and changemakers of a post-pandemic world.
In this blogpost, we will try to explore key ways that higher education institutions (HEIs) can support educators for optimal learning outcomes for both local and international students.
Upskilling in use of technology
Even without the stay-at-home orders, accelerating an individual’s or an institution’s technology adoption and know-how has always been a requirement in order to establish a more efficient process and impactful outcomes.
Especially in the context of distance learning, institution-led digital training may also cover advanced troubleshooting for more autonomous, user-centric use of technology. A dedicated tech support hotline may also be doubled to ensure that staff– which include educators, administrative support, and even student recruitment agents– and local and international students get prompt help when needed.
As technologies keep updating and as new digital tools become available at a rapid pace, it is also important to keep staff, educators, and learners updated on the use of these emerging technologies.
Fostering social awareness and empathy
A pandemic that is wide-ranging calls for heightened awareness about the world. This awareness also results in deepening one’s empathy. This is especially true as some sectors are even more disadvantaged by disasters of this magnitude.
As a sector that can greatly influence the youth and the communities of the future, HEIs are the key to driving a more socially aware and compassionate humanity. Instilling the values of empathy and humanitarian awareness can be done through seminars or incorporating study reflection guides and assigned readings that serve as eye-openers.
Topics may include addressing racial injustice, gender disparity, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Fostering social awareness and empathy may also groom local and international students to become effective leaders of society.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
HEIs are known to provide their educators with exciting perks and practical benefits such as health and wellness, hospitalization, and child care packages among many other things.
In the context of stay-at-home orders, some of these perks might have been temporarily out of reach as some wellness centers have been closed down to halt the spread of the virus. A workaround to this includes making fitness routines available through online workshops for both employees, students, and staff.
Beyond physical health, support for mental wellbeing is also now on the rise, and with good reason. Some companies offer subscriptions to self-help applications that have meditation or journaling activities. These may help users navigate through stress and emotional difficulties.
Mental health initiatives may also be as simple as holding weekly check-ins where staff, educators, and students can earn psychosocial support from their peers and mentors.
No matter what life throws at us, there is, indeed, no better way to empower students, educators, and HEI staff in performing at their best than by supporting other aspects of their lives as well.
- The Reimagined University – https://msquaremedia.com/blogs/the-reimagined-university-amid-covid-19-an-interview-with-marguerite-j-dennis/
- Fostering compassion and empathy – https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/support-teachers-during-covid-19-pandemic
- Teacher effectiveness through resilience building, instructional (spotting possible drop out, rebuilding lost learning, etc)- https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/supporting-teachers-during-covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic
The challenge of achieving diversity can be overcome if institutions reassess their scholarship offerings. Here’s a closer look at how it can be done. Read How Universities Can Truly Be Diverse with Scholarships