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Posted on Apr 15, 2020

Growth through a Time of Crisis

Growth through a Time of Crisis

Covid-19 has had an immediate impact on all of us. I can’t recall a time in recent history when the world has been so united against a common challenge; and although it comes to isolate us, it also unites us. More than ever before we have a sense that we are in this together and we are deeply connected; we are vulnerable together, anxious together, sad together, scared together, and hopeful together.

According to Unesco monitoring, as of March 24, 2020, 156 countries have implemented nationwide closures or remote learning options, impacting 82.5% of world’s student population or 1,418,764,116  learners.1 Teachers, students, families, administrators, departments, and whole communities are being forced to respond and adapt quickly. In our schools, we are having to adapt in ways like never before, and the unfamiliarity of this can bring anxiety for leaders and educators. Unfamiliar things have a way of unnerving us.

Dr. Hayley Watson, psychologist and creator of the Open Parachute Mental Health Curriculum, stated in an interview:

The flip side of every crisis is that it presents an opportunity. Everything is turned on its head, so it is a time where all of us can reflect on how we are living our lives, what matters most to us, and what we would like to gain from going through this experience. We get a chance to find ourselves again. So, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to slow down, take a breath, get clear on your own values and find the options and opportunities that are available to you in this new reality.2

So, let us shift our focus to the positive opportunities and possibilities that may come out of crisis; something extraordinary can and often does come out of adversity:

1. Spiritual Growth

In times of crisis we look upwards to our heavenly Father rather than looking inwards for answers and direction; we become more dependent upon God. This is a time to grow in our faith and reconnect with the purpose that God has intended for each of us. There are many scriptures we can call to mind for encouragement, hope and inspiration. In Joshua 1:9, as Joshua faced a great enemy the scripture implored, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2. Increased School-Family Connectedness

The sudden shift to families learning from home creates a need to grow closer to and understand our families like never before. We must understand their context, what resources they have at home and what their needs are. As we reach out and listen to families, we gain an insight into their home experience and grow closer to them. We gain a greater appreciation of our community and dependence upon one another.

3. Increased Family Involvement in Education

One of the key secrets of success in education is parental involvement. This is an unprecedented time when educators, parents and guardians are working together to support the education and well-being of children. It is an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and to equip parents to become more involved in teaching their children.

4. Increased Innovation in Education

The modernized BC curriculum has been ushered in and has brought significant changes, yet the covid-19 virus has brought an abrupt and immediate need to change the way we do education altogether. This time of crisis can bring with it an opportunity for innovation and new ways of doing the business of educating. We have the flexibility to transform learning and focus on involving the whole family, developing multi-age learning, individualized learning and the ability to tap into student interests allows for genuine authentic personalized learning on a new level. Students may be gifted with the opportunity to take ownership of their learning and increase their agency, choice, and voice in the learning process. Experiential learning in the home and in nearby outdoor locations brings opportunities for real-world inquiry-based learning.

5. Increased Focus on Health and Well-being

Our schedules and plans have all been radically interrupted. We are forced to pause and refrain from our usual running about and busyness. It is a time to reflect and re-evaluate our priorities and what really matters in our lives. There is a growing awareness of our need to focus on wellness within our families—to rest, relax, play, gain new hobbies, connect, exercise, eat well, sleep well, to hold close and love large.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or a global trauma, the world has been through tough things before, and we’ve pulled through. We will get through this one too, growing stronger in the process.

1. Retrieved from Unesco, March 25, 2020,
https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-school-closures
2. Watson, Hayley. Personal Interview. March 24, 2020.

Jenny Williams (jenny.williams@scsbc.ca)
SCSBC Director of Educational Support Services

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