Academic Tips

Remote learning – how to be successful

The switch to remote learning can seem daunting but there are many things you can do to make the process easier, from keeping your workspace organised to time away from screens. Below are my top tips to make remote learning a little bit easier. 

At the start of the day:

  • Set up your workspace, give yourself space to write and remove clutter and any unnecessary distractions such as books, additional technology not needed for remote learning such as mobile phones or tablets. 
  • Check your timetable! Make sure you have everything you need for each lesson, for example if you have Maths make sure your calculator is nearby, or for Art plain paper and pencils. 
  • Stick to your normal routine. It is harder than it sounds but try to wake up at your usual time, get dressed and have breakfast before your first lesson as you would if you were going in to school. It can be challenging to do but following your normal routine will put you in a positive mindset for lessons. 

During the school day:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for more time to complete a task, the chances are if you are not finished neither is the rest of the class! Remember your teachers can’t see you so don’t know if you are struggling or have finished early. 
  •  Give yourself a break, remember you have 5 minutes between each lesson, take that time to stand up and look away from the screen for a bit. 
  • Pack away your work at the end of each lesson, this will help you keep your work organised and your workspace clear. 
  • File any resources sensibly. I recommend creating a file on your computer or device for each subject and then each lesson, that way you can save any resources and look back at them easily if needed. 
  • Use your lunch and breaktime wisely. Consider giving yourself a break from technology, talk to a parent or sibling, go for a short walk or read a book. Looking a screen for an entire day can be tiring. 

At the end of the day:

  • Clear your workspace and set it up for the next day. 
  • Check any homework you have been set and set aside a time to complete the work. Stick to your homework timetables though, if it is taking too long don’t feel the need to finish every question. Just let your teacher know you have done as much as you can – they will understand. 
  • Relax! Remote learning is tricky so make sure you give yourself some downtime at the end of the day. 

Remember, remote learning is difficult for teachers as well and students so they will understand if you are struggling. As always, if you need any help contact your teachers, tutor or Head of Year all of whom will be more than happy to speak to you.

Mrs Latham

Assistant Head – Director of Studies  


Enrichment Opportunities  

There are plenty of opportunities for students to follow their curiosity and engage with academic enrichment activities during lockdown. The normal subject-based college societies will be continuing to run online as part of the Forder programme, Sixth Form students are able to continue accessing MOOCs. There are sone specific opportunities to highlight:-

Next week we have the first Opening Minds event of the term, Constructing the Future. As we make plans to move in to our exciting new building, Opening Minds will be looking at construction in the 21st Century and the issues surrounding it. We will be very pleased to welcome Zubin Masters, Director at Bond Bryan - architects for our new building and Adam Worrall Director of Wilmott Dixon Construction to discuss the design and construction of our new building as well as broader issues of importance in the world of construction. The event will be suitable for all Senior School students. Parents and carers as well members of the wider Dunstonian community will also be welcome. It takes place on Microsoft Teams at 18.30 on Wednesday 13 January 2021 and will last about an hour. We expect demand to be high, so to secure your place, please email edaniels@stdunstans.org.uk by Sunday 10 January.

The next Opening Minds event will be on “Climate change and inequality - is Big Finance the Answer?” It will happen in the second half of term.

The Academic Scholarship programme continues to run in full this term, with Mr Burke organising Scholars' Teas to take place in the 3rd week of term. These Teas will be a platform for students to discuss the next Opening Minds Lecture. We are also currently organising a series of exciting activities and remote learning trips for Scholars to take part in through an online format. This term Scholars will have the opportunity to hear from an Earth Scientist at the University of Bristol about the application of science in the real world. With the programme still being developed more activities will be added for students to participate in at a later date.

There is always reading for pleasure, and the St Dunstan’s College e-library is ready to be used! The link is: http://stdunstans.eplatform.co/  This is a shared collection of ebooks and audiobooks for all year groups (including primary), meaning occasionally, you may be required to reserve a title, if it is not available. Students can also request books. Users can personalise their account to suit their needs! Font size, line spacing, background colour etc. A prompt will appear when you first log in and your choices will be set for future reading also. Of course, this can always be changed in the settings. The library is also available on mobile devices (Android, Apple and Windows). The app is called ‘ePlatform by Wheelers’.  Students log in with their normal school login.

Mr Elmes

Assistant Head - Curriculum