Two years since the outbreak of COVID, we look at some life lessons that the pandemic has taught students everywhere
27 January 2022| Last updated on 22 February 2022
Although COVID has affected people's health and wellbeing, the mind of children and teenagers is another thing.
According to IB curriculum students at the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai, the global pandemic enabled young people to grow, learn, and gain some important skills.
Here are eight life skills that the virus and its ripple effects have taught school students.
1. The importance of hygiene
During the pandemic, children learned the importance of keeping their hands clean thanks to family members at home, from school, and through the media.
Children learned the five steps—wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry—and when to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom, playing outside, and before eating.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF all published guides on how parents can teach children to maintain good personal hygiene and keep COVID-19 out of the home and school. Washing hands is an excellent habit to have, even if COVID is eliminated in the future.
2. The skill of maintaining social relationships
The Swiss International Scientific School recognises that social relationships are an important part of a child’s health, wellbeing, and development.
In the past, school staff found that play-based learning is one way children can develop social relationships. With the pandemic, students had to rely less on physical interaction with others.
Students learned how important it was to maintain their social relationships regardless of distance. Students and faculty stayed in touch with long-distance friends and family much more than before through regular Zoom calls and checking in on each other.
3. The ability to work remotely and independently
In a post-Covid world where the workforce is increasingly remote, the pandemic will give distance-learning students the right skill set to succeed beyond graduation.
Taking responsibility for their own learning encourages the inquirer learner attribute of the IB curriculum, which gives students the necessary skills to conduct inquiry and research, and learn independently. Students are encouraged to enjoy learning and this enjoyment will hopefully be sustained in other parts of their lives.
Remote and independent learning also encourages reflection, the learner attribute that gives thoughtful consideration to students’ own learning and experience. IB students are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations to support their learning and personal development.
4. Increased empathy and gratitude
Caring is a learning attribute, in which IB students show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others.
At the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai, students are encouraged to have a personal commitment to service and act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the environment.
During the pandemic, the school encouraged children to display their emotional intelligence by showing their support for healthcare workers. For example, they drew rainbows to display on their windows as a sign of support and gratitude.
5. Resilience and adaptability
The pandemic created many challenges, including the unpredictability of day-to-day life.
Students and staff alike became resilient and adaptable, both of which are valuable skills. Each family faced a responsibility to face risk; risk-taking is another IB learner attribute in which students approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought.
Undoubtedly, living a part of their school lives during a pandemic will give them the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas, and strategies in their lives. Risk-taking also encourages students to be brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
6. Increased creativity
Stuck indoors, children had to find new ways to keep themselves entertained. Many of SISD's students discovered new interests and hobbies.
Creativity encourages the inquirer learning attribute in which students develop their natural curiosity, and the thinker attribute which helps students exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognise and approach complex problems and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
7. The importance of support systems
To get through this difficult time, everyone had to lean on each other for support. With that, children learned the importance of family and friends in difficult times, which will further encourage development of the caring attribute.
8. Accepting their limits, then going beyond them.
Travel has been reduced drastically in the last two years. Although that’s been difficult, it’s also meant the opportunity for people to rediscover the place in which they live. SISD students found new hobbies and saw new places in the pursuit of those activities.
SISD has always valued their After-School Activities programme. They aim to provide engaging activities and clubs tailored to meet the needs of each year group, each supporting and transmitting the school's core values.
Students can choose from a wide range of activities offered daily. The programmes are meant to take children beyond their limits and learn diverse skills, whether physical, artistic, creative, cultural or scientific.
They have a saying at the Swiss International Scientific School Dubai: Accept your limits, then go beyond them.