Interview: Milena Prodanić Tišma, Director of the Bright Horizons British School in Zagreb : New technologies in a new situation

Despite the epidemic and solving the consequences of the earthquake in Zagreb,  because of which we are self-isolating, we will continue to share stories and news about developments in the political, diplomatic, economic and cultural scene in Croatia and the region. We will interview and record the statements from selected persons from the world of economics and diplomacy, as well as public figures.

To that end, we spoke with Milena Prodanić Tišma, Director of the Bright Horizons British School in Zagreb about the school’s activities during the pandemic, her private activities and things she will do first after the current situation is complete finshed.

1.How did you organize your business activities?

Bright Horizons has focused its efforts to make the situation as painless as possible for its
students, thus protecting not only the physical but also the mental health of the students.
Therefore, the school focused on consolidating the school community and maintaining regular
contacts between the principal, the school counselor, the school psychologist, the teachers, the
students, and the parents, even after the formal closure of the schools. The greatest advantage
during this period of isolation is, the day-to-day shared time that students spend online. Bright
Horizons strive to simulate a regular school day as much as possible to maintain a sense of
community. The entire process is planned and monitored, and students even have the
possibility to have individual online consultations with their teachers, school counselor and/or
psychologist if they need additional support.
In order to achieve this, the school has decided to use the application; ZOOM; in order to
enable its students to meet each other and their teachers every day and take part in live
lessons! They have daily regular classes and even regular school breaks during which students
have the opportunity to see their peers, talk and socialize with them.
The ZOOM app made it possible for students not to any lose classes, including P.E. as well!
During this period, the school also focuses its efforts to further develop students' ICT skills.
Students learn how to use the Internet as a place where they can find various resources to
completing tasks and carrying out various projects. They are learning how to use the many
programs that will definitely benefit them as they embark on further education. Even before this
new situation, the school was using a variety of applications in its daily work to further enhance
the classwork. For example; the subject of mathematics is enhanced by the Mathletics
application, the subject of music is enhanced by the Charanga program and so on. As for
communication between the school and parents, one of the applications used is called Seesaw.
It allows students to directly transfer their learning activities through an application to which
parents have direct access. Also, for the purpose of communication, teachers use Google
classroom.

2.How else do you support students while they are learning from home?

Every Monday morning,  we gather all the
students together to mark important events and discuss the development of personal goals
during this challenging period. During this, students are encouraged to actively participate and
share the lessons learned. Dates like Down Syndrome Day, Children’ day’s,  Rights Day and similiar
are celebrated. Of course, they did not let their online classes deprive them of this. With the
ZOOM program, Bright Horizons continued its gatherings on Mondays and maintains the close
connection of its small but diverse community.
Teachers, associates and I as the principal are always available for support to our students and
parents. Although this situation in Croatia is quite distressing and difficult for all, the staff of
Bright Horizons have jointly used the newly created situation to improve the educational process
and connect the community in a new modern way. Although the situation is not easy, the
schools sees this as an opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills!

3.What will you do first after the current  condition is cancelled?

We are all hoping to start with our regular routines as soon as possible. When it happens, I am sure we will be ready to continue to deliver the same standard of service as before the crisis. We also need to be aware that after all of those events, students might need extra support with coping with all of it. That’s why we are already working on models to implement new strategies of support. One of those programs is also the Mindfulness and wellbeing program which will be introduced alongside the mainstream curriculum.

 

  1. How are you spending your private time during the pandemic?

We have established the daily routine. Since my daughters attend online lessons, I use this time to work and plan our future activities. An online social network is also very active and it keeps us connected with our friends and family. During these specific times, we get the chance to reevaluate and develop our future plans.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *