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Lessons learnt from Distance Learning at Brillantmont

| 0 comments| by Sarah Frei Sarah Frei

On March 13th, the Brillantmont world changed dramatically. Most of our students headed home to their families as COVID-19 edged closer. With another 20 weeks of school to go, it was time to switch into distance learning mode.

Distance learning can never replace presential learning in the classroom and none of us should underestimate the challenges that our young people faced, as they quickly said goodbye to friends and headed off into uncertainty.




As the world reeled, our students’ world was shaken as they realised that adults – leaders, teachers, politicians – didn’t always have the reassuring answers they sought, since the situation was constantly evolving.

Brillantmont had anticipated this situation and our teachers were ready. Under the expert hand of Mr McClean, our Head of Academics, they had prepared solutions to best deliver their classroom content. Rather than prescribe the platforms to be used, each teacher was free to choose that with which he/she felt most comfortable. Some opted for Zoom, some for Teams, some incorporated videos into their lessons as well as of course, using emails to deliver work and importantly, feedback.




Timetables were re-adjusted so that students had a certain amount of virtual presence contact time with their teachers, despite the time zones, since face to face contact was important for students and teachers alike. Grading continued thanks to the regularly set Key Assignments and the necessity to provide quality feedback and guidance was never greater. Our teachers did a marvellous job and continued to provide the very personalised, supportive learning which Brillantmont does so well. 



Our students rose to the occasion and were engaged and committed to their learning. Yet, this experience was not just about getting through their course outlines; it provided opportunities for personal growth and development and they learnt:


  • how to take responsibility for their learning, by taking ownership of it. Without the boarding routine to support them, the onus was on them to attend class, to participate, to complete homework tasks on time. This is a big leap, particularly for the younger students. 
  • discipline, time management and organisational skills, because of the need to organise their independent, autonomous study.

  • how to manage new communication tools and  overcome technical difficulties.
  • how to manage new communication tools and to overcome technical difficulties.
  • how to make their voice heard and express their emotions, which is not easy when we do not have the physical indicators and body language to guide us.  

  • how to develop their writing skills, since they were not always able to speak to us in person.
  • to believe in their ability and judgement and develop trust in their judgement, since without their classmates close to hand, they learnt to solve problems independently.


Study at Brillantmont International School library


Thus, there was some good to come out  of this challenging and emotionally trying situation. One of the Core Values of Brillantmont, as defined in our Guiding Statements is that “We deliver stimulating curricula and unique learning experiences which equip students with the attributes to thrive in a rapidly changing world.” This has always been the case, but never more so than in these past few months. Should circumstances prevent our students arriving on time for the new school year and we need to switch to Hybrid Learning for the first few weeks, we are ready.

Experts around the world predict that in the future, we will have to deal with many other situations like this, which require the ability to be flexible and to adapt quickly. These past few months have proven the capacity of the Brillantmont community to do this and to thrive, in the most challenging of circumstances and we are proud of everyone.


Brillantmont International School

Founded in 1882, Brillantmont International School is one of the oldest boarding schools in Switzerland and is still owned and run by the founding family. The school welcomes boarding students and day students, aged 13-18 (Grades 8-12) from over 30 nationalities. Brillantmont students follow stimulating courses leading to internationally recognised examinations (British Checkpoint, IGCSE, A Level ; American High School Diploma, PSAT 8, PSAT 9, PSAT 10, SAT test, SAT subject test, IELTS). 
Small class sizes ensure that every student has close teacher attention and is constantly challenged. 

Students also enjoy the many extra-curricular activities available, which include Habitat for Humanity, Model United Nations, cooking club, events planning club, vocal club, rock band and numerous sports clubs such as rugby, volleyball, football, yoga, trampoline and many more.

If you would like to know more about our course content, or if you have any questions for our staff, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call +41 21 310 0400 or email admissions@brillantmont.ch us at Brillantmont to speak to a member of the admissions team, and we will be happy to answer your questions.



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