Elizabeth Barnett-Lawton, President of Pillar, Education at British Beauty Council shares her advice for educators and students working in isolation

by | Apr 1, 2020

It is an interesting time for those working in education. With further and higher education institutions and now schools closing we have had to adapt to virtual delivery almost overnight. Fortunately, technology such as Zoom, WhatsApp etc., in addition to existing online learning platforms, have enabled us to continue to deliver group sessions and one-to-one tutorials.

As an educator, myself, I think this could be the future. Over the years, students’ attention span has decreased with their virtual world (Instagram and Snap Chat) being at the touch of a button and with each new cohort I have noticed a shorter attention span and less patience in real-time lectures. Students need things filmed so they can rewind or watch again.

Of course, there will always be a need for face-to-face feedback, support, and mentoring, but I predict the future will combine flexible online delivery and materials with face-to-face tutorials and seminars. Perhaps the coronavirus will force us to adapt? Certainly, the reduction of transport can only be good for the planet.

Unfortunately, 40,00 fashion and beauty graduates from higher education institutions across the UK have heard the disappointing news that the live Graduate Fashion Week event is cancelled. The shows, on which many student makeup artists and hair stylists also work, are the highlight of a students’ three years of degree study. Currently, the organisers are re-imagining a virtual alternative to showcase new talent.

Working from home suits me, so long as I set the day up with an online meeting. Setting goals is essential to avoid procrastination. As a manager, I made an action plan, shared it with my staff and asked them to do the same, detailing how they would use their time and convert their teaching to online.

Today, I started the day with a Zoom meeting with my colleagues comparing notes on trouble-shooting the sudden shift to online delivery amid a flurry of emails from worried students. Our to-do lists remain just as long as ever and my eyes felt dry by the end of last week as I’d been looking at a screen for 10 hours a day without a break. So, my biggest tip is set the day off with a meeting to force yourself to get up, showered, put your face on (which I failed to do today) and get a cup of tea before you start. Also, if you haven’t managed to put your makeup on first there is a button under ‘video setting’ to ‘touch up’ your face, which is a handy device. My second biggest tip is to take a lunch break and sit outside if the weather permits, to give your eyes a break and soak up some vitamin D to help your immunity.

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