Even if it seems that it is now possible to imagine a post-pandemic world in which face-to-face teaching might be once again possible, no one can say if classes will return to the way they once were. Currently, learning institutions will still have to offer distance learning to facilitate schooling for students.
“I believe that the coronavirus will force educators to revolutionise the way they teach, moving from a lecture-listen model to an interactive, learn-by-doing model. We are well suited to capture the wave,” said Robert Hsiung, China CEO of the online educational company EMERITUS. And while this is true, initiatives introduced by educators will not be effective if students have a hard time embracing distance learning in the first place.
Here are a few guidelines that parents, guardians, and students themselves can take to make the shift to online learning easier:
For students to perform their best, it is essential that they have a dedicated space at home that is conducive to effective learning. It shouldn’t just be a corner in your living room with a desk and chair. If at all possible, help make it a space that they would actually want to spend their time in. In addition to the study table and chair, you can help personalise the space by putting up some of their artwork, or incorporating things they like and placing them within reach. The goal is to not just create a learning space but a place in which they are happy and comfortable.
If it’s your child’s first experiences of distance learning, then you must take some necessary steps to make the transition comfortable for them. To avoid feelings of overwhelm and apprehension, you can show them that learning online is not as bad as they think it might be by encouraging them to try out alternative online platforms first. Writer James Gonzalez points out that there are several e-learning platforms out there that make learning engaging and fun. There are even those that offer customised training to meet the needs of the student. If what the school is offering isn’t working or if they need additional resources beyond what’s provided to them by their teachers to better absorb the course material, then it’s worth looking at other online platforms to fortify their learning even further.
Research shows that students tend to work harder – and improve attainment – when they know what is expected of them. What’s more, they are also likely to follow rules if they were involved in their creation. Michigan State University professor Charis Lauren Wahman PhD suggests having an explicit discussion with your child about home expectations, so you can both set some clear guidelines regarding distance learning. But it’s also important to remain encouraging and collaborative, so they don’t feel like they’re being threatened to complete their course work.
A CNBC article emphasizes the fact that seat time doesn’t always equal learning time. You don’t want to replace eight hours of school with eight hours in front of Zoom and expect that eight hours of focused learning will ensue. All learners find this sort of structure mentally challenging. To help students focus, there should be established brain breaks where learners can regroup and recharge – by performing breathing exercises, rehydrating and refueling, and walking around. Regular physical movement plays a big part in schooling, so incorporating movement into the school day is just as necessary in this world of virtual education.
Article written by Ruth Jenkins
Exclusively for reimagine-education.com