During this time of the coronavirus epidemic, children are unable to enter the classroom to enjoy the fun of learning with their peers. Instead, they can take classes through online learning. At HD Qingdao, the school initially provided a wealth of online learning resources for students, but now, through live broadcasts, students are engaging in live lessons with their teachers over the internet. It can be said that this innovative way of teaching can play an important role in supporting the development of our students.
Today, the principal of HD Qingdao Primary school, Jamie, will help parents understand online education through a reflective article that provides some hints and tips for overcoming the challenges.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China, schools have been forced to close for an, as yet, unknown length of time. In this situation, teachers at HD Qingdao are trying to make the best of the situation and use the current period as productively as possible by providing a quality online learning experience for our students.
I’m sure I speak for all the teachers, students and parents in our community when I say that despite how fun and exciting online learning can be, we’d all much rather be at school and can’t wait for the day when HD Qingdao opens its gates again.
The benefits of online learning
Online teaching and learning is generally less effective than teaching in the classroom because it restricts a teacher’s ability to ask individual questions and respond in real time to students’ needs.
In a classroom, the teacher can pose questions, test existing knowledge and then adapt the lessons to the children’s current understanding, providing more support to those individuals who need it. This means that teaching and learning, as much as possible, is tailored in real time to the needs of each child.
This is far more difficult to do in an online context. Live lessons over the internet provide the next best thing to classroom teaching but even here, it is difficult for teachers to interact with each child and find out what level of individual support they require to make the best possible progress.
So, we are under no illusion – online learning does present challenges to the teaching and learning process.
The benefits of online learning
Because we recognise the challenges associated with teaching and learning over the internet, this does not mean that we should dismiss it altogether.
There are several reasons why online learning can still be a valuable experience for our students during this difficult time:
Many of our students are confined to their homes during the coronavirus crisis and online learning provides a valuable opportunity to interact with others and maintain relationships with peers and teachers;
Although online learning does present challenges, this is not to say that it is without value. Online lessons that are pitched effectively and allow for real time interactions between teachers and students allow the students to practice key skills with English and other curriculum areas that will benefit them when they return to school;
Providing online lessons and activities provides a familiar routine for students and for teachers and this is key for maintaining wellbeing and mental health at this difficult time;
Not only can key academic skills be maintained and developed during this time, but subjects such as Music, Art, Dance and PE encourage students to think creatively and remain active even within the confines of their homes – another key ingredient for maintaining physical and mental health.
With encouragement and the help of simple routines, children can develop their own levels of independence with regards to learning at home; organising their resources and ensuring they are ready at set times to engage in learning.This would be a great opportunity for many of our younger students to learn how to tell the time and then use this knowledge to help organise themselves for each day of learning at home.
My tips for improving online learning in your home
Routines: ensure you establish a daily routine and that your child helps with this process. This will provide them with ownership over their learning and is likely to increase their motivation to engage with the process.
It can be easy during this period to get into bad habits such as going to bed late and then waking up later in the day. This can lead to arguments as parents try to get their children ready for lessons that they do not feel motivated to take part in. Sit down with your child and plan the schedule for the week, ensuring that you make time for rest and plan in rewards when your child has worked hard.
Create a defined work and resource area: by creating a defined work space with all the resources easily accessible, it helps to create boundaries in the home and children learn that when they are in this space, it is time to concentrate and learn.
Restrict Screen Time: One of the concerns that many parents have about online learning is related to the amount of screen time it forces on young children.Ensure that when lessons are complete, you plan alternative activities for your child to engage with, such as reading stories, painting, drawing and exercise. This will ensure that your child develops a balanced and healthy relationship with technology.
In conclusion, online learning presents many challenges but with a little thought and adaptation, it can still be a very valuable and worthwhile experience, providing isolated children with meaningful interactions with teachers and students during this difficult time. I hope this article has provided some help in improving the experience for you and your family.