Recently, a friend shared a story about her nephew’s online classes in Indonesia. When the class began, the teacher asked the children to put on their shoes and hang their bags up, just as they would in a classroom. My friend’s nephew was perplexed by this and said, 'But I’m at home…'
Maybe the teacher was trying to make the children feel at ease by simulating a classroom environment in their home.
Or maybe, she was also having trouble adapting to online lessons.
Although many schools globally have been forced to adopt periods of full home-based learning, not everyone is on board with the idea.
Parents may lament that their children are distracted while educators bemoan that they cannot supervise their students and their activities. Honestly, I had my own reservations about the effectiveness of teaching writing to all students when we had to go fully online last year.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), because of the pandemic, no one can run away from this blatant truth:
Online learning has moved away from being an interim measure to a necessity in today’s world.
And while online learning may still be a relatively new concept to us in Singapore, other nations like South Korea, China and India, have long embraced it prior to the pandemic.
In fact, our children in Singapore seem to have adjusted well to this arrangement albeit missing their interaction with their friends. (There were rumours that children were heard cheering after the announcement of school closure was made as part of the Heightened Alert measures.)
It is high time that we, as parents and educators, transform our mindset about online learning. Here are some ways that we can reframe our thinking:
1) A myriad of accessible online resources are available to engage the learner further
An unexpected blessing that arose from the pandemic was the wide range of free resources that were made accessible to educators all over the world. Not only are children’s engagement levels increasing because of these resources, they also benefit from a wide array of learning materials.
2) This is a golden opportunity to groom children to be adaptable and flexible in their learning styles
While it is easy to say that 'my child does not suit online learning', why don’t we ask, 'how can we make our children more savvy and competent in the online learning spaces?' In this way, they would become more adaptable, which will serve them well in their future careers where they would likely have to adapt to their company’s culture and protocol.
3) Allow children to take ownership of their own learning and be more independent
The children have to adopt a greater sense of responsibility in completing their tasks and communicating with their teachers. But this also means that this reduces the need for 'spoonfeeding' and overreliance. I truly believe that when we set the bar high for our children, they will rise to the occasion and many have proven us right.
* * *
The way I see it, we have two options. The first is to wait till the pandemic is over and hope that we never have to do online learning again or we can embrace the flow and ride out this wave.
We, at Artistic Strategies Academy, choose the latter and while many other enrichment centres have chosen to postpone their holiday programmes, we have decided to convert our Magical Writing programme to a fully online programme where children can still be engaged and learn just as productively while they witness and participate in captivating magic shows!
Since your children are required to be home anyway, we might as well make it a meaningful experience for them, right?
Watch our special online interview to get a better understanding of what to expect from the programme.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to me!
Yours in partnership,
Founder, Artistic Strategies Academy