Schools all over the world have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. In many countries, Malaysia included, many schools have been forced to close for weeks and months on end for the safety of students and teachers.
But education must continue, even with the schools closed.
Many education centres have made the shift to e-learning. For example, universities have taken their classes online with lectures being recorded for students to view. On top of that, assignments are given and submitted through online portals.
Though this is the case for most universities, primary and secondary schools must tackle e-learning differently because the students are younger.
That being said, how do children cope with homeschooling and how do their teachers handle educating their students remotely? There are many obstacles to overcome if students are to receive a quality education.
But first, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of online learning. Pros include being flexible in terms of location, easily accessible resources and a new form of interactive learning that students and teachers can explore.
On the other hand, not every family has a computer for each child, which makes it difficult to attend lessons.
It is also trickier to keep tabs on children or hold their attention in a virtual classroom, and students who are used to face-to-face interaction with their teachers need to adapt to their virtual presence.
Considering all these factors, how do schools cope with delivering quality education online to their students?
Nexus International School has come up with ways to keep students engaged during the online learning period by giving them activities and projects – such as virtual field trips and combining paper and pencil with video- and computer-based classes.
Since children are missing out on many things such as extracurricular activities and group projects, having these replacements is important.
But online classes can only do so much as children learn better with face-to-face interaction with their teachers.
In a report published on a Singapore news portal, a teacher who had recently transitioned to online learning discovered that students occasionally muted their audio or hers to play online games with each other. They also made excuses to skip classes, blaming their absence on poor connections or faulty devices.
Keeping children focused and actively engaged in online classes is an ongoing process as teachers continue to search for ways to replace face-to-face assistance with something just as beneficial.
Plans to involve parents in the learning process have been introduced as a solution.
In a June 23 SchoolAdvisor article published this year on Free Malaysia Today titled ‘Online learning versus physical classrooms: Which is better?’, parents were advised to step up and be more involved in their children’s education as they are the ones the children are spending more time with during lockdowns.
For this to happen, communication is vital between teachers and parents.
Teachers at private and international schools are also looking to better prepare themselves for the new, virtual classroom by participating in specialised training to equip them with the knowledge of an online curriculum they need.
With their previous knowledge of technology, combined with their new skills, teachers are more than ready to tackle the challenges of the new normal.
After the success of private and international schools in delivering education to students during lockdowns, some parents are considering moving their children to private education.
There is no telling when it will be before all students are allowed back into physical classes. One thing is for sure, online education is possible, but schools and teachers must be creative and open to introducing new procedures.
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