Kindergarten and primary school students are gradually returning to campus as in-person classes resume. Returning to school is welcomed and exciting for many students, however for some, it can cause feelings of anxiousness and even fear of change. Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE) shares advice for parents and teachers to support young children with the complicated emotions they may be experiencing. The college also gives an in-depth insight into Educational Technology (EdTech) as the pandemic has changed the means of teaching and learning for the foreseeable future.
Classes resume: advice for parents and teachers
Starting school can be stressful at the best of times, let alone in unpredictable circumstances during a global pandemic. The differences in the learning environment and ways of learning may cause major disruption to a young child’s daily life. Children are likely to be experiencing a range of emotions in the transition period in terms of social interaction, communications and engagement. Recognising the changed learning through changed space, Professor Allan Yuen, President of YCCECE, shares practical advice for parents and teachers in getting children back to face-to-face or a hybrid format of learning.
Professor Yuen discovered that instead of approaching adults, children tend to find their solutions online, therefore, in this transition period, he suggests parents to:
Learn new things and follow up with the teacher together with the child whenever there is a problem to solve. Through this process, children that are part of the conversation can experience first-hand trust and reliability from parents towards teachers.
When children have a question in mind, instead of browsing the internet, parents can become their “go-to person”. Together they can discuss and figure out the answers and solutions to strengthen the connection and bond within the family.
As face-to-face classes resume, students will once again engage with their friends and teachers where they will have opportunities to learn, explore and collaborate together. Therefore, teachers are suggested to:
As children may already be used to online classes and individual activities on their computer, teachers should be aware of whether their students are mentally comfortable in switching between remote learning and physical classes. School timetables should be flexible, with relaxing activities to help young children unwind and adapt to life back in the classroom.
Children are easily distracted when they listen to lectures or read text virtually. Teachers should fully utilise the time and keep students focused by allowing everyone to talk, listen, and take part in discussion when they can see each other face-to-face.
It is crucial to let children feel included as they may feel disconnected in times of social distancing. Choosing the right teaching tool to engage with children, those that encourage collaboration can help enhance learning efficiency.
EdTech: online learning and beyond
Whether or not online learning will continue into the post-pandemic era, education has changed as a huge number of children are learning out of the physical classroom. “Instead of describing it as a ‘New Normal’, I would consider the swift transition as a ‘New Practice’ as there are always drawbacks to take into account. COVID-19 is not just affecting us now but also has a long term impact,” said Professor Yuen. “Education is evolving at a faster pace whereby teaching is undertaken remotely with technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) – the biggest educational technology trend in years to come.”
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