Online Learning a New Norm?
Will the pandemic change the way kids learn and study forever?
I was speaking to a parent the other day and she told me she is resigned to the fact that online classes will be the norm for all kids going forward. And that like it or not, she has to teach her child to adapt to it. Although the pandemic has sort of forced us into this situation, I personally believe online classes should not be a permanent norm that we are to get used to. It’s a temporary and necessary inconvenience, yes.
Apart from the pedagogy, I cannot see how a child can benefit from online classes if they are to stare at a screen all day. Young children, especially those below the age of 7, lack the discipline to look at a screen for several hours and follow instructions. This is understandable as kids need to be given the freedom to explore and move about. Physical interaction of playing, discussing and brainstorming with their friends and classmates is an important part of their learning experience too.
At THE STORY BOOK, we have shied away from doing online events and classes as we do not think it is effective. It is taxing for the kids, the parents and the educators and organizers. For very young kids, the parents have the onus to supervise the child online sessions as you may never know what they will encounter on the Internet. Even not so young kids are not spared. We heard of a parent of a 9 year old girl whom the mom thought can be independent enough to attend online classes on her own. Apart from the online classes, the child also started playing some online games with her friends. But unbeknownst to the parent, there were also pedophiles masquerading as kids and playing the games together on those sessions. She only found out when her daughter was prepositioned.
Apart from that, not being able to guide or handhold the child in person proved to be challenging for educators and activity organizers. While figuring out all the tech challenges of lag, mute button on, video off etc., the educators also are ‘handicapped’ in a way to be able to ensure the child is paying attention and following the instructions.
However with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight yet, THE STORY BOOK may have to do some online programs – just to give the kids something to work on or look forward to. But this is not the norm we want to live with. And I am sure this is not the norm you want your kids to grow up in.
We hope THE STORY BOOK can brave and withstand this pandemic storm to offer our interactive physical events and classes soon. Nothing can ever replace that.
Jeanisha Wan (The Chief Kid)