How to move virtual learning forward?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
According to Clay Hunter, socio-emotional learning and parent support is the key to move virtual learning forward. Hunter is a Curricular Counsel at Gwinnett County Public Schools in USA and from his experience teachers must build trust by understanding children's feelings and burdens during these times.

Since coronavirus appeared, many schools had to close their doors. Teachers had to quickly find new ways to teach children remotely. But it was far from perfect.

"We learned from parents that while they were grateful we continued teaching throughout the spring, they were frustrated with all of the questions their children had, and wanted and needed that teacher to be there with them through that entire journey," Hunter says.

Now, while digital learning has been rethought, the challenge is providing the same level of attention and teaching to all whether in-class on in distance.

Provide seamless in-class and distance learning with Kindiedays Blended Learning based on your curriculum and portfolio.

Communication between families and teachers have become extremely important during this time period, says Hunter. He gives an example: Earlier parents were asking questions like “What time do I need to drop him off tomorrow?” or “What time shall I pick him up?” – parents needed to know about the start and the end of the day.

Now, parents and teachers have to communicate about the course of the entire day – Teachers and families need be on the same page around what time will the Zoom session start where the synchronous learning is going to take place, when will their child then be charged with doing their work independently, and when will breaks and play be allowed.

Bringing routines into the learning is important. That’s one of the biggest things parents have applauded is the teachers’ ability to set routines and help their children understand those routines and abide by them.

In-class teaching vs Distance learning

The biggest opportunity to teach both in-class and distance, is our ability to maximize technology in order to meet the needs of all students. This is where (while it's unfortunate that we are facing COVID-19) a crisis has led to some great opportunities.

There are digital tools that have existed for some time, but only now their full potential comes alive and fully into use.  

For example, teacher can send a video for children during their mini-lesson, and children can play it over and over again if they are confused or need repetition. They may not have had the opportunity to see that video in a traditional in-class setting before COVID-19. Children kind of had to catch that mini-lesson right then and there – some did and some did not.

Now every child gets the same video, and they can replay it as many times as needed, to watch the teacher do that math problem etc. In a ‘normal’ class setting children would have to raise their hands in order to get another explanation and you may have some children who are even scared to raise their hand and then some who are overly eager and they talk too much and missed the entire topic.

There is equity and voice because children can actually click a button and answer very quick, and the teacher can see who answered it correctly or incorrectly and help them with their misconception, without any other child knowing. Distance learning saves children from embarrassment and encourages them to take the risk to say, “I don't know, I don’t understand.” Children can share their thoughts directly with their parent or teacher.

We have to keep in mind that all children keep having equal opportunities to live out, tell about their feelings and allow them to reach out. Teachers need to make sure they are aware of what's burdening the child and that children know when and where the teacher is available. It’s very, very difficult for anyone to do that if there isn't a sense of trust.

Read the full article by Roger Riddell @ EDUCATIONDIVE from here.

PS Read how Kindiedays Blended Learning solution supports preschools, children and parents in the new normal. Stay open and provide in-class or distance learning seamlessly as need evolves!

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