Education Disrupted

Don’t let the flu get your child’s learning down, Yalla offers some tips for making the shift from the classroom to the screen with as little disruption as possible.


Seasonal flu is a public health dilemma with global economic and social ramifications. While the impacts on business are well documented, education is also facing the largest disruption in recent memory.

Local schools are responding with a shift to online learning. Yalla dives into the weighty topic with some suggestions on how to set your children up for success during this extended school holiday with these four tips for fruitful online learning.


1. Get Started

Jumping into online education can be intimidating and confusing for first timers. It’s crucial that parents work to create a working environment that will ensure your student’s success and one that allows them to complete their daily coursework and feel confident in their learning.

Once your student has been introduced to the online platform and is ready to begin his/her work, it’s time to make sure that their workspace is designed for productivity, and also to avoid distractions. Your student should have a workspace with room for, not only their computer but also space for anything else they might need during a typical school day, such as pens, pencils, notepads, calculator, et al. Students should not attempt schoolwork while lounging on the couch or lying in bed.

Once a suitable workspace is established, it’s time to develop a daily work schedule. Your student should set a start time, daily, and their day should include times for short breaks and should be long enough to complete all daily assignments. Students should work for roughly 45-50 minutes, and take a SHORT, 5-10-minute break between work sessions.

It’s essential that you set ground rules for breaks and mimic school rules to the best of your ability at home. Your student should avoid gaming, videos, or any other distracting technology that would customarily be banned at school during break time. These breaks are designed to give your student a short time away from the screen and unwind for a few minutes. They should grab a snack, get a drink, stretch, and then get back to work.

Your student should expect to work approximately one hour per subject, depending on the daily workload in each class. Workload will change on a regular basis, but on hour is a reasonable estimate of how much time is needed, per subject or class, on a typical school day.


2. Research

It’s imperative that parents make themselves aware of the tools and services available to your student. Parents often feel isolated and are unsure of where to go if their student needs help. While your school should be of great assistance in this matter, there are numerous online resources to help parents navigate online ed. By adequately preparing, and knowing how to help your student, your student can successfully navigate the online educational world.

Be sure that you stay in contact with your student’s teachers. Depending on the program type and your student’s age, this may be a single individual or separate teachers for different subjects. Make sure that your student knows who is teaching them in every block and is confident in reaching out for help or with questions.

Then, take some time to navigate your parent portal, into your student’s online learning platform, and become comfortable reviewing assignments, grades, notes, communication, et al. Just as your student is being challenged to learn a new, and unfamiliar system, you too, must determine the systems your child will use, so that you are more able to assist them, if and when they ask for your help.


3. Communication

Aside from actual time spent working online, one significant indicator of student success is the frequency and duration of a student’s interaction with teachers, parents, and other students, regarding school and schoolwork. To truly learn, your student must talk about, explain, and ask questions about their lessons, and must know exactly who to speak with, and how to contact them for clarification or help. Students who avoid reaching out for help are generally less successful than students who actively seek help when needed. Help is not always a natural habit, and parents should work closely with their student, to help them build the confidence to seek out help whenever necessary.

Parents should never hesitate to call or email their student’s teacher, if they have any questions, need assistance, or need advice on how to help their student succeed.


4. Engage

Stay involved in your student’s schoolwork. Sometimes when we ask children about school, we may not always get a straight answer. Rather than merely asking your student how they are doing in school, ask them specifically about what they are doing in each subject. Ask them to tell you about something interesting that they discovered while studying or ask about a particular assignment they may have completed. Having students explain their learning to others is a great way to help students truly master the ideas and concepts they learn every day.

Review schoolwork frequently. Before your student submits assignments, especially longer written assignments, help them proofread their work, checking for spelling, punctuation, or other grammatical errors, before turning it into the teacher.

Review graded work and your student’s grade reports daily. Review teacher comments and graded assignments and tests, to see which areas may need to be studied further. Ask your student about low scored quizzes, tests, and tasks. Review missed questions and review written work to help understand why they were incorrect. Just asking your student to explain a missed question may reveal that they know quite a bit more on the topic that was told by the subject and can help you to help your student better explain themselves on future assignments. Don’t be afraid to question grades. If something doesn’t look right, or you would like to discuss the reasoning behind any specific class, you should always feel comfortable asking the teacher.

The move from traditional to online learning can be a trying and a confusing time for many students. However, with a bit of planning and preparation on a parent’s part and using the tools available to your student, the leap into online education can be an inspiring and rewarding experience for both students and parents alike.

Over the next three weeks, Yalla will offer tried, tested, and teacher-recommended digital resources to help you supplement your child’s learning this month on a grade level basis. We’ll start with primary students next week. Stay tuned…

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