Distance learning: a tough test or a good opportunity? Child and family counselor-psychologist Alexander Cuypers states that distance learning is a serious challenge for children and parents, a tough test for the degree of independence and responsibility of children, for the ability to organize and manage their lives, for the formation of the ability to learn and educational and cognitive activity. At the same time, distance learning can also be perceived positively – as an opportunity for a child, especially a high school student, to learn himself faster than at school. When students lack the teacher’s support they are more likely to buy term paper online. The psychologist gave the parents some practical advice:
- Dialogue and respectful, friendly communication are important so that the child himself decides that he will perform the teacher’s tasks. Discuss with him what will help him and what may hinder him.
- Let him write his intention on paper. Your own decision, recorded in writing, will become psychological support for the student, to which you can go back. It differs from a promise to parents, that is, an external life management system in which adult responsibility prevails.
- At the end of each day, discuss in detail with the child what has been achieved and what has not yet.
- To understand the successes and difficulties, ask open-ended questions addressed to a specific experience: what, how, for what, why, what I felt, how it turned out or failed, etc. In turn, give him detailed positive feedback: describe a specific successful experience of the child, express joy, admiration, respect. And don’t spare the hugs.
Most schoolchildren have a bad sense of time and do not know how to plan it. Help the child to make a plan for each day, and in the evening to discuss it in detail and mentally scroll through the “video” of tomorrow. The student must have a clock and a timer in front of his eyes, which would record the end of the planned period. It is useful to divide the work into segments of 15-20 minutes (in some cases – up to 7-10 minutes), between them to take a five-minute break, in which you can do anything.
It is impossible to do without external incentives and sanctions agreed with the child. For example, one fifth-grader agreed with his parents that in 45 days they would buy him an aquarium with fish that he had long dreamed of. The contract was drawn up in writing, and failure to fulfill its conditions delayed the fulfillment of the dream for another day. The zeal for studying has magically grown.
Workplace organization is very important. Everything you need should be within the reach of your hand, while a mobile phone and other gadgets are outside the work area. It has been experimentally proven that if the smartphone is within reach, even if it is turned off, the child solves math problems much worse compared to the situation when the smartphone is in another room.
Recommendations to parents of children on distance learning from the specialists of the Florida State University
First of all, it is necessary to preserve and maintain for yourself and the child the usual routine and rhythm of the day (sleep and wake time, start time of lessons, their duration, “breaks”, etc.). Abrupt changes in the daily routine can cause significant changes in the adaptive capabilities of the child and lead to excessive tension and stress.
It is important for parents and relatives of the child to try to maintain a calm, adequate and critical attitude to what is happening. The emotional state of a child directly depends on the state of adults.
The experience of parents from other countries shows that it will take some time to adapt to the self-isolation regime, and this is a normal process.
Act calmly, with restraint, do not avoid answering children’s questions about the virus, etc., but also do not immerse yourself in lengthy discussions of the pandemic situation and its risks. Don’t savor the details of “horrors” from the Internet!
Try to understand the recommendations that you receive from the school for organizing distance learning for children. Focus only on the official information that you receive from the class teacher and the school administration. The school also needs time to organize this process. Currently, many resources help both parents and teachers in distance learning. Many parents already use these platforms because they are meaningfully connected with educational programs.
Parents and relatives of schoolchildren can increase the attractiveness of distance lessons if they try to “master” some of them together with their child. For example, you can ask a child questions, participate in a discussion, and then the lesson will turn into an exciting, informative game lesson.
For a child, it is an opportunity to increase motivation, and for parents – to get to know and understand their children better.
During the forced stay at home, you and your child need to stay in contact with your close social environment (via phone, messenger), however, it is necessary to reduce the overall information flow received (news, feeds on social media). To be aware of current news, it is enough to choose one news source and visit it no more than 1-2 times a day (for example, in the morning – after morning chores, rituals, it is important to be alone for a while – and in the evening, but no later than 2 hours before bedtime), this will help reduce the level of anxiety. When communicating with your loved ones, try not to focus on topics related to the coronavirus and other topics that may cause stress.
To communicate with loved ones, advise the child to avoid social media overflowing with “information noise”, and sometimes misinformation. Choose one messenger yourself and try to transfer important communication there. It is better to avoid frequent visits to chats discussing the current situation in the world. It is enough to go there 1-2 times a day. Any chat in messengers can be set to silent mode and only entered if necessary.
It is necessary to provide for periods of independent activity of the child (it is not necessary to entertain and occupy him all the time) and joint affairs with an adult that have been postponed for a long time. The main idea is that staying at home is not a “punishment”, but a resource for mastering new skills, gaining knowledge, and for new interesting things.
While at home, the child can continue to communicate with the class, friends (calls, social media, group chats). Parents can suggest ideas for holding virtual contests (for example, positive memes, etc.) and other positive activities. You can invite teenagers to start their video blogs on a topic of interest.