Parents, we understand that you may not be as fully prepared for Distance Learning as you want to be! Some of you may have worries and doubts: “Can I really do this? How can I prepare my children for this?” Don’t worry, we’re here to give you a better understanding of this new learning setup and to ease some of your worries!
Distance learning is when the student is not physically present for a lesson. Due to the quarantine, education has moved to a set up where teacher-and-student communication is done via online platforms and home works are now in digital formats.
We asked some teachers to give parents a helping hand in navigating through distance learning! Teacher Trina Matignas, a Preschool Teacher in the field of Early Childhood Education and Teacher Ria Arana, a junior and senior high school teacher with a degree in Communication Arts and Speech Communication, share what you have to know!
2 Types of Distance Online Learning
This is when learning and activities are done at the same time and where students get immediate feedback. Such examples are live class meetings, video conferences on Zoom or Google Meet, online forums, or discussion boards.
Asynchronous learning is when the teacher provides materials for reading, lectures, and assignments through self-guided lesson modules, streaming of video content, posted lecture notes, etc. Students will have the ability to access and satisfy the requirements within a flexible time frame.
Kids this age learn through play so it is important for the teacher to include play-based and hands-on activities.
This will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities. During this age, kids take extra time to get used to this setup and may be a little overwhelmed. Be encouraging, and not forceful if he/she does not want to start yet. Observation is very important during this stage while making sure you are physically within reach.
Live sessions for this age group hone the language/communication skills of children as they are given enough time to speak up and also learn how to listen and understand what others have to say.
However, it’s important to note that the recommended daily screen time for kids (2-5 years old) is just one hour. Since young kids don’t have that sense of time yet, parents can be creative in how they impose that time limit.
Early literacy and math concepts can be introduced through stories, games, and songs. Movement is also encouraged as the teacher leads the class in music and movement and other exercises to promote the development of gross motor skills.
“Follow a routine similar to what we have in the typical classroom set-up like Snack Time in between live session and the asynchronous activities to give kids a break and practice self-help skills like eating independently, cleaning up, and going to the toilet just like what we do in (a physical) school.” – Teacher Trina Matignas
Study Tips for Ages 3-7:
- Online (live) sessions take a while to get used to so support your child’s learning by letting them ease into it!
- Have a desk and chair for him/her. Do not use the sofa or bed.
- Prepare what he/she will need for class each day.
- You may put up posters or visual aids such as schedules, rules, reminders, concepts like letters, and numbers much like in a classroom.
- Make sure that there are no other people except for the child and the designated adult during live sessions.
- Turn off devices that will not be needed for the lessons.
- Inform adults like relatives or helpers of the classes so the child can have no interruptions.
Schedules are divided into subjects like a typical classroom. Asynchronous activities are given to be completed at home.
Since most schools are starting in August, parents should prepare or acquire the device or gadget that their child will use. Ensure that your internet connection at home is stable and if a higher plan is needed, especially if they will be sharing the bandwidth with their kids. This largely depends on the institution if they will be providing the parents and students a course outline, competencies, references, grading system, and a schedule. Consider and review schedules and how it will affect the child’s learning.
Screen time for this age group is 4 hours at a maximum of digital media, gadget use, including live sessions/video conferences.
“With this whole new experience for them, it is natural for children to get overwhelmed with activities and assignments. We can help control procrastination by teaching them how to break big tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. Having them accomplish small things will encourage them to attend to the next tasks, and ultimately to finish the big task altogether.” – Teacher Ria Arana
Study Tips for Ages 7-12
- The basic set-up would be a desk and a comfortable chair.
- Provide everything your child needs within arms’ reach.
- A quiet space with no distractions.
- Provide a space where your child can list his assignments
- Require your child to post his/her schedule where you both can see it
- Encouraging posters on the wall.
- If there is a bed in the room, remind your child to do activities on his/her desk to avoid sleep.
Since children at this age group have the capability to learn independently, they may have live discussion boards, online forums, collaborative sessions, or breakout rooms.
This age group requires the least amount of supervision but still needs support and monitoring without a teacher around. They will have a mix of synchronous learning and asynchronous learning. Since children at this age group have the capability to learn independently, teachers might give them more asynchronous tasks.
At the start of the school year, let them share their thoughts about the new normal and open communication lines right from the start. Explain where there is a need for them to attend school even if it will be done in an unconventional way and take this opportunity to establish shared goals.
Students at this age group must learn how to be a responsible communicator as they use the internet to share and receive information. Additionally, children this age must also independently think of creative ways he/she can make learning enjoyable.
Study Tips for Ages 13 and Up
- Have a desk and a comfortable chair.
- Avoid distractions like gadgets.
- To have a breather or change of space, they may move to another space.
- Have schedule checks throughout the day (but not frequent).
- Remind them to do a Daily To-Do List.
- A visual schedule for their learning space that they can follow through.
“We have to listen more than we talk. In our attempt to help our children get motivated again, we must address the root of the problem. Ask before you talk, then address the situation based on the answers that you gather. Give your child time to rest, too.” – Teacher Ria Arana
What are some of your tips for distance learning?
- What Is Distance Learning? And Why Is It So Important?, March 2020
- Bri Stauffer, Online Learning vs. Distance Learning, April 2020
- “What are the Pros & Cons of Distance Learning?”, July 2014
- Distance learning pros and cons, January 2020
- TBS Staff, Synchronous Learning vs. Asynchronous Learning in Online Education, January 2018