The British Experimental Academy of Pingxiang (BEAP) have shared with Juniper Education their experience in virtual schooling during lockdown in China. They have outlined useful tips for teachers and parents, drawn from personal experience (translated by Juniper China Educational Links Team).
Varied and Interesting Activities
Our teachers have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a topic and developed a series of subject activities, turning the crisis into an educational opportunity. For example:
Literacy (Chinese Language)
Students are guided by teachers to research COVID-19 and also teach them about love and gratitude for those who helped others in need. Students can choose from a variety of mediums to share their findings about COVID-19 and preventive measures. For example; making posters, speech presentations, recording a song or mini play and interviewing family and friends about the topic.
MFL (English Language)
Teachers help students to understand the global pandemic and learn vocabulary related to the topic. Students choose from a variety of mediums to share their findings about current events. This can be for example; making posters, PowerPoint presentations and recording a speech or a mini play.
Observing the pandemic from a mathematical perspective and looking at the data around suspected cases, confirmed cases and cured cases. Students can apply their mathematical skills through data recording and analysis.
(BEAP pics: Chinese posters made by students)
Practical Enrichment Activities
Virtual Sports Challenge
We have arranged various sports challenges such as rope skipping and ball bouncing to motivate students to exercise and keep healthy. They practise daily and display their scores in the virtual study group to win prizes. Teachers have also been running a “Daily Sports Show” for students to follow. Each day there will be a different student to lead the exercises in the virtual schooling group.
To develop student’s life skills, we have set housework tasks every week, such as dish washing, house cleaning and cooking.
Parent-child Bonding Activities:
Every week we send parents a variety of activity ideas for them to interact with their children, such as parent-child sports, parent-child crafts and parent-child science experiments.
(BEAP pics: parent-child bonding activities)
Positive mental health helps students to overcome the challenges during these unprecedented times and ensure effective learning. The counsellors in our school group have actively offered a range of support via a mental health helpline and online counselling. They’re posting a series of articles and audio clips on the school’s WeChat platform to help students and parents to face the situation with positivity, ease negative emotions, and promote both mental and physical health.
Tips For Parents
- How to ensure their child follows their teachers’ plans to participate in learning activities and complete tasks on time?
- How effective is the learning?
- How could the parents cooperate to ensure better learning?
Here are some of our advice for BEAP parents.
Get the Equipment Ready for Online Classes
Parents can login to the virtual classroom 15 minutes earlier to check the devices are working properly (the teacher will also login earlier to interact). If using a computer, it is recommended to switch on child-safety mode or install parent control software in advance, to clear pop-up ads and unsuitable content.
Get the Environment Ready for Online Classes
Set an alarm reminder 15 minutes before the lesson. Help children get their stationery and books ready, create a separate space for learning and not allow distractions. A quiet environment is important so children can clearly hear their teacher talking online, without being interrupted or distracted.
Build a Sense of Formality and Regularity for Online Classes
Children should dress up for online classes, not be in pyjamas feeling half-asleep. When children dress properly for their lessons, they feel more motivated and more willing to interact with their teacher and peers during live video links. Parents can work with their children to make a study timetable, set up rules, rewards and sanctions to build formality during online classes.
Assist the Children During Online Classes
Parents can support their children when they’re in need by being on standby during online classes. Online classes are new to most children, they may encounter problems such as computer technical issues, not understanding certain instructions or unable to solve a task. Parents may step in to calm their children down and encourage them to continue the class. Parents should not display any negativity when problems arise and should help their children stay positive.
Maintain Good Learning Habits
We suggest parents help their children maintain good learning habits as they would have done in school, such as preview before lesson, taking notes during lesson, after class consolidation and revision etc. During this special period of home schooling, revision is more important. Parents are advised to assist their children with daily revision. Study notes are also highly important to reflect the true status of children’s learning.
It has been over two months of virtual schooling for BEAP. We temporarily closed school to save lives, but the teaching and learning continued.