Izzah has been teaching the PREP 2 PSLE Programme since 2017. She is based at Serangoon Learning Centre. In this article, Izzah shares some of the challenges she faced and the observations she made when her students returned to the learning centre in Phase 2 after the circuit breaker period.
“Welcome back!” Seeing their faces beaming with joy and excitement after almost 3 months of online lessons was definitely worth it. Ensuring learning outcomes were uncompromised, DAS adopted a phased approach with students having their national exams to return back to the centre first, P6 students attending PREP 2 PSLE programme were back to the centre in Week 2.
One thing was for sure, teaching will not be the same anymore, however, that does not stop us from providing the best for our students online and offline. Having several safe distancing measures in place has helped parents’ gain trust in sending their children back to the centre. With the implementation of safe entry, daily temperature taking and also ensuring a safe distance of 1m in class are some of the measures which have been put into place.
The immense help given by the P2P team to ensure Educational Therapists are given adequate resources to deliver online lessons has helped improve our lesson delivery and also to ensure that students understood concepts taught effectively through the use of online videos and quizzes. As the explanations given in the online videos were explicit and structured to aid understanding, students were able to think through carefully and have grasp concepts more quickly. The extensive range of online quizzes created by the team has been useful for teaching P2P in terms of providing students with a variety of ways to apply the concepts taught in class. As the programme is tailored in a structured and cumulative manner, the quizzes also served as an engaging way to review previously learned concepts. With materials prepared beforehand, the transition to face to face class was seamless as we were able to quickly adapt to the changes accordingly.
The resumption of face to face classes reduced the need to address any technical difficulties that students face which saved a significant amount of time. A student of mine mentioned that he prefers face to face classes because his classmates are punctual for lessons as compared to online lessons as they had to wait for each other to log in which could take up some time.
An interesting observation made was that some students were more engaged in face to face lessons while some performed better online. Some students preferred the interaction amongst their classmates while those who were reserved preferred to learn from the comfort of their home. The positive impact technology has had on some students is truly promising. It has made life easier for students to learn and also to provide an opportunity for them to learn to adapt to sudden changes in a short amount of time.
As students were physically present, it was also easier to check their work and guide them on the spot. Whereas, for online learning, it is sometimes difficult to assess whether they fully understand the concepts taught as some students have the tendency to switch off their cameras for various reasons.
”How do I highlight? How do I change the colour?, How do I underline?” These are the few responses I would get when doing annotation for Comprehension passages and questions online. However, when students were physically present in class, they were able to apply those skills taught much better as there wasn’t a need to guide them through the technical aspects and were much comfortable using their own stationeries.
Some challenges faced when students were back to the centre was to get them accustomed to writing. As most students completed their work online previously, there was a need to motivate students to complete written tasks. In components such as the Editing and Synthesis and Transformation, students were heavily dependent on autocorrect as it was readily available for them to use online. When they were back to physical classes, they were easily discouraged as they found themselves making a lot more mistakes. Although this dampened their spirits, they eventually realized that they learn better as they were more aware of their mistakes.
This experience has definitely widened my scope of teaching and also made me realize the effectiveness of technology in ensuring students remain engaged and enjoy learning at the same time.
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