Ever since the pandemic started, the whole world has changed and it will be difficult for the human society to go back to the normal lifestyle during pre-pandemic. With people staying at home, losing their jobs or having low incomes, it has not only affected adults but also children.
Despite that online learning has been going on for a long time, it exploded during the pandemic. Due to children not going to school, teachers sought alternative online methods of continuing education as much as possible such as using Google Classroom, Zoom and Whatsapp. However, online learning requires the use of electronic devices such as a phone or laptop and an internet connection. Apart from that, a lot of online courses taken up by adults require payment.
Online learning is flexible because the student can go online whenever the person is free and learn the subject. Also, the teacher can have more time to prepare the lesson plans and exercises for the student. But because of the continued low income due to the pandemic, there has been a lot of education gap between students. Also due to the stress and uncertainty of life from the pandemic, many people have experienced depression.
Anna Johnson, a professor pf psychology at Georgetown University has commented on the difficulties teachers have to solve post-pandemic.
“These low-income kids are also more likely to have unreliable internet access,” she said. “Some of them don’t have devices beyond a parent’s smartphone, which makes connecting to teachers and classmates for learning nearly impossible.”
Of course there are other platforms such as YouTube where some people upload videos explaining different topics for free. However, one may watch the videos but doesn’t have the chance to test the ability of retaining the knowledge. On the other hand, the traditional method of learning especially since the 19th century involves students divided due to age or class, having a standardized curriculum and regular methods of testing knowledge (class works, assignments, projects, examinations).
Although online learning has also been included in learning subjects, it can’t totally replace traditional learning. But then how can children especially those from low income families or those going through emotional stress due to the pandemic be helped. Teachers can’t be expected to solve all the pandemic related problems for their students, but they can try to provide more support to them.
After parents, teachers have the most day-to-day interaction with children. Teachers can offer emotional support during and after the pandemic. As a teacher, you can try to reach out to the children and encourage them to be positive despite the difficulties in the world. Teachers can also engage students in suitable activities according to their situation and learning style. If teachers put extra efforts to help their students, it can make the situation easier for the children so that they can make progress.