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9 Important Lessons We’ve Learned About eLearning in Dubai

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9 Important Lessons We’ve Learned About eLearning in Dubai

The COVID-19 lockdowns turned the world of education upside down. In the beginning, very few families and students had had any previous experience with remote learning.  All went on a very steep learning curve.

Now those lockdowns are hopefully well behind us, we can hope we never have quite the same experience again. However, we shouldn’t forget the lessons we’ve learned about elearning. 

Being prepared for different eventualities is wise. Schools have excellent plans in place for keeping the curriculum going no matter what. This is how many Dubai schools were able to set up remote learning platforms so quickly in 2020, like GEMS elearning, for instance.

So, should there be a temporary closure – say, for storm damage or a power outage – you may need to dust down what you remember about elearning for another few days of homeschool. Let’s reflect on what we know about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to homeschooling. 

1.    A designated study space is ideal

Pupils settle best to elearning when they have a dedicated space. This doesn’t need to be a purpose-designed room like a study and you don’t need to recreate a classroom. The space just needs to follow these simple principles as much as possible.

Set up a comfortable working area in a quiet place in the home where there are few distractions. The space should be separated from where they like to relax or play so bedrooms and playrooms are not ideal. Working on a sofa or armchair isn’t ideal, either. 

Depending on their age, your child might need adult assistance from time to time so try to make sure you are not too far away. They should have all their stationery and equipment on hand. A good WiFi connection is a must, too. 

2.    Keeping a check on teacher-pupil communications is helpful

Schools understand that parents are often busy working themselves at times of school closure. They also want pupils to learn to be as self-sufficient as possible. However, keeping a regular check on your child’s communications with teachers is a good idea.

This proactive step will minimise the chance for misunderstandings to develop. It’ll help keep your child on track with their learning and make sure they haven’t missed out on crucial information.  

3.    A routine is a must

Following a routine with regular breaks is the best way to keep everyone sane. If your child’s school is teaching through live online lessons, you’ll find that the day is structured for you. If learning is more independent, then agree and plan some breaks with your child. 

Try to prevent schoolwork from spilling over past the end of a normal school day so that your child has time for their interests and hobbies. Aiming for a good balance of work and play is important.      

At break times. encourage your child to move away from their desk so they can take a proper rest. A drink and a snack may help them focus better when they get back to work. 

4.    Taking an active role really helps

One of the most important aspects of education that children can miss out on while learning from home is interacting with their peers. Group activities are an integral part of education. While hopefully your child will be getting an opportunity for some discussion with their peers online, you can really help in this area, too.

Talk to your child about what they are learning. Give them a chance to articulate their ideas and new knowledge or let them demonstrate a new skill to you. This really helps consolidate their learning. 

5.    Getting out for exercise is essential

Exercise is really important for mental and physical health. Regular exercise aids children’s focus, which is just one of the reasons they are given regular opportunities throughout the school day to get up and move. Making exercise a priority during home learning will help the day go much more smoothly for everyone. 

6.    Taking a regular screen break is wise

With elearning, looking at a screen is inevitably a big part of the school day. Good teachers will recognise the need for children to have regular breaks from the screen, however. Try to make sure that these breaks are taken. 

Encourage children to do something non-screen-based during their breaks so that screen fatigue doesn’t set in. This way, they’ll focus better during their lessons. Spending time outside is ideal, if possible. This is because outdoor activities and reduced screen time is beneficial for preventing childhood myopia as well as improving their physical fitness. 

7.    Personalisation is a good thing

Part of a teacher’s job is to encourage children to talk, share and make links between classroom learning and their own experiences. Learning online makes this a little bit harder but is something parents can definitely help with. 

If appropriate and if you have time, it is so beneficial to make lessons come alive with resources you have at home. It is amazing how many STEM lessons can make use of Legos and other engineering toys. Stuffed animals and other toys can be great for storytelling activities. Plus, relating activities to experiences you’ve had as a family, like zoo trips and travels abroad, or books you’ve read together, is also really helpful. 

8.    It’s important to be mindful of stress and worry  

Children can find changes from their usual routine unsettling and stressful. If you have concerns about your child’s mental health during periods away from school, be sure to let their teacher know. Your child’s state of mind may affect their engagement with their learning. Keep lines of communication open. 

9.    Socializing is important, too

Alongside academic teaching, your child’s school would usually be providing input into your child’s social development. Without their peers to play with, your child is missing out at home. Therefore, provide opportunities for them to stay in touch with friends. This will help keep their morale up.

Online learning at home is not an easy juggle. However, these tips and tricks, along with excellent input from your Dubai school, will help you and your child through these tricky times.