Learning from home is not always easy, especially when there is no teacher to monitor a student’s performance or when students are not disciplined enough to carry out their class work. In the coming weeks parents will need to do more and take up the role of monitors. This poses another problem in this adjustment, however, as not every parent is equipped to do so. On today’s Ask the Experts, Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, explained what can be done under these circumstances.
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: “We all have extended families or everybody knows somebody else so what I would advise those parents who are unable to support their students to get family members ,of course in a safe setting, to support their children and as I said they can communicate with the teachers and say you know ma’am I can’t read myself. There’s no shame in that you have to be honest and maybe the teacher can advise them what they can do maybe they can help to guide a family member who may be able to support that child or those children.”
Cecilia Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer: “And you don’t even have to limit it to juts those ones who are unable to read. When you think about the curriculum for the upper division of primary school standard five and six the content that is outline in standard five and six take math for example might be content that a parent at home is unable to interpret and analyze to help students so that is fair and when that is the case those parents need to make sure their teachers know “Look I can’t help my child with this content, I can supervise, I can set up the structure, I can have a schedule at home so my child is doing work from this time to this time, I can make sure that my child completes it but in terms of the content I can’t check that part because I don’t know that part.” So there has to be that open communication between the parent and the teacher so that the teacher knows how to respond because the teacher will be unable to respond if the teacher doesn’t know and parents need to be mindful of that.”
Another important advice from the Ministry of Education is to create routines for children in an effort to mirror the traditional classroom setting. Cecelia Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer, explained gave some tips on how this could be done.
Cecilia Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer: “When children are in school they’re generally accustomed to a particular schedule for their class so they get in at a certain point in the classroom and then they do a certain activity and then they go into the first subject then the next subject and so on. So there’s a schedule and children generally understand what it is they will do on Mondays, on Tuesdays and so on. So in this instance where they are going to be learning at home the same sort of thing has to happen. It doesn’t have to replicate the exact schedule that is at school but the matter of a schedule, a routine that they understand when I get up this is what I do first then I do second and so on, it helps them to get into a routine that would be good for them in terms of their expectations for what it is they need to learn each day.
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: “Okay so for example we would also advise parents to develop a time table or a plan of action along with your student. Anything you do do it with their involvement so that they feel included and they will own it and participate more. So for example you may have a schedule where you allow your child to wake up at 8am they get up, they shower, they take a bath and they brush their teeth, they have breakfast and then maybe classes begin at 9am and depending on the age of your child if your child is five or younger or a little bit older their classes should not exceed about twenty to twenty five minutes. If they’re a little bit older they can go a bit longer but whatever you do or whatever structure you create involve your child and ensure that they get breaks. Please don’t have them sitting down all morning or all afternoon they must get breaks. Encourage them to walk, do some exercises, share what the expectations are so that they know fully in advance.”
In a recent press conference with the Ministry of Education teachers were notified that they should be going to school to prepare for when classes resume on October 6. Deputy CEO Cecilia Smith stressed on the importance of preparation and training for teachers in the next few weeks.
Cecilia Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer: “Right now the teachers are at school and they’re preparing whatever learning packages they need to send home to you so that when September 7th comes the parents will be able to through whatever means the school instructs them to or informs them about to collect the learning packages and they will do so and have their students work on it for a week or two weeks or however long that first installment is prepared for. They work at that at home and then they make sure through the mechanism that the school decides they return the information back to the school so that is what should be happening right now in terms of the teacher’s preparations so that they’re ready for startup on September 7th. This continues for the entire month of September for preschools and primary schools. Closer on to the end of that period as the Ministry continues to monitor the situation at school they will then make sure that parents and schools are duly notified about what happens after the end of September and so that’s basically what we expect all of our primary schools and pre schools should be doing now in preparation for this new type of start up , this new school reopening mechanism that we have set up in place to engage our students.”