If you’re a little anxious about assisting your children as they embark on eLearning - often juggling your work obligations at the same time - you’re in good (virtual) company. We connected with Yuna Huang, a former Mulgrave parent and staff member who now lives in Shanghai, about her family's experiences during China's response to the pandemic. She shared a few lessons gleaned from her daughters’ transition to eLearning at Shanghai American School. Norah is in Grade 5 and Alyssa (who sometimes opts to learn in a tent!) is in Grade 2.
“The biggest challenge for them was the social-emotional aspect of isolation. But, the best part was witnessing the pure happiness my daughters felt when they were finally able to reunite with peers they hadn’t seen in seven weeks! In many ways, eLearning has helped improve their state of mind by giving them a sense of connection, even if only virtually.”
When reflecting on her own hurdles, Yuna says that parents need to accept that with eLearning, technology is not necessarily a distraction, but an essential learning tool.
Parents of younger students are also now more actively involved in the learning process which can be challenging if you are working. Yuna's number one tip is to create a family schedule. “It was hard for me at the beginning to manage both my and my girls’ time, and they struggled when I wasn’t able to help. The key is to be available, but also nurture responsibility by giving them space to solve problems on their own first.”
As the classroom increasingly merges with the family home, it is important to remember that while the instructional mediums and techniques may change, the end goal of enhancing learning remains, and goes far beyond academics. “It’s a time to teach children about compassion, empathy, resilience, and perseverance in the face of change, as well as the value of relationships. These are the things that truly move us forward...these, and strong Wi-Fi!” adds Yuna.
The ‘new normal’ of this public health emergency, coupled with physical distancing, has rapidly changed how we live, work and learn. But one of the biggest comforts comes from witnessing our worldwide community continuing to collaborate, improvise, adapt, and thus overcome.