As we enter another week of home schooling and online lessons, Year Eleven and Year Thirteen continue to plough on in uncertainty, not quite sure of exactly what they are now working towards. We know that examinations are definitely being replaced by teacher assessments, but we are still not sure what the requirements/deadlines for this will be. Many students understandably are feeling unmotivated and lost right now, as well as exhausted by the onslaught of online learning.
So what can they do? Unfortunately, I do not have any magical solutions on this one, but here are a few suggestions that may help:
Tackle the Online Learning Fatigue
Being sat at a computer screen for so many hours a day is exhausting. We are not meant to learn in this way for extended periods of time, so it is no surprise that teachers and students feel so tired at the end of the day. It is really important for students to understand that they are asking more of their bodies and minds at the moment, and thus they need to adapt their behaviour accordingly. Taking regular breaks is so important, as is getting fresh air between sessions. Even if this is standing in the garden for two minutes between classes, it will help. Students also need to ensure that they are eating and drinking enough to help them stay focused.
Another tip for online learning fatigue is to look at how your child is actually engaging with the sessions. It may seem counterintuitive, but actually the more a student actively engages in an online learning session, the less tired they will feel at the end. Rather than staring at the screen aimlessly, they will be focused on their learning and their brain is less likely to switch off. So encourage your child to participate in online learning sessions as much as possible.
With examinations now not taking place, your child’s initial response may be to question what the point is now. However, this is clearly not the case, since they will be assessed by teachers, and there is still likely to be a series of internal assessments to help teachers do this. Students need to remind themselves of the grades they are hoping to/need to achieve in order to progress to further education/employment. It is more important than ever for students to have clear goals to work towards, and to understand what they need to do in the next few months to make these a reality.
Reread past essays and assignments
One of the best tools that your child has right now in order to help them formulate a plan is feedback from teachers and past assignments. They need to be going through these, and identifying for themselves the key areas for development. Even though they do not have examinations to revise for, they will have to revise for mocks and internal assessments, so they need to have a plan in order to do this. There are still several months until teachers will be submitting grades to the exam boards, and teachers will want to give their students as many opportunities as possible to show what they are capable of. Thus, it is even more important than ever not to waste this time.
Talk to your teacher
They may not be available in person right now, but your teachers will be doing all they can to support your child. If your child is not understanding topics covered in online lessons, or perhaps has a topic that they are concerned about, it is vital to raise these concerns with the teacher as soon as possible. They will not have given up on your child or written them off, they will want to do everything in their power to get them a grade that reflects their true potential. So do not be afraid to reach out to them.
Find your online support community
Everyone needs support in these tough times, so make sure your child has people around him/her to talk to. This could be a Whatsapp group with their school friends, or an online study forum such as The Student Room. Having other people going through the same process of uncertainty right now will help your child stay focused and motivated.
Moderate news intake
Be careful about how much news your child is being exposed to. Whilst we want them to be engaged in current affairs, watching/reading the news can feel like being bombarded with negativity right now. The situation around the GCSE and A Levels is still very uncertain, and many people are still conjecturing about what will happen. Taking in too many news stories could give your child false hope/expectations, and is likely to be more of a distraction right now than a help.
If you are looking for further secondary English support for your child, Bright Sky Tutoring offers one to one and small group tuition. To find out more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.