Snaresbrook resident and teacher Chris Pallet will be glad when schools (safely) reopen. Here, Mr Pallet, who is also chair of Redbridge Liberal Democrats, explains the biggest lesson he has learnt from lockdown
Life has changed for everyone since lockdown started. As a teacher in a local primary school, that is certainly true for me. Leaving the house every morning, ready to greet my class at 9am, has transformed into sitting down at my computer in my living room to upload lessons to an online classroom. I spend the rest of the day giving my children feedback and offering what encouragement I can via the chat function.
I have more time to spend in the garden, but I really miss seeing the children. And I don’t like the thought that I can’t (physically, at least) be there when my children need help with their work.
So, how has this switch to online learning impacted their education? On the plus side, the children that are able and motivated to engage with online learning are getting a crash course in IT that will serve them well in the future. Every day, they are writing emails, creating and editing documents, developing their typing skills and more.
As is always the case, those who are motivated to learn and well supported at home are doing okay.
On the negative side (and it is a huge negative), it is very hard to support those children who are not able to engage with online learning effectively. These are often the children who were already attaining below their potential. They are the ones who needed school the most in the first place, and they are the ones who are falling further behind now.
And, of course, all the children are missing their friends.
So, I will be glad when schools (safely) reopen. The lesson I will take with me from all of this is that some children will thrive in almost any situation because they have the motivation and the supportive home environment to succeed. But for some, school makes all the difference, and I (we) always need to remember that.
Like many who are working from home, I also have a child of my own to support. My advice to parents is, firstly, if possible, allocate a short amount of time every day (30 minutes can be enough) to sit with them. Secondly, read or watch the material set by their school or from elsewhere (BBC Bitesize, for example) and discuss it together. Get them to tell you what it means to them.
Talking is such a powerful part of learning. It allows children to practice using the right vocabulary and to develop their ideas about what it all means. Don’t worry too much about minor misunderstandings – they can be ironed out later.