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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Are online classes useful for learners?

 

Hi Prof,

I have two children aged four and six, and they are both enrolled for Zoom classes held by their school. However, I find little value in them because they keep getting distracted. It’s also very involving to be there with them throughout. I have a househelp, but she is semi-literate. Do you think withdrawing them from the lessons is the right thing to do?

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Answers

Teach your house help on how to use the gadgets available.

Mutinda Ndeto


Let the little ones be. I think withdrawing them from Zoom classes is the right way to go. They are very young and are bound to have a short concertation span.

Let them learn essential life skills and do a little homework to keep them going.

Joyce Nyingi


Zoom classes would only make sense for pre-teens and teenagers because they can sit down and pay attention. It’s also essential for them to have the courses for their sanity and your peace of mind as a parent, especially when you are away for work. Because if they are not in a class, it’s highly likely that they might be involved in deviant behaviour.

It’s never that serious. Let the little children play and enjoy their childhood.

Monica Nyambura

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Family Therapist


Covid-19 has impacted education on a global scale, and parents worldwide are grappling with a challenge like yours concerning online classes: How soon is too soon? How much is too much?

The concept of e-learning has assumed a new urgency and significance if only to keep learners active, preserve what has been learnt so far and to provide a sense of academic continuity. Positive engagement of the children mentally, academically, socially, spiritually and physically is vital in engendering protection, growth and health of the children.

Change interferes with autonomy and can make people feel that they have lost control over their territory. As a parent, you used to have your daily schedules which did not include supporting your children with virtual learning. You may also feel this is not your responsibility but that of teachers who have relevant training. Your sentiment that home schooling is involving is quite right, and you have to restructure yourself to accommodate the support of your children for extended amounts of time. You mention your house help is semi-illiterate, but you cannot afford to be sceptical about her support.

If you expand her capacity to handle virtual learning, she will provide the much-needed support for your children. A discussion with her about the developmental stage of your children and their limitations and age-related tasks they have to accomplish will help her to appreciate what is required of her.

Your children are in different learning stages and thus require different levels of support.

Developmentally, younger learners are erratic and easily distracted and would have to be supervised. Due to their limited mental maturity, children at age four and six have not mastered a stable attention span and hence require support to complete tasks and do them capably. You ask a critical question, “Is withdrawing the children from the lessons the viable option given the challenges?” Absolutely not. If you withdraw them, you will have shied away from confronting your challenges unwaveringly which include addressing the issue of unreliable internet, restructuring yourself to be there for your children more and capacity building yourself and your house help for improved support of your children.

Additionally, this is a ministerial directive, and hence your children would be left behind in learning no matter how unstructured it is, and they would definitely be affected. As an education stakeholder, appreciate that the ship of online learning has left the harbour and there is no going back to the traditional methods of learning.

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