Online courses keep kids quiet and slow. How can the situation be improved? – Online Khabar English News
Avishek has been attending online courses at a well-known school in Kathmandu for a year. For the eight-year-old, the first few days were fun because he enjoyed sitting in front of a computer like his older sister and taking lessons. But as the months went by, he stopped enjoying classes and began to feel the fatigue of spending so much time in front of the screen. Over time, he also found it quite difficult to understand what he was being taught, and that gave his parents cause for concern.
“He’s never been a smart student, but he’s not been that bad in the past,” says his mother. “Perhaps it is time to rethink how online education for children works.”
The government has asked schools to stay closed for a second year and teach online. They were also asked to take online tests as SEE candidates will be re-assessed based on their performance in their internal exams.
To ensure that children are not deprived of their right to education, the government is introducing a policy to help children learn through alternative means such as radio, television and online applications. However, psychologists say that online education has a negative impact on children, mainly due to one-way communication and their mental health.
The sound of silence
Prem Budhathoki from Jwagal studies in the second standard. His mother Sneha Tamang says she hardly ever sees the seven-year-old talking to his teachers. After realizing this, Tamang began to watch the class to see if only her child was not speaking. To her surprise, the whole class was silent while the teacher taught.
At first she felt that it might be a rule not to stop the teachers during class. But now she realizes that this is not a rule and believes teachers should encourage students to speak and ask questions that they want answers to.
“How can teachers expect seven-year-olds to understand without asking questions? I think schools need to rethink their online courses, ”says Tamang.
She says that her son has changed a lot over the past year. He was active and lively as he loved playing outside on his bike. But recently that has all changed.
“He just sits at home and watches TV or makes phone calls,” says Tamang.
This example proves psychologists right. Because children spend seven to eight hours of uninterrupted online classes with five to ten minutes between classes, they seem tired. Also, the fact that they couldn’t meet their friends in person made school boring for many as many parents complained that their child had become lazy.
Mental health effects
Psychologists say they received calls from parents asking them why their child doesn’t want to have conversations with others and doesn’t understand simple things that are taught in class. Many parents have even complained that their child is disinterested and unfocused.
Many schools have asked the children to listen to the teacher and only ask questions at the end of the lecture, also in writing on apps such as Zoom. Even homework needs to be sent online. According to psychologist Dr. Pushpa Adhikari negatively affects the child’s mental health.
“They ask the students to mute the microphone if it gets too loud, but if only the teacher is speaking things can get monotonous, which can be exhausting in the long run,” says Dr. Adhikari. “You really need to look at what can be done to curb this burnout in the students.”
Another reason students don’t speak to teachers is because they can now record everything the teacher teaches. Since they can also take screenshots of the notes, they have the feeling that they no longer need to talk to the teachers. Psychologists say that concentration problems are natural because it is difficult to stare at a screen eight hours a day, as children are inevitably distracted from the smallest of things when they are disinterested.
What can schools do?
Education experts and psychologists say schools need to change the way they conduct classes online, adding that classes need to be made more engaging. Dr. Adhikari says schools need to find a new way of integrating hands-on learning.
“You need to develop a new structure and a new curriculum,” she says.
Only if the curriculum is taught in a more creative and interesting way will children learn and have fun with it, she says, because the current structure only promotes a culture of attack.
“Personally, I think in a 40-minute class the teacher should teach 20 minutes and the rest of the time should be spent talking to the students about their day and their problems,” says Dr. Adhikari.
She also encourages teachers to give students more group work or team activities than homework in order to improve their teamwork skills.
Child psychologist Madhu Bishal Khanal says the government did not consider a child’s mental health in preparing the course structures. That coupled with online courses has drastically hampered children’s mental psyche, he says.
“Times have changed and with it we need to change educational practices. Children today are learning what children learned in the 90s, although many things have changed. We use technology, but we don’t know how to use it to reform education, ”says Khanal.