The initial surge of excitement over online classes has long subsided and students are now faced with the reality of dealing with them on a daily basis. As an immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, classrooms have given way to virtual media.
Some students have been able to deal with this change while for most, it has been a difficult phase. Catching up with friends, live interactions, and hang-outs in the school premises has been replaced with hours of being seated in front of a screen. This has led to an increased need for counselling services to help children cope with online mode of learning.
Therapists report that students are increasingly facing concentration difficulties, restlessness, and lack of academic interest; all of which has been interfering with their school performance. The students are left feeling frustrated and anxious about the whole experience. A 9th grade student had reported of feeling ignored by her teachers and peers and this had led to a big drop in her academic interest. She has also been feeling lonely and has been missing the face to face communication with her friends.
Though there is hope of schools reopening in the coming months, the unpredictable nature of the pandemic does not offer a clear picture of when and how the classes will resume. Hence it is necessary to make good use of the time left to ensure that online learning occurs smoothly.
The following are some recommendations for students to enjoy their online learning experience:
Prepare a schedule: Create an hourly planner for each day and include academic as well as fun activities. This helps to deal with procrastination and gives a sense of accomplishment when at the end of the day the schedule is reviewed.
Create a study space: Have a dedicated study space and make it clutter and distraction free. If required, use headphones.
Take notes: For us to be active and stay engaged with the online teaching, note making is a useful tool. This also enhances comprehension of the subject matter.
Eliminate distractions: Some amount of self-control is necessary for us to minimize the distractions around us. It can be highly tempting to multi-task by having multiple screens in front of you; but at the same time it comes in the way of focus and retention of concepts taught. Hence in our minds, it helps if we can transport ourselves to the real-life classroom mode while the digital class is going on.
Fitness breaks: Incorporate physical activity, exercise, and yoga in your breaks. Simple activities like jumping jacks, spot jogging helps release the excess energy within us and charges us up for the next activity in our schedule.
Interact with classmates through video-chat: Forming a small group of classmates and interacting with them twice a week through video chats would help meet the social needs as well as stay motivated. Group study can also be planned for some if it helps in learning concepts better.
Adopt a positive mind set: Though online classes are challenging, viewing it positively would help cope better. This online experience is helping us learn at our own pace and there are less distractions comparatively. Prepare flashcards of inspirational quotes to stay motivated through the day.
Most importantly, teachers and parents need to encourage the children to reach out to them to address their difficulties. Being patient with them and acknowledging their feelings would go a long way to help them deal with challenges that come their way.
The above article is written by Dr. Nisha Vidyasagar, Clinical Psychologist at UBHC, Chennai.