Whether it is a conscious decision we made or a temporary solution due to Covid-19 restrictions, this past year everybody has had some experience of an online class in one way or another. Even before the pandemic, however, more and more people were choosing online education for their children after realizing its great potential and amazing benefits especially in language learning.
When it comes to something that is in nature both traditional and innovative like online group learning, a lot of parents, students and teachers alike need some guidance in order to understand its intricacies and potential.
So what should you expect from an online group class for kids? And what should you always remember? We have gathered a few facts and tips that will ease parents’ and students’ transition to an online group class.
Group VS Private
An online group class can never be or look like a private class. The teacher cannot be the only one interacting with students individually. In an online group class, students need to interact with each other, learn from each other’s mistakes and strong points and communicate with each other in order to achieve all the communicative benefits that this type of class can offer.
Seeing is believing
If the teacher cannot see you, they cannot teach you. Children can be shy and can feel embarrassed or awkward the first couple of times in an online group class. Just like they would feel on their first day of school. The difference is that they would not hide their faces or voices from their teacher and classmates on the first day of school. And this is still the case in an online group class. A teacher who is miles away from a student relies on the camera and microphone to be able to understand if the student is paying attention, if the student understands, if the student feels happy or is upset. An online group class must never look like a lecture. Teachers need to see and hear students and vice versa. If you think about it it is not that different from a conventional classroom; and in a conventional classroom you would never teach somebody you cannot see or hear.
Rules & Boundaries
An online group class has rules just like a conventional classroom does. Would a parent ever allow their child to eat during school? Would they ever let them leave earlier for no serious reason? Would a parent ever accept the idea of their child playing with their toys while doing maths or history at school? Probably not. The same rules should apply in an online group class if we want it to actually contribute to our child’s education and learning.
The importance of space and time
Young children are distracted easily, which is a very normal stage in their development. However, to keep distractions to a minimum, an online group class requires a quiet learning environment so that the student can focus on their class and nothing else. No parent would ever think that is normal for their child to have a class in the middle of the sitting room while the rest of the family is watching TV, talking or doing chores. The same applies to an online group class. A child needs their own space, they need to be sitting at a desk, have their headphones on to be ready to take advantage of the full potential of an online class and also to have fun with their online friends and teachers.
We learn better together and we learn best while having fun
If all the technicalities have been solved and students are in a comfortable and distraction-free environment, the communicative benefits of an online group class are countless. In a group class, students have the chance to have fun with the language, playing games that will help them process new knowledge and practise with the oral aspects of the language while having an absolute blast with their classmates. This creates a pleasant environment that boosts progress, motivation and actually helps students like their lessons and encourages them to keep going.
Real teams work best…
The most successful online group classes are quite close-knit in nature. Online group classes usually consist of fewer students than conventional classes do. This gives the chance to teachers, students and parents to form an even closer bond that contributes tremendously to a child’s progress. Group chats between the teacher and parents help parents stay constantly informed about the progress of the class and also give them the chance to interact with other parents, give feedback, exchange ideas, give advice to one another. This bond and communication creates a pleasant atmosphere, a group class that is a safe space for everybody involved and also helps deal with issues that come up right away.
There are no secret recipes in online education and online group learning. Children rarely listen to what their parents say but they always imitate them. So, the key is to take online learning as seriously as you would take any other school that your child would attend. Once you do so, we guarantee that your child will follow and that online learning will be one of the best learning experiences of their life.