by English Primary Teachers
The pandemic of COVID-19 has made people avoid or at least put face-to-face activities into minimum, including school activities. Many schools are closed temporarily and a new way of learning is applied – distance learning. Its application seems to be an alternative to keep education running.
Some may be wondering why not putting education to a halt for not all schools in Indonesia are ready with digital initiatives? This is best answered by a study by The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) in England. The study resulted in, during the pandemic, some children had lost the basic skills they had mastered in day care. For example, children who were toilet-trained, had regressed back to diapers again; and many had forgotten about the concept of numbers and vocabularies. In case of teenagers, some had fallen behind in math, struggled with literacy and concentration or lost physical fitness. Mental distress, eating disorders and self-harm are subsequent.
Having that in mind, despite the struggles, students must be given their right to receive good education, even during the pandemic. Distance learning is the reimagining of the educational process that maximizes available virtual classroom software to engage geographically-ranged students fully. There isn’t a single best method in its application. As a result, many schools in Indonesia apply various methods in providing distance learning. Metta School administers a concept of distance learning that combines the government’s policy with data collected from internal research studies.
The situation we are facing now is like assembling, and flying in that very airplane. Schools are providing education in a way they have never done before. Solid cooperation, strong commitment on the school vision and missions, as well as full support from all passengers and crew are needed so that the airplane could possibly take off and land safely in the destination.
Entering academic year 2020/2021, Metta School officially administers distance learning. School hour remains 5 days a week with adjusted active learning hour, preventing students from having excessive contact with computer screen. Teachers are suggested to teach from home to also help flatten the curve of covid-19 spread.
Does it work? Well, there surely are things to improve, yet we are on the right track. The main challenge in applying distance learning could be attracting and maintaining students’ interest, as well as keeping their attention span. Teachers make a number of innovations in their teaching by creating various teaching aids, such as interactive PowerPoint presentation, learning video, engaging activities during meetings, games and so on to avoid being flat and monotonous.