COVID-19 has significantly disrupted school education to the extent that it will leave a vacuum in the learning outcome that I call the learning gap. Every year, students are expected to achieve certain milestones in learning and achieve certain learning objectives as part of the curriculum.
In other words, students are expected to be at a certain level and acquire certain knowledge during the academic year.With the system disrupted during the pandemic, many students will fall short of meeting the required outcome.
The 2019 – 2020 academic year that ended around May and June across the country was a handicapped system.
- Online classes were launched without much preparation and planning.
- School contents were not online friendly, and often, students were just following instructions without knowing what was going on.
- Many schools only engaged students for less than 30%, and the remaining were focused on assignments and self-learning activities.
- Elementary students found it extremely challenging to cope with the online system.
- The technology was also not supportive in many cases, as schools were using what was available. Many of which were not tailored for school education
Many ISD’s offered students a hybrid solution at the start of the September 2020 academic year. While a lot of planning and effort was made to make the online learning experience better, it still seems to fall short.
- Online classes work best with smaller groups, and classes with more than 20 to 30 students will have challenges.
- Many students who are not self-learners and not motivated like others will find it difficult to cope with the online system.
- For younger kids, online classes need extra support from parents that are often not available.
- Online classes without interaction and extracurricular activities are bound to leave children with learning fatigue.
- Students do not get proper attention and are often found distracted in online classes.
- The hybrid system makes it more challenging for the teachers as now they have to focus on students in the classroom as well as the ones who are online.
These 8 to 12 months of COVID learning will have an impact on the expected learning outcome of students. There will be a gap from where a child’s learning should be and where it is in the current situation. I call this the learning gap. While this gap can be bridged over a period of time by providing additional support and learning opportunities, this is a long-term intervention that requires dedicated time and commitment from school administrators.
What parents should think at this point is whether they should wait for the situation to change and life to be back to normal toexplore alternate options to bridge the learning hap. How can this be done?
Offering additional tutoring support for children is an option that can be explored. While many tutoring services charge an exorbitant amount of money, there are online providers that can be less expensive. Providing tutoring for all the subjects might not be an easy option, but parents can initially focus on key subjects like math and science.
How Can Additional Tutoring Help You Bridge the Learning Gap?
- Most (good) tutoring services do an initial assessment of the child and tailor lesson plans based on that.
- After the initial assessment, lesson plans are built around the desired outcome, and timelines are created. Students would go through multiple series of achievement levels as they progress through the class. This gives parents accurate information on the child’s level of knowledge.
- One-to-one tutoring provides undivided attention for the child that is critical for success in the online classroom.
- Tutoring services are to be used for supplemental learning, as it supports reinforced learning for the lessons covered in class.
- Since the lessons are one to one, it can be tailored for child-specific learning (unlike the online classes in school)
Smartlabz is an online tutoring solution providing services to students from kindergarten to grade 12. Smarlabz is affordable, and one can often find coupons that bring down the hourly rate to less than $20. They also offer tutoring by international tutors as well as American tutors.
Supported by a corporation involved in higher education, they have supported the needs of hundreds of students and parents during the COVID time.