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Online Tuition: The New Normal?

The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. For parents and children, remote working and home-based learning were part of the new norm to get used to. Physical tuition classes were suspended — and they are again, a year later — shifting a significant part of our children’s learning online.

But technology is not always easy to adapt to at the start. Despite Singapore’s efforts to go digital, or revamp into a ‘Smart Nation’, most of us had regarded advancing technologies like cashless payments and telecommuting services akin to a bonus to our lives, not a necessity.

But the reality now is that we need to digitalize more urgently than ever before. Even as we move forward from this pandemic, remote working and learning are trends that will stay.

As parents, you may worry about what this means for you and your children. Up till now, our kids were trained to learn in a physical setting, with a teacher standing at the front of the class. In situations like these when physical classes get suspended, how do we manage home-based learning?

The good news is — our children are digital natives. They were born into an era of the internet and can pick up new technologies with ease. As we transition into a new norm of home-based learning and remote working, we need to embrace and adapt to the coming changes, not resist them.

As a parent, you will likely be your child’s supervisor, mentor, and helpdesk all-in-one during their online classes — especially for the younger kids. You will be who they go to when they face connection issues or struggle with staying motivated. Preparing them for the online medium, now, includes preparing yourself.

So what can you do? A good start is to familiarize yourself with virtual seminars, workshops, and telecommuting. Model healthy digital habits for your children, and naturally, they will follow suit.

The adjustment process may be difficult, but that is okay. You will likely find that online learning is not quite as easy or effective for your child at first, but remember, as with all skills, this, too, takes practice.

Today’s technologies are designed with increasing sophistication and user-friendliness to best suit our needs. For example, students have many ways of communicating their needs on Zoom calls, from typing in the chat boxes, reacting with emojis, to speaking into the mic, depending on which they are most comfortable with.

Teachers can now also record their lessons for the students to revisit if they have forgotten any material or need a refresher. These features give us more resources and accessibility for a better learning experience.

Simply put, online learning can be effective — we just need to try and figure out how.

Frankly, I used to view online classes with skepticism too. But given the opportunities to attend various online programmes, I started to see their unique value.

For example, online classes and seminars save time! Less time spent travelling means more time for better things — like hanging out with the family, rest, and play. And of course, keeping your child and family safe is a top priority; and for now, that means staying at home as much as possible.

Funnily, twenty years ago, none of us would really have seen this digital age coming. And if you think about your child’s future, you will predict it would be filled with more and newer technology. Adapting to the digital medium is a skill they need to survive, and there is no better time to get them started than now.

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