Face-to-face interaction and fun activities — such as games, music and show-and-tell — are important to help young children pick up skills, and are even more so when it comes to the learning of subjects like Chinese language.
But what happens when the face-to-face teaching process is abruptly disrupted and lessons have to move to online platforms?
This was the problem that two Chinese language teachers at Safari House Preschool (Dover) faced when it was closed for two months during the circuit breaker.
Despite their initial anxieties, Ms Chen Chaoli (above, in purple), 45, and Ms Ma Ling (above, in pink), 44, knew that they had to be nimble in adapting their teaching methods, so that their lessons for more than 60 nursery and kindergarten students would not get disrupted.
Ms Chen says: “We wanted to ensure that the children were able to continue learning, so we took up the challenge to develop new skills to engage them virtually.”
WORKING THROUGH THE CHALLENGES
In order to conduct lessons online, Ms Chen and Ms Ma used Google Classroom, a web service that facilitates video lessons, to create fun videos and learning materials. In this way, the teachers were able to engage with students through themed lessons and check their work.
Some challenges of conducting virtual lessons included not receiving spontaneous feedback from students and controlling the order of the class. They also had to fine-tune their homebased learning strategy to make content relevant and interesting, and include a flexible format for busy parents who want to work with their children.
Since the pre-school reopened in early June, Ms Chen and Ms Ma have stepped up efforts to foster a safer learning environment, as well as to continue teaching the children good life-long habits such as hygiene and caring for others.
Ms Ma adds: “We are also taking the opportunity to cultivate the right values among children such as respect, showing kindness towards friends and personal responsibility, which are also in line with our school’s values.”