Online learning the new normal and a sign of the future

Li Xinran
Nearly 85,000 primary and secondary school students in Jiading have now become accustomed to the online classes, which could represent the development for the next decade.
Li Xinran
Online learning the new normal and a sign of the future
Wang Anqi / Ti Gong

A PE lesson is recorded for primary school students throughout Shanghai by Shanghai Jiading Education College Affiliated School and Jiading convergence media center.

The novel coronavirus outbreak forced students and teachers to move online. Nearly 85,000 primary and secondary school students in Jiading have now become accustomed to the “new normal,” which could represent the development for the next decade.

After the opening of online classes, teachers and parents helped students work out their own schedule and inspired their interests in learning while ensuring the quality of teaching.

On a recent Friday afternoon, a grade-8 student Zhang Xiaoyu at Shanghai Jiayi Joint High School in Jiading finished the class of the day at home. After a short break, she started doing the homework.

Affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the progress of this semester is slower than previous years. However, the examinations will not be postponed.

The fast pace was the first feeling Zhang got from the online class. The original 40-minute course is compressed to half an hour, which means students need to be highly focused.

Not only students, but also teachers needed to gradually adapt to the rhythm of online teaching.

Lin Yajuan, a psychology teacher at Anting High School, once gave a speech to students in a live class.

“The online class is not to simply move the classroom online. The change of learning mode will not replace the original meaning of learning, and more importantly, learning to use the Internet means developing good learning habits, so as to develop a strong mindset,” said Lin.

Zhang’s father agreed. When the online class began, he made a schedule for Zhang, which listed the daily learning tasks in detail.

In addition to the homework, there were “extra meals” — including practicing English listening, reciting classical Chinese poems and the online classes from other institutions.

He said that the online class just moved from offline to online so the nature of learning has not changed, but brings more opportunities for children to learn and arrange their time.

Whether online or offline, the health of students is never ignored. In every day’s schedule, there will be physical or eye exercises between classes.

The schedule of each grade also fully considers the physical and mental development and learning customs of students of different ages.

Some schools have also added videos recorded by full-time psychological teachers to push a psychological class every week to help students deal with various emotions generated during the epidemic.

For physical education, which focuses on interaction and practice, teachers prepared lessons carefully.

“How to develop home-based exercise and combine them with curriculum standards and teaching requirements is the major task for us,” said Li Wenfeng, a physical education teacher of Shanghai Jiading Education College Affiliated School.

Online physical education also has to take students’ interests into account. Zhao Jiangyan, a physical education teacher at Fangtai Primary School, teaches students “how to make a shuttlecock” in a course on kicking shuttlecock.

Information technology provides a new way for teaching. Many teachers use animation clips and short videos.

“It is important to inspire their interests in learning,” Zhao said.

In order to deal with the inconvenience caused by the epidemic, the introduction of online classes has undoubtedly pushed the “fast forward” button for online education. For this reason, Jiading’s education department has also made sufficient preparations.

As early as the first day of the Spring Festival, the district education bureau realized that it was a “battle to overcome difficulties” and the beginning of the new semester was undoubtedly to be delayed.

Hence, the education bureau produced two-week online classes to help students consolidate and maintain a good learning state over the long winter vacation. More than 500 teachers in Jiading participated in the project.

“Although it is a special way of teaching during the epidemic, online education is definitely a future direction of development.”

Zhu Yu, deputy director of Jiading education bureau, said the online courses are particularly good for the growth and promotion of young teachers.

“Teachers who participated in online teaching are constantly improving their teaching in the course of repeated grinding, which will drive the improvement of the overall teaching level in the district,” Zhu said.

Online learning the new normal and a sign of the future
Wang Anqi / Ti Gong

Mao Weicheng, a grade-4 pupil at Jiading Shanghai Luwan No. 1 Central Experimental Primary School, is doing homework under the guidance of his mom after taking the online courses.

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