How to Overcome the Challenges of Distance Learning in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Distance learning is now becoming a new instructional approach for many teaching practitioners. This current crisis has made it necessary in order to meet students' learning needs. It is not easy to make a seamless transition from the traditional face-to-face teaching to home schooling during such urgent and pressing conditions.
The role of the teachers in this new era of remote educational settings is more important than ever before playing vital roles in the lives of their students. They are now called to:
1) Mentor and encourage students to enjoy learning at home
2) Communicate and scaffold for better learning outcomes
3) Provide quality learning resources and guide parents on how to help students to use them
Communication with the students should be on a regular basis, either via online live sessions or via instructional videos. In this way, the teachers will stay “close” to students, maintain their connection and influence on them. No matter what medium is chosen, educators should not forget that there should be opportunities for a two-way communication, and there should always be room for questions from students and parents. It’s very hard for parents to be working and homeschooling their kids at the same time. They need advice and clear information about what activities students should perform, how and why. They should also get an idea of whether their kids are progressing.
Ideally, they should receive quality learning resources on time, which should be designed to motivate students without the face-to-face teacher's interaction. It is advisable that they have a playful flavor thus creating a stimulating learning experience. Also, teachers should send tips and short guides to parents so that they can direct and effectively work with the students.
Game-based learning has been proven to be very effective, especially for preschoolers, kindergarteners and those in the early elementary grades.