Lindsay Lewis

English/ ESL consultant: Word worker, writer, teacher, mentor and poet. Author of This Won’t Hurt a Bit! on writing clear content.

Returning to school…. or not?

Many parents are asking me about sending their children back to school.

I cannot easily answer this question, but can only suggest that you look at the Covid risk in your city. I am in Victoria, and Vancouver Island has had exceptional results because the populace has done everything possible to contain and eliminate the virus. Generally, I would say no, there is no point in sending your child back to school in June unless you are working and cannot handle the additional stress.

Psychological stress from the epidemic has taken a toll on students’ academic performance. I must say, I’ve been horrified to see the change in my kids’ writing and comprehension since they began online lessons. Most of them have dropped a full level in English. WHY?

The online classes are not effective. Teaching students through a plastic screen deprives them of one to one interaction and the energy which classrooms have. I believe many students are not going to bed at regular times, have excessive screen time, and are texting their friends late at night. One of my kids told me he slept for 1.5 hours right through a class; this pretty well sums up his school experience right now.

Being online is tiring: There are many unpleasant factors besides the screen itself and impersonal nature of the lessons. The students feel that it is a waste of time and they are just given assignments to do to fill the time, but that this work isn’t meaningful for them. The noise in the machine itself, amplification of speakers creates a lot of background noise which we all have to filter out and it’s not easy or fun. Personally, if I hear my voice echo one more time, I will scream.

What can you do to transition your kids back to REALITY?

Have them read and write about good quality novels. Look at my recommended reading list for a start, or study some of the finest novels ever written such as The Stranger by Camus, or Mice and Men by Steinbeck. Get them to read out loud, write sections of the novel from a different character’s point of view, and identify plot, theme, setting, conflict etc.

This too shall pass! Hang in there….

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