The dilemma for parents in a virtual learning environment

Covid-19 has definitely changed our way of life; our daily activities must now take the pandemic into consideration. One of these daily activities that have changed significantly is the education of our children which now takes place online/ or in the virtual classroom.

Online education requires a different mode of operation, the virtual classroom requires teachers to move their offices from the school into their homes, while children’s classes are in their homes. The change to virtual teaching requires teachers to have home computers and the necessary technological upgrade to facilitate this type of learning, (Zoom, google classroom, elmodo etc.).

The new approach to teaching did not take into consideration the social problems confronting both teachers, students and parents.  The authorities have not considered that some parents are not in a position to facilitate classes at their homes, and do not know that the classroom, which has moved to parents’ homes, should be treated with the same respect as the actual classroom. And are expected to operate under similar protocols such as the parent/ guardian are not expected to stand outside of the classroom and shout to the teacher or their child(ren)—and invariably, that is not what parents do.

Instead, parents try to get the teacher’s permission and wait until they are acknowledged and ask to see or speak with their child. For online schooling to be beneficial to students the same protocol should be required at home since the home is now the classroom. Apparently, there is no set protocol to ensure best practices for online learning at homes where the social conditions do not give way for the best practices in online education in Grenada. Social life continues at home, while the social space, (the home) is now a classroom.

The merging of the classroom and the home as a single entity defeats the purpose of virtual education. For example, if a child is in his or her virtual class, the parent should not constantly interrupt the virtual education conducted by a teacher elsewhere.

There are situations where some parents may not understand the importance of the activity and instead remove the child from the classroom into everyday life, navigating both school (online education) and everyday life activities. For example, parents may ask the child to wash the dishes or go sweep the yard.  The saying that, “there is a time and place for everything,” failed to take into consideration parents’ inability to give full attention to their children’s education even if they are quite aware of their educational needs.

Parents make the effort to send their children to school because they are aware of the importance of education, but they never promise to be part of the education process, since many parents don’t have that social and educational capital.

Some parents are not aware that if their children are to do well in the school system, parents must provide maximum support, whether it is creating an environment that is conducive to online learning, or otherwise. Therefore, how can we separate the two spaces, the activities of daily life, and the virtual online classroom so that children can focus on their learning? Considerations must be been given to households that are experiencing this social problem.

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