How Virtual Learning is Helping Shy Children
The world is changing in response to the pandemic and so are our methods of teaching. Virtual learning is one such change and for many students who have previously exhibited shyness, and this form of learning has served as a boon, says Cody Claver, General Manager, iCademy Middle East.
During these challenging times of school and nursery closures, social distancing and strict lockdowns, we’ve had to adapt and adjust to the new environment in ways we never imagined. Virtual learning is one of the major changes for children, including the shy ones, and has been helping these students to boost their confidence. The reasons for this are many. Virtual learning has made children more independent and self-reliant. Shy children find a comfortable and safe setting in their home in which they can express themselves confidently and positively. Those who were previously reluctant to speak up and felt overpowered by their peers in a classroom setting are now seen smiling and interacting with teachers online, according to Cody Claver, General Manager, iCademy Middle East.
Claver says: “There is a segment of students that have school phobia and are shy and reticent with their peers in a ‘bricks and mortar’ school setting. For shy students online education can provide a safe haven for them to engage in the most important activity of their young life.
Students that are more reserved oftentimes will thrive in an environment of anonymity. They appreciate that the work they produce or the comments they share are not judged by how they look, dress, or carry themselves. Their work is judged based upon the quality of their efforts. Virtual education is an important modality of education for students for whom traditional school settings don’t work. They are now able to hold their own and present their understanding of concepts via the online sessions.”
Virtual learning sessions are proving to be engaging, interactive, visually attractive, and supported by a digital presentation to enhance clarity. Most programmes, especially for very young children, include songs, games, calendar skills, mental and physical challenges, curricular content that is introduced with a multi-sensory approach to support children’s diverse learning styles and multiple cognitive levels.
Most of the virtual learning programs at iCademy Middle East also have an interactive screen that allows the teacher to see what the child is touching and responding to. The children recognise their friends and peers by seeing them on a daily basis and call out to them by their name and their interests. There is a reflection session in which each child is able to proudly showcase their achievements and share it with their teachers and friends. Everyone is able to appreciate and applaud each other’s achievements and the children feel a sense of pride and ownership in their work.
Cody Claver adds: “Students find both their own voice and meaningful pathways to social interaction in virtual schooling. Teachers in a virtual environment are very important in establishing learning environments that foster cooperation and collaboration among students. When teachers structure learning experiences and projects that put students together in small groups (virtually) it gives students opportunities to interact and develop their social skills. There are also a lot of opportunities for students outside school hours through sporting activities, music lessons and activities.”
In addition, teachers and schools follow several tips and tricks also to keep children attentive and focused during the sessions for young children. They rank from incorporating humour, to playing games and just having fun. The teachers keep the lessons lively and engaging by sometimes letting the children be the teacher or asking them to do a ‘show and tell’, “which we know is their all-time favourite” says Claver. Even online, the children love to show their favourite items and equally enjoy seeing what their friends have to share.
All in all, online learning, as daunting as it may seem, with the right combination of a well-planned system and great team to back it up, can be a highly effective and efficient way to not only work with our children in the current times, but also to encourage shy young children to come out of their shell, express themselves and gain self-confidence.