May 18, 2024

The Bane Of Online Classes

By Bob Kisiki

I don’t know much about the various changes that have risen from the protracted coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged various spheres of society, but I know that we are experiencing things we had never dreamed of.

Some of these are God-sent; many we wish had never happened, yet some carry a mix of traits of the above two. I will deal with one of these in this article; the fact that following the presidential directive regarding the operation of educational institutions, parents have come up with ways to keep learners active and one of these innovations is online learning.

Online learning as a stop-gap measure has many advantages, but that is not what we will address in this column. For now, let’s talk about the fact that it has now become the norm for adults to leave children with a gadget connected to the Internet, where they are attending classes on platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. Because parents are busy (both in office and at home), you don’t expect that they will find the time to sit by and supervise the child’s learning, as they ought to.

Ideally, the parent or other caregiver should, after surrendering a computer or smartphone to the child to access a class, ensure that the child is indeed able to log in, connect to the class, turn on the audio and whatever else they need to do to access the class. But this is not all.

They need to hang around to ensure that the child (or children) attend(s) the class; listening to the teacher, asking and answering questions and doing class work — including taking notes. Unfortunately, this is only the ideal; the reality is different. On a weekday, the parent has to work — either at the office or, for those who work at home, in another part of the house. On weekends, they may be engrossed in household chores, hosting or (especially for women) going to the salon or other such place.

A child studying online. Parents need to ensure that attending classes. the children are attending class during online study

This means that the child is on her own, doing as she chooses. And no, not all of them are willing players in this education setup. Some would rather be sleeping in, instead of waking up to attend 7:00am classes; some would rather be visiting with friends and others would have preferred to be “chilling” with their out-of-school siblings, eating, drinking and watching TV.

But the category I am most interested in are those who welcome the online class idea with open arms, not because they are diligent learners, but because they now have access to a gadget with free data. That right there is paradise found for them.

Had you worked it out that your child could be watching porn, taking shocking videos of self or posting them on social media platforms? Oh yes, and they are clever; you will never find traces of any of these things, because your child is more tech-savvy than you might ever be. They know how to hide or remove all evidence.

Friend, you need to do something about this. If you cannot personally sit with the child and supervise him, either get someone to help you install monitoring apps or, since they can easily disable these, talk sense into them or find alternative means of getting them to study.

The writer is a parenting counsellor and a professional teacher

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