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How to Prepare Children for the Return to Face-to-face Classes

Families should assess how the pandemic affected children's perception and behavior

Brazil | Jefferson Paradello

After months at home, thousands of children need to start taking their first steps towards the classroom. Now unaccustomed to routine, teachers, and even living with classmates, what challenges can they face? Above all, what can parents do to mitigate the impacts of this new phase?

To understand these and other issues, the Adventist South American News Agency (ASN) spoke with psychopedagogue Adriana Silva Lopes Matias, current pedagogical coordinator of Adventist Education for Southern Pará. In this interview, she highlights the essential role of the family during the rehabilitation process of students and the benefits that can come from hybrid teaching.

For many children, the pandemic has broken several years of routine. What are the main challenges to resume it?

First, maintaining links with the school, teachers, and school life. Social detachment has weakened this, although many ties have remained due to the use of technology. Now, it is necessary for students to be encouraged to resume their academic life and habits prior to the pandemic, but with due care already reinforced by health authorities.

Parents had to create or intensify activities at home to occupy their children's time. How should they act to raise awareness that it is time to go back to school?

While, on the one hand, there are many children who wish to return to a school routine, especially with respect to socializing with friends, there are others who have become accustomed to the "comfort" of home or have become afraid of the new reality.

For these last two groups, parents need to present the benefits of academic development and face-to-face contact, especially with teachers. They must also show that educational environments have been adequately prepared to receive them, adopting new security measures to preserve health and avoid contamination.

The return to face-to-face classes undergoes a psychological change. What should parents observe at this time?

How do children feel, and what are their fears, anxieties, and emotional condition? Many of them may not have absorbed the effects of all those months of isolation. On the other hand, others may be in pain due to what they read or the care taken by the population and the family itself.

If the parents perceive resistance from the child, they should try to listen to him or her to understand what it is about. In more complex situations, it will even be necessary to seek professional help to help you overcome obstacles.

How should parents and teachers deal with children who, in recent months, have been “educated” to do everything via computer and now need to return to the analog model?

The introduction of virtual classes has generated concern in many parents and the children themselves, mainly due to the need for increased concentration in front of the computer. Nevertheless, many of them adapted and got used to this day. Now, however, they need to return to the model with which they were familiar. This does not necessarily mean they must dispose of these virtual tools. They should be seen and used to support teaching.

With that said, parents and teachers should “measure” this exposure and encourage the performance of analog activities, which are also important for the student's development, but there are challenges. Therefore, in the classroom, face to face, teachers will need to arouse their attention with active, curious methodologies, whose dynamics are engaging and enable individual and group participation.

What lessons can students and teachers draw from hybrid teaching? After the new coronavirus pandemic, could this type of education become a permanent reality?

Hybrid teaching is a paradigm shift. It is a passport that will lead teachers and students to believe the use of the digital platform is an extremely useful tool for the teaching/learning process, providing the great majority of young people, even children, with a discovery of the digital tool not only for leisure but also for knowledge.

In addition, it is necessary to intervene and direct coordinators and teachers to craft proposals for classes mediated by technologies, with interactivity, active and attractive methodologies for students, and linear learning trails (to direct parents and students). Since this model interaction is not always face-to-face, it requires a lot of attractiveness to involve everyone.

How do you imagine the future of education?

With fewer borders and more significant knowledge. In the future, I imagine the teaching-learning process will be present everywhere, not only at the school level.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site