By Foo Ming Li
The Covid-19 pandemic has made a huge impact towards the education sector worldwide causing school teachers and students to commence their classes online. Tuition centres, being affected by the pandemic too, had an unstable beginning with conducting online classes while the concerns about the mental health of their students are equally worrying.
“Both tuition teachers and students have a rough start adapting themselves to online learning during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March as the sudden shift hardened the adaptation process of the students due to a shorter time period, causing a disturbing decline in the productive level of the students compared to face-to-face learning”, Forest Tuition Centre Principal, Chang Kong Hooi outlined the challenges faced by the students as well as the teachers.
Chang adds the inaccessibility to electronic devices by some students further deteriorates the attendance to the online tuition classes. Thus, he decided that a discussion must be held with the parents to convince them the purpose of online teaching and learning.
“Some parents misunderstand that buying electronic devices like a laptop or tablet may cause the children to be less focused on their studies. The current situation nevertheless demands the students to possess at least one electronic device for them to stay on course,” he explains on the dilemma of owning an electronic device.
The pressure lies not only upon the students, as the tuition teachers, according to Chang, need to also adapt themselves to the online teaching method and deliver it without any shortcomings. As time goes by, the teachers have made continuous changes to improve their online teaching and helped the students by emailing them the tuition notes and homework. The tuition teachers have bought a smartphone tripod to allow students to clearly see the formulas of Physics or Chemistry.
He said the pandemic is an opportunity to learn the skills of conducting online classes. He also believes the teachers and students are maximising their time on their studies due to the uncertainty revolving around the pandemic.
“There is no use of waiting for the pandemic to end. During the current year-end school holidays, the teachers are teaching students the new syllabus of the following school year to prepare themselves better for the new school year,” he said.
On the other hand, PINTAR WSL Tuition Centre Founder, Wong Soon Lan said the pandemic had affected most businesses including tuition centres. Fortunately, the students in the tuition centres were able to adapt themselves to online learning without much problems.
She said the main challenge of online teaching is that it has made an impact on the psychological and emotional well-being of the students where she encourages every tuition centre teacher to emphasise love and care when inspecting the students’ academic progress.
“After studying various materials from various teaching and learning centres and instructional technology groups, I noticed they focus on how to use the technology we have today for online learning. Beyond the electronic connection, we need to connect emotionally with the students especially in times of anxiety and uncertainty,” she said.
Wong encourages the tuition teachers to use hopeful and optimistic words which will help the students to look forward to coming back to the tuition classes. Moreover, the teachers should have a light-hearted talk with the students on the purpose of online learning in the pandemic so that the students will have a better understanding of the current situation in the world and changes that need to be made.
“The education system is becoming very much competitive and challenging for students in this Covid-19 pandemic. It is crucial for all teachers to be knowledgeable and skilful for successful performance in guiding all students to get a better result in their future,” she said.