At ACG Sunderland, we are open for learning. Nothing matters more to us than delivering excellence across education in accordance with the wellbeing of our students, and our new ‘virtual classrooms’ are proving to be a great success. By switching to live online lessons, we are continuing to provide a full curriculum and ensuring our pupils do not miss out on a moment of learning.
Successful online learning is all about engagement and interaction. With that in mind, our dynamic and collaborative digital environment has been designed to keep students motivated and enthusiastic as they work through this new style of school day.
Additionally, we have some suggestions to use at home to further encourage and sustain their focus.
Real-time pupil-teacher interaction is fundamental to learner engagement, and every ACG student has frequent access to all education staff. Please encourage your child to speak with their teachers as much as possible. This will not only provide opportunities to ask questions, discuss coursework they are particularly interested in, or raise any concerns they may have, but will also help replicate familiar classroom experiences.
Our teachers are doing all they can to maintain ACG’s personalised learning approach, treating every pupil as an individual while continuing to support them pastorally and academically.
Connect with classmates
Your child is sharing online lessons with their classmates and, as in the physical classroom, teachers will continue to set tasks and assignments to be completed in small groups. This online teamwork will help them to feel connected in the digital world, and we ask you to foster their participation. To extend this contact, you could suggest they create virtual study groups with friends and peers for both the benefit to their learning and to reinforce their social networks.
Create a suitable study space
As much as possible, create a specific learning area. By providing a comfortable, well-lit space away from televisions, beds and other distractions, students are more likely to concentrate on the online lessons before them. A more formalised set-up (i.e. desks and chairs rather than sprawling across a bed) will also help to reinforce a classroom format and promote a more focused approach.
Take regular breaks
Working in front of a screen for extended periods can cause fatigue, so it is vital to take frequent breaks. Even the act of standing up, moving about and stretching can help to refresh pupils before their next online lesson begins.
Studies show we blink up to 60% less when staring at a screen, so remind your child to focus on other things in the room every 20mins or so to help avoid eye strain.
Participate in physical activity
Physical activity enhances mental alertness and wellbeing so it’s important for pupils to balance their studies with some form of daily exercise. While the current lockdown conditions make this a little more challenging, it can be as simple as walking in the fresh air or dancing to their favourite song. Online competitions with friends to see who can do the most sit-ups or press-ups (or any other exercise) can help to keep everyone motivated and entertained.
Maintain active personal social connections
Combining the present self-isolation restrictions alongside the move to online distance learning may cause students to feel a little disconnected. Linking up with their peers in our online academic community is important for mental wellbeing, as is maintaining regular contact with friends and relatives through Facetime, video conferencing or social media. Be creative and organise group movie nights in a virtual cinema, invite extended family to dinner over Skype or celebrate silliness with random events (like International Jellybean Day on Wednesday 22nd April) to help inject some lightness.
Please ask for help if your child is struggling
Current feedback from international schools who have experienced self-isolation for a number of weeks suggests that students easily adapt to the virtual school environment and enjoy online learning as their studies proceed at pace. However, if you find your child is struggling or needs additional support, please don’t hesitate to contact their class teacher or dean. The health and wellbeing of our pupils is a top priority for all ACG schools, so please keep us informed if your child requires assistance. We are here to help in any way we can.