Undoubtedly trying times for the entire population, we’ve seen revolutionary shifts in the way people work, study and communicate; with over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries affected by school closures, we are forced to adapt and take on an unfamiliar yet intuitive form of learning. Additionally, we suddenly have a lot of spare time - time to think, reflect, advance and discover.
Like anything, there are benefits and challenges to be found with remote learning. For year 10s especially, we are in the midst of consolidating GCSE content, meaning the uncertainty is challenging, especially as we hope to get the best grades we can to pursue our paths into higher education. Finding the right balance of work and recreation is a welcome challenge as its independence inducing skills will undoubtedly help us thrive in the future - in work placements or university.
Positively, schools grant students access to beneficial new tools and resources, such as Kerboodle online textbooks and Seneca learning; these advantages extend beyond Covid19 to provide us GCSE students valuable revision aids. When teaching yourself new information at home, your forced focus makes you consciously aware that you need to rely on yourself to consolidate your learning, meaning you feel more confident and independent in your note making.
However, many people find the home environment a place of repose, meaning distractions can make learning harder, especially if remote learning involves working in the same spot for a prolonged amount of time. Whilst questions may take longer to be answered by teachers, there is nothing stopping us from engaging with our own research and initiative. On top of all this, remote learning has familiarised many of us with vital computer skills we need to enhance our learning experience.
Staying home due to this forced lockdown can teach young people many things: tolerance, gratitude, empathy, independence and self-sufficiency to name a few. As well as building confidence in the reassurance that we can remote learn, we can also learn new skills and spend time improving doing things we love. Villier’s park has helpfully emailed me all sorts of resources and projects to help me complete INVOLVE projects as well as the weekly newsletter. Additionally, universities have announced online virtual tours - we don’t have to stop thinking about our future just because we can’t leave the house! We can use this time to get inspired in any way, for example, activities such as gardening, crafting/needlework and journaling can be rewarding, relaxing and fun. Furthermore, as a member of a local Explorer Scout group, my peers and I can still engage with weekly online Zoom meetings, taking turns to run the sessions and have tasks set for us to allow us to earn badges at home. Patience and staying at home has unlocked many doors of entertainment and self-improvement skills which are undeniably useful, regardless of the current lockdown situation, such as self -motivation, independence and time management.
Humans are social beings - it’s no surprise that lockdown heightens negative emotions, especially with 10% of young people facing clinical mental health conditions. Factors such as safety and remote learning are anxiety inducing, not to mention the complete lifestyle changes, which can be unsettling. Fortunately, an increase in online youth mental health services have come around over the years such as Kooth or Childline, and therapists can still offer their services to clients over Skype and Zoom. With being out of school, young people may feel alone without the daily interactions. However, in 2020, the global prediction of smartphone users is projected to reach 2.87 billion users, fortunately allowing interaction to resume across many age demographics. It’s common knowledge that some teenagers LOVE social media - only now it’s recognised that it’s not just teens who can reap its benefits; Facetime provides virtual hangouts for us to catch up, smile, chat and discuss the infinitely long lists of exciting things to do after lockdown. A few quick Snapchats or being tagged in a meme on Facebook reminds us we have each other - we can continue to make each other laugh with the prospect of meeting again soon.
Whilst today is uncertain, WHO reports show things are getting better. We’re not stuck at home, we’re safe, and we will all emerge from lockdown as stronger, better individuals.