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Online learning and the transition to high school

Updated: May 8

Transitioning from primary school to high school is already a scary and exciting time in an adolescent's life.


But when this transition period is moved online, it can create a number of concerns and challenges for students, parents and educators alike.


Here we attempt to give you some advice for managing this exciting time and giving your child the best possible start to high school.


Familiarity


Over the course of the school year, students create a relationship with their teachers and vice versa.


They become used to certain teaching styles and conversely, teachers become used to children's individual learning styles and abilities.


When learning online, it is more difficult to establish that understanding and create a real connection.


If students are new to high school, they have to juggle not only a new school structure and teaching styles, but also learn to navigate online learning systems.



What can you do? Teachers and parents should regularly check in with children who are transitioning to high school or have transferred from another school to ensure they are coping and getting the support they need to learn.



Socialising


A large benefit of face-to-face schooling is the chance to socialise with new people, make friends and form genuine bonds with other children.


When schooling takes place online (and in isolation) it's hard to create those friendships and for children to socialise effectively.


If students have not had enough time to form friendships before commencing online learning, it may be harder for them to cope as they have a reduced support base.



What can you do? Teachers should encourage group work wherever possible, and parents should encourage their children to reach out to others in the class after school hours to strengthen friendships.

Workload


The most prominent change in the transition to high school from primary school, is the increase in workload.


With homework and assignments from a number of different subjects at once, without that face-to-face guidance, some students may struggle with time management and how to effectively prioritise.



What can you do? Teachers should work together across different disciplines to ensure students won’t be overloaded with work and assessments at the same time. There should be an equal spread of work across all subjects.


Teachers should also work in partnership with parents to help set up homework schedules as a guide for how long students should spend on work outside of school hours.


Online learning is a new experience for all.


Teachers should keep open communication with both parents and students to ensure that education is being received well and children are coping and learning.

 

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