Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 and restricted SOPs during lockdowns, parents and children are left confused with the flip-flopping decisions regarding the reopening of schools imposed by the government.
Many had mixed reactions with government’s verdict; some relieved and some worried that their children’s overdue absence of schooling experience might stunt their academic and socioemotional development.
However, a study carried by researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center show that children actually have a greater risk of being infected by a family member than their classmates at school. This is due to the initiatives carried out in schools to hinder the spread of Covid-19, especially tight restrictions and safe social distancing in schools.
Ironically, we are often less strict when we’re at home with our family members. We seem to be more anxious about the harmless when the root cause might be us ourselves, risking our loved ones.
As much as we are masked by the façade of unnecessary paranoia and feel frightened by the phrase ‘face-to-face’, physical learning environment actually does more good than harm when we think of it rationally.
According to Aminuddin, Norhasni and Sim (2014), students tend to listen well and perform better academically in traditional classroom when compared to online learning. Due to the occasional technical difficulties and unclear instructions given by the teacher, it affects students’ understanding and hence, they would stop listening and give up easily.
In another study, it is also mentioned that students at a younger age are influenced by their physical surrounding as it also affects children behavior, academic performance, and development (Maxwell & Chmielewski, 2008). Some of the elements taken into consideration in their learning enhancement are thermal, visual as well as acoustic comfort.
According to Dr Rozanizam Zakaria, he stated the biggest concern with home-learning is the lack of socioemotional development that they can only attain when they’re in school.
Along with parents who are constantly on their strenuous schedule, children tend to take care of themselves and rely on gadgets to keep them company. This will indirectly impair their wellbeing and make them feel unloved and unwanted.
Similarly, Prof Datin Dr Mariani Mohd Noor, a well-renowned psychologist also highlighted that a minority group of children are at risk of becoming a ‘lost generation’ if the ‘face-to-face’ teaching and learning method (PdP) is not implemented. This is due to the limited learning facilities and lack of monitoring from parents.
To overcome the sorry-state situation, Dr Mariani, who is also the Vice President of the Malaysian Early Childhood Care and Education Council (ECCE Council), said the cooperation between parents, teachers and students is important to discuss successful PdP methods used during lockdown.
It is advised that parents should play a pivotal role to develop and monitor their children’s social and emotional development, such as emotional control, self-confidence, empathy and self-efficacy – because these aspects are crucial for their future success.
In hindsight, traditional learning for the most part has its own ‘touch’ that digital learning simply does not have. Despite its ‘so-called’ disadvantage of face-to-face interaction with other students and teachers, it is encouraged for us to open our minds and hearts to see things from another perspective and reflect upon it.
Dr Rozanizam Zakaria. (2021, January 17). BILA SEKOLAH TAK JADI BUKA (APA KERUGIAN SEBENAR?) [Post]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/100046884795753/posts/245183850387773/?d=n
Hassan, A., Abiddin, N. Z., & Yew, S. K. (2014). The Philosophy of Learning and Listening in Traditional Classroom and Online Learning Approaches. Higher Education Studies, 4(2), 19–27. https://doi.org/10.5539/hes.v4n2p19
Maxwell, L. E., & Chmielewski, E. J. (2008). Environmental personalization and elementary school children’s self-esteem. Journal of Environmental Psychology,28(2), 143-153.
Muzamir, M. Y. (2021, January 17). Lompang PdP boleh wujudkan generasi ketinggalan. Berita Harian. https://www.bharian.com.my/berita/nasional/2021/01/777124/lompang-pdp-boleh-wujudkan-generasi-ketinggalan
Online, T. S. (2021b, January 14). Kids more likely to get Covid-19 from family. The Star Online. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/2021/01/14/kids-more-likely-to-get-covid-19-from-family