YCIS Beijing Parent Reflects on E-Learning
With the semester coming to an end after almost five months of e-learning, we wanted to look back and review how the experience has been for parents who, along with their children and teachers, have played an equally pivotal role in making the transition to virtual learning successful. And we do so with Londoner, Alice Noble, who has been in Beijing for three years, and a YCIS Beijing parent since August 2019.
The New Normal
Alice had to abruptly perfect the art of juggling, especially at the beginning of the e-learning process, when she and her family were still in Hong Kong on holiday with only one cellphone device, a borrowed laptop and bad internet connection which was meant to support her two children, Daniel and Keziah Noble, in Years 1 and 5 respectively.
Like many parents, Alice did not anticipate virtual learning to last for as long as it has, but adaptability along with hers and teachers’ commitment made the process less stressful. “As the weeks passed into months we all settled into the ‘new normal’ and learnt to take life a week at a time”, she said. Although she had to make the tough choice of halting some of her commitments such as learning Chinese, she is grateful that this time has offered her the opportunity to “return to the basics of parenting & put the kids first.”
In mid-May, when most Secondary and some Primary students started returning to campus for face-to-face lessons, Alice’s son Daniel, like his classmates, remained at home, “so e-learning never stopped in our household” she said. The transition back to campus for some students did not affect her so much.
The Process of Learning, for All
Looking back at the e-lessons, projects and activities students did, Alice acknowledges that the process was the start of a new learning journey for all, primarily because e-learning was uncharted territory for many in our community. This, however, did not stop teachers from going the extra mile to improve on their craft and research best practices for their respective areas of learning.
Alice also observed and appreciated all teachers’ dedication reflected in how their Zoom lessons were conducted, seeing that a good mixture of interaction, teaching monologue, videos and a variety of other technologies were incorporated. Students also had the opportunity to interact with their classmates and teachers within the provided parameters. “The teachers were excellent at managing the kids’ desire to share while continuing to teach – making good use of the ‘mute’ function. The teachers were also endlessly patient and didn’t show frustration when the technology was playing up.” Alice added. Something all too familiar.
Two projects stood out for Alice during this time. “I loved the 2-week projects: environment and recycling in Year 1, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ in CAL Year 1/2, because it took the school out of the classroom and into real life.” crucial part of the YCIS Beijing approaches when learning. Year 5s were not short of projects as well. During English, Keziah had “Narrative writing and printing a book, and stop motion movies!” which Alice thought were excellent.
Alice made note of how helpful staff was and how “when my daughter was struggling; her teacher offered her a 1-1 zoom call! That is commitment!”. This, she mentioned, was also apparent in the preparations leading up to the school reopening, communication with the SLT and overall care for the wellbeing of students.
And for this, Alice and her husband, Douglas Noble “wish all the staff a restful Summer holiday.”