Coping with Covid-19's Challenges: Denla ready for online teaching for July opening
Social Distancing Interview with Mr Mark McVeigh, Denla British School's principal
Mark McVeigh, Denla British School's principal, talks to happeningBKK.com on online learning and the preparation for the opening in July
What is teachers’ biggest fear of teaching online?
The biggest disadvantage is the lessening of a personal connection with each student, but teachers have been working hard on this during the live sessions.
Is there any guideline or pattern that your school follows in holding online learning?
Yes, all teachers have received training and advice has been sent to parents, too. Safeguarding issues are paramount and teachers have been given essential guidelines.
How do teachers check feedback whether students understand a lesson or not?
This happens in a number of ways. If it is during a live session, students are encouraged to ask questions either in person, or by filling in a ‘chat’ question. Also, there are regular quizzes and tests to monitor understanding.
What to do when a child does not concentrate? (Normally, a teacher and assistant teacher handle a class of young children but when teaching online, there is only one teacher?
The teacher will firstly try to engage the individual directly on the screen, and if that does not work, parents will be asked to help.
Who works as IT Manager for teachers?
We have a team of knowledgeable IT staff who support teachers, and can respond swiftly to technical issues.
How teachers and parents’ roles change in the wake of online learning? What to do when parents have no time to guide young kids in learning?
Being able to help with distance learning is a real difficulty for some parents, particularly if both parents are working, and DBS tries to support as much as possible. Unfortunately, schools have no option but to request the help of parents in delivering the distance learning programme. However, DBS provides clear and workable guidelines to ensure that it is effective.
In term of expenses, online teaching means parts of expenses go to students’ homes such as electricity, water and food and therefore less expenses for schools. Will the school keep the same tuition fees?
Since the beginning of lockdown when schools started the distance/online learning, DBS was the first international school in Thailand that offered a 30% discount on the tuition fee for online learning.
Many scientific researches indicate that letting children aged under 7 years use electronic devices and watch TV would affect the development of the brain. It will cause ADHD in children and hyperactivity. (So, there is the concept of an alternative school that does not allow children under 7 years old to touch mobile phones, tablets, TVs.) But during this Covid-19 pandemic time, online education through these devices is necessary. Do you think that in the long run, young children who need to study online will be affected? What are some of the suggestions (or solutions) you foresee?
We are right to be concerned about the amount of screen time that distance learning requires, but there is no alternative, and it is OK for a temporary period for learning to be delivered in this medium. There are some advantages to distance learning, including the encouragement of independent and critical thinking.
On safety What measures does the school have in teaching students about physical distancing? Teaching and practising subjects such as physical education, activity making will solve problems.
The DBS Health and Safety committee and Senior Management Team have worked hard to create a policy and set of protocols that will keep our students and staff safe on their return to school. Part of this will be training the students in social distancing, and being constantly vigilant to alter any behaviour that puts this at risk.
How do you foresee changes in the long term? Do you believe that learning will be one of so-called “New Normal”?
In the long term, we will see more distance learning being used when it is appropriate. Students will also have benefitted from the development of independent learning and the requirement to be flexible and creative.
DBS Denla British School