Whole Child Education

A brand-new world for online learning

Under the epidemic, online courses seem to have become a normal way for schools to continue normal teaching and learning.

Opened in the midst of the epidemic, Dipont Huayao Collegiate School is no stranger to online courses. However, unlike two years ago, when only a few teachers were overseas and all scholars were on campus, the current model is called “hybrid”, in which both teachers and scholars can be online or offline, which is quite an experience. Although the process can be different, all paths are leading to a same destination.

However, it cannot be denied that, compared with the more direct and effective teacher-scholar interactions in classrooms, parents still have doubts about online courses. On one hand, can quality of academic  standards be guaranteed? On the other hand, does learning at home affect the physical and mental health of scholars?

Therefore, we have connected with several teachers, scholars and parents of Dipont Huayao Collegiate School.

Having been learning online from home for some time, what is the status of scholars?

What are teachers doing to prepare lessons and maintain high academic standards?

What can parents do at this time to help scholars on their learning?

High level of Academic standards

In science class, Tino, a G5 scholar, is learning about “the relationship between the color of light from a star and its surface temperature”. For adults, the content may not be complicated: a star’s surface temperature determines the color of its light. Blue stars are hotter than yellow stars, and yellow stars are hotter than red ones.

But, to Tino’s mother’s amazement, Dipont Huayao Collegiate ‘s classes remained the model of inquiry learning, even when conducted online. “As can be seen from the homework, it was challenging for learners. In some parts, the teachers specially made space for independent exploration, and children would need to check on the Internet by themselves. We really appreciate the way that made him develop his initiative to learn and explore.”

After class, Tino tried to reconstruct the model of the eight planets in the solar system using Apple computer’s own measurement tool, measuring the sizes of the planets and distances between them. After trying it out, it turns out that most of the pictures of the solar system we see are inaccurate.

When it comes to the English classes, Jose, the English teacher, introduced many interesting online tools in this process, guiding scholars to record and edit their own videos to explain their own understanding and feelings of novels.

“The little scholars will be media masters in the future if they clip a video like this every day! And it’s great to practice speaking your mind with confidence.” Tino’s mother said.

This is true in Elementary School and even more so in Secondary School.

Social psychology unit of ECP Psychology was just finished and schoalrs are finalizing their research papers.

In this unit, scholars need to learn how people influence each other, and under what conditions people are willing to comply, or are more likely to help others, as well as professional terms distinguishing them such as prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. And these learning objectives will be directly reflected in the scholars’ formative assessments and summative assessments, with clear evaluation criteria to follow.

Anthony Magee, who teaches ECP psychology, has been experimenting with ways to increase interactions in his online teaching: such as allowing scholars to enter their thoughts and opinions into chat boxes and respond to what their classmates say; or allowing scholars to instantly share their screens and screenshots of their writing and reflections.

Contents & Forms with Flexibility

Academic standards are not lowered, but at the same time, flexible adjustments are made according to reality. This adds a flexible atmosphere to online learning.

At the beginning of online teaching, Emma, the Chinese teacher of Secondary School, came up with the idea of using Mind Mapping to let scholars sort out their own notes, and this approach was new and effective. But later on, Emma started discussing with scholars about whether their screen time was too much, and if necessary, let them use paper instead.

Ree, a G7 scholar, found out that teacher Emma did adjust the order of the texts. “The teacher told us that we would put the important and difficult contents on hold in consideration of the tiredness when doing online learning. We are now learning A Waterfall of Purple Wisteria Vines, and the Chinese class feels like a charging pile for me. I totally enjoy it.”

On the other hand, you can’t miss PE classes. Physical exercise can not stop even when learning from home. From stretching to gymnastics, volleyball to First Aid skills, a variety of subjects are available for our scholars.

The PE teacher of G9 admitted that online teaching posed a great challenge to PE classes, and he could not easily observe the quality of scholars’ sports performances or assess their physical exhaustion as offline. As a result, he has flexibly adjusted the content of his online teaching including fitness plans and nutrition knowledge related to sports activities. In this way, scholars can better understand their own physical and athletic development and learn new vocabulary to improve sports-related writing and research skills at the same time.

Besides, there is the Academic Speech and Debate Club, which just started this semester!

In last week’s speech class, scholars just learned the rules and topic analysis of free speech, and how to find the right topic for their own speeches.

The classroom atmosphere was very much lively even when online. Mr. Jacob made full use of online tools, and made scholars actively participate in brainstorming, and share their thinking process and speech themes, and analyze them from dimensions of purpose, importance levels and relevance. Mr. Jacob was very much pleased with scholars’ active participation in classes.

Your physical and mental health matter

Home-based learning poses great challenges not only for teachers and scholars, but also for parents. It is especially difficult for young scholars at lower grades to learn online independently, and the accompanying parents have to pay more time and efforts than usual.

This is going to require more efforts if there are two children in one family. Terrence’s mother is in this situation, she has two children, one in G4 and one in G2, both at Dipont Huayao Collegiate School.

Now it is time of online learning. Sometimes Terrence’s mother goes to see if one kid is distracted, and sometimes she needs to ask the other about homework. This seems to be a headache, but she says, “Actually, I’m getting more and more relaxed now.”

On one hand, the online courses of Dipont Huayao Collegiate School are constantly strengthening the independent learning abilities of young scholars, from submitting assignments to receiving feedback, teachers expect scholars to do it all by themselves. “At the beginning, children are not very skilled, I would help, but now it is basically not needed.”

Terrence’s mother, on the other hand, finds that when she begins to let go and do her own things, this state of peace sets a direct example to her kids, and for sure the kids are getting better and better.

“It’s actually a bigger lesson for all of us, when facing challenges, we are not to complain about what we can’t do, but to explore and find out what we can do.”

Since learning at home, Terrence and his little brother began to read “Thirty-Six Stratagems” and “Idiom Stories”. Each would read one a day and retell them to their mother in their own words. After a while, their mother resumed reading a thin bedtime story book to these little brothers, one each night. Through this, Terrence’s mother wants to show her children that “Even if it’s a small thing, you’ll get a big result if you do it every single day.”

Terrence’s mother has always encouraged her two children to spend a certain amount of time outside when they can. Playing basketball in the yard, trampolining, chatting with other children and watching tadpoles by the pond, the brothers always enjoy themselves and are curious about all kinds of animals and plants.

Every day at the dinner table, Terrence’s mother and her two children would also discuss about social issues during the pandemic. She does not avoid, she does not deny, even adults’ own emotions can be discussed. Terrence’s mother says that adults should try to avoid passing on anxiety to their children, but at the same time, parents are human beings, not gods. When these are all open and plain in the parent-child communication, the positive energy will always be felt in this small family.

We particularly agree with the words of Terrence’s mother and are presenting them to all parents and scholars now,

The pandemic has hit a pause button, but life still goes on. At special times like this, let your child learn to accept, to be empathetic and grateful, and at the same time, not discouraged. The most important thing is to find happiness in all situations, to do what you love, and to make each day count.