April 20, 2021
Many Hong Kong parents have shown concerns regarding the effectiveness of online learning, especially for young learners with a short attention span. In a survey conducted by the Education University of Hong Kong’s Department of Early Childhood Education in February 2020, nearly 70 percent of local kindergarten parents admitted that their children had trouble learning at home, among which over 70 percent attributed it to their children lacking the concentration or learning interest required to learn at home.
The same research also revealed most (pre-recorded) online classes during school suspension is a one-way learning process, with kindergarten parents feeling dissatisfied about the lack of diversity in learning activities. Despite the many challenges facing educators, parents, and students in the city, Qurio Education believes online learning, when done right, can be as engaging and rewarding as an in-person class. Earlier, we spoke to our award-winning, tech-savvy English teacher Mr. Mike Corliss, who shared with us the strategies he adapts to keep his kindergartners listening, talking, and learning in online classrooms.
EMPOWERING CHILDREN BY RESPECTING THEIR AUTONOMY
“We provide children with a chance to speak [their minds], listen, and collaborate in online classes,” said Corliss. “By giving children the autonomy to express themselves freely, we encourage them to authentically communicate and think outside the box.” When young learners are motivated to speak out and interact in class, they become the agent who chooses to use words they have learnt, he added. The learning experience and application of knowledge then become more natural, meaningful, and memorable - as opposed to forced answers and mindless recital.
Sometimes, young learners might get a bit carried away and talk about things that are not relevant to the immediate topic. While some teachers would focus on bringing these children back into line, Corliss thinks it is important to observe what children are passionate to talk about - and to create teachable moments - before steering the class back on track. This is the key secret to ensuring that online classes are as student-centred as in-person classes.
SHAPING INTERRUPTIONS INTO TEACHABLE MOMENTS
“When a distracted child is attempting to show other students a toy in his hand, we bring that into the lesson and make it a teachable moment. We might ‘spotlight’ the [child’s video] and ask them a challenging question about the toy, then have them respond in full sentences,” he said. Alternatively, teachers can invite the class to describe what they see in full sentences, or connect the discussion to the target phrases/tenses of the day. "When something goes wrong, you seize that to teach. This makes [online] learning more natural, more like real life - [where] we learn from mistakes," he said.
Taking a little detour from the lesson topic might seem counterproductive, but acknowledging children’s voices is an act of validation, which is extremely important in child-centred learning and building young learners’ confidence in English speaking, Corliss remarked. “It’s the coach’s job to do their best to build trust, bring up a child’s interest in learning, and set fun, attainable goals for them.” “We listen to the young learners’ words, observe their responses closely, and design or modify lessons based on what might pique their interest to help them stay curious and foster creativity,” he added, “because learning is a dance between two minds. It’s not a one-way street.”
Contact us now for a unique online learning experience with Qurio! Both local and international students are welcome.
1. The Education University of Hong Kong. (2020, March 3). Survey: Nearly 70% of Parents Find Their Children Have Difficulty Learning at Home. https://www.eduhk.hk/en/press-releases/survey-nearly-70-of-parents-find-their-children-have-difficulty-learning-at-home
February 23, 2021
Every child has their own preferences when it comes to learning. Some like to read out loud; some would turn words into drawings, and some learn smarter by doing. Wondering which type of learner your child is? Educator Neil Fleming developed the famous VARK Learning Style model and classified learning styles into four types, namely visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (Fleming, 2011).
IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
Artistic, imaginative, and creative are traits often observed in visual learners (Othman & Amiruddin, 2010). Prefer to learn by sight, they process information best by visualising concepts and ideas. As lovers of colours, shapes, images, and animated objects, visual learners are especially skilled at absorbing and retaining knowledge through charts, diagrams, graphs, graphic organisers, maps, and other visual aids. `
If your child craves storytelling time and is quick at remembering lyrics, he/she might well be an auditory learner! This group of learners learn best by listening to sounds and music. Lectures, group discussions, or any form of learning involving oral communication are situations in which auditory learners thrive. With strong language skills, auditory learners tend to digest information best when they think out loud (Fleming, 2020). Learning strategies that favour them include replaying audio recordings, mnemonics, rhymes, riddles, songs, and verbal repetition.
Is your child a bookworm, and does he/she communicate better through writing than speaking? If that rings a bell, your child is probably a reading/writing learner. Enjoy learning through words, reading/writing learners love expressing ideas and organising thoughts through writing and are apt at recalling what they read and wrote (Sintia, Rusnayati, & Samsudin, 2019). Taking notes during classes and revisions, using text organisers, and translating visuals into words are learning methods that work for them.
Getting your child to sit is difficult, and it is possibly an indicator that he/she is a kinaesthetic learner. This type of learners prefers to learn by being physically involved in hands-on activities and through their sense of touch (Cherry, 2019). Often gifted in physical activities, kinaesthetic learners are good at remembering what they have done. That being said, repetitive movements, as well as in-class activities, demonstrations, and competitions are great learning experiences that would help kinaesthetic learners convert new information into long-term, solid memories.
DOES MATCHING LEARNING STYLE TO LEARNING METHODS IMPROVE LEARNING EFFICIENCY?
After recognising the learning style(s) to which your child is most accustomed, you are probably thinking of asking your child to focus on the studying strategies that work best in their favour. While this might sound counter-intuitive, researches have shown there aren’t any noticeable improvements in learning efficiency when people stick to the learning techniques that match their dominant learning style(s) in the long term (Arbuthnott & Krätzig, 2015). Your child actually learns most effectively by practising different types of learning styles simultaneously or - to put it another way - when multiple senses are engaged in learning new ideas or skills.
MULTISENSORY LEARNING IS THE ANSWER
Since sights, sounds, movements, and tactile memories are stored in different parts of the brain, multisensory learning enables children to create various sensory memories and brain connections about a specific learning experience, leading to better memory retention and retrieval (Zull, 2002). Multisensory learning ensures a new concept or technique can be learnt via several means, and that all children’s learning preferences and needs be met (Morin, 2019). It empowers every child to thrive and learn in their own way - whether they prefer to learn by reading, writing, listening or doing. As children assimilate and apply new knowledge or skills in multiple ways, parents and teachers can also get a better understanding of students’ learning progress and the challenges they encounter.
At Qurio, we support students with a learning environment, learning methods, and a curriculum that facilitate multisensory learning inside and outside classrooms. We make sure experiential learning is incorporated into every single lesson, and that learning is always relevant, memorable, and effective. Book a free assessment now and experience the benefits of multisensory learning!
You can download the VARK test HERE to find out which type(s) of learner your child is.
1. Arbuthnott, K. D., & Krätzig, G. P. (2015). Effective Teaching: Sensory Learning Styles
versus General Memory Processes. Comprehensive Psychology, 4(2015).
2. Cherry, K. (2019, November 27). Overview of VARK Learning Styles. Verywell Mind.
3. Fleming, G. (2020, January 21). Understanding the auditory learning style. ThoughtCo.
4. Fleming, N. D. (2011). Teaching and learning styles: VARK strategies. IGI Global.
Morin, A. (2019, August 5). Multisensory instruction: What you need to know. Understood.
5. Othman, N., & Amiruddin, M. H. (2010). Different perspectives of learning styles from VARK model.
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 7, 652-660.
6. Sintia, I., Rusnayati, H., & Samsudin, A. (2019). VARK learning style and cooperative learning implementation on impulse and momentum.
Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1280(5), 052032.
Zull, J. E. (2002). The art of changing the brain. Stylus Publishing, LLC.