Parents struggling to keep kids focused during online learning

Nina A. Loasana The Jakarta Post / Wed, January 20, 2021

Online learning can be done from anywhere, at anytime as long as you have internet access.(Shutterstock/File)

Many parents across Jakarta feel unprepared for coteaching their children at home and often struggle to help children stay focused when attending virtual classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a study has revealed.

The preliminary report of a study conducted by the Southeast Asia office of the global poverty reduction research center Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) found indications that online learning has been too challenging for both parents and students despite being the safest option for educating children during the outbreak.

The survey looked into 114 high- and low-poverty elementary schools across Indonesia’s capital from July to August last year and polled 16,453 parents and 1,667 teachers and conducted in-depth interviews with 198 parents, 50 teachers and 10 school supervisors.

“Preliminary findings suggest that this [the parents’ struggle to keep their children focused on online schoolwork] could be a result of children’s boredom due to a lack of interaction with their peers,” J-PAL’s preliminary report said. Most children have to rely on their parents to explain about the topics set by the teachers in online classes and to help complete schoolwork, however not all parents have the skills or time to fully assist their children.

This, coupled with the large amount of schoolwork the students receive every day, contributes to children’s inability to maintain their concentration during virtual learning, according to the study. A 37-year-old housewife in Ciledug, Tangerang, Banten, on the outskirts of Jakarta, who sends her children to a low-poverty elementary school in South Jakarta, agreed with the findings although she was not surveyed.

The mother, who preferred to remain anonymous, said her first-grader son was easily distracted when studying at home, so she had to continuously monitor him to ensure he listened to his teachers and completed his assignments. “Boredom is always the issue that makes it hard for him to concentrate on the remote sessions,” she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. She said she had tried almost everything to create a good environment and fresh atmosphere to motivate her son during online learning, including by moving his study desk to a quieter spot in the house.

Read also: Remote learning takes mental health toll on children, parents The teachers have only recently switched from using a one-way teaching method to a more interactive one to better engage the students.

“My son’s teachers used to explain lessons and deliver assignments through WhatsApp groups, which I found very taxing for parents as we need to constantly assist our children during the learning process,” she said. “But lately they have been using teleconferencing platforms for teaching the students, which is good as I no longer need to assist my son around the clock and he now can also interact with his peers to some extent during the online sessions.”

The Jakarta Education Agency has collaborated with several online platforms in providing lessons for both parents and teachers so that they can increase their capacity in conducting remote learning. “We also have guidelines on how to carry out effective online classes that can be accessed for free [by parents] on the website,” the agency’s head of elementary school and special education, Momon Sulaeman, said. “It contains many tips and tricks for both parents and teachers such as how to assist children during online learning or how to develop creative teaching techniques,” he said, adding that hundreds of people had already accessed the content.

Read also: Poor internet connection, lack of devices hinder online learning: Ministry The agency has set up platforms for companies and individuals wishing to donate gadgets for students in need and has distributed thousands of gadgets to some schools in the city. It is now seeking ways to help students overcome boredom when attending online classes.

“Officials from the education agency are currently planning to join these classes to motivate students in this unprecedented time and to directly gather input from the teachers and students,” Momon said. “This can then be formulated into a policy to make online learning effective and more enjoyable for students.”

This article was published in with the title “Parents struggling to keep kids focused during online learning Violence against children triggered by burden on mothers amid COVID-19: Survey”. Click to read:

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