WORKING DURING THE LOCK-DOWN: ONLINE LESSONS- Article by Anthi Papadimatou (Solid.A.I.R.)

The lock-down and the social distancing measures changed our lives radically and in a very short period of time. A lot of people couldn’t work they way they did before and some of them even lost their jobs. In our field, the field of education, things were not easy too. Since schools and kindergartens almost all over Europe were forced to close, when most countries officially entered the quarantine period, teachers and generally educators had to adapt to the current situation and find alternative ways to continue their lessons and their activities with the kids. So a lot of us discovered the importance and the joys of online lessons. And platforms like ZOOM became part of our daily life!

I have to admit that the first time they told us that we have to continue our activities and lessons with the kids, here in Bucharest, online, I was a bit skeptical and maybe not so enthusiastic about the whole idea. Since the activities of our association, A.C.T.O.R, involve, as the name suggests, theater, (clinical) animation and a lot of origami I assumed that our physical presence in the classes was kinda necessary. Also, let’s be honest, being in the classrooms or in the kindergartens surrounded by kids is way more fun than staring at a screen. So for all the previous reasons, and mostly because our activities required a lot of movement and participation from the kids I thought that the online lessons would be a bit difficult to succeed. But I was wrong.

Yes it is not easy to adapt our previous lessons in a way that they can be applied online but that simply meant that we had to think about different kind of activities to implement and, therefore, different lessons to do. In my case, what I tried to do with the kids in the online lessons is to make more quizzes about my country and other countries -usually the country of the other volunteer I had to do the lesson with- and generally to involve more verbal communication instead of movements and handcrafting. So I had to think more about fun facts and other interesting things about the topics I would choose in order my lesson wouldn’t end up just a boring presentation. Also, I though that I had to made my lessons as interactive as possible so the kids could participate and be more excited about the activities. With a platform like ZOOM this is very easy because the same time you are speaking you can share the screen of your PC and show the kids whatever you want, you can show pictures or you can even draw or write things. So if you make a good PowerPoint presentation it’s very easy to make a whole lesson, and a very interesting one, just with that. In the end, me experience with the online lessons is very good and I’m actually glad that I had this challenge. Finally, I think you can gain a lot more skills in the field of education if you can make proper online lessons with the kids and if you manage to keep their attention in this more challenging environment. So, let’s think about these new situations that we all face as opportunities to overcome the difficulties and be better!

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