On 21 April, the announcement of the extension of Singapore’s partial lockdown brought a great deal of disappointment to every household, especially to those with schooling children. Since April 8, all primary, secondary and tertiary level students have been undergoing home-based learning (HBL), with lessons being conducted online to enhance safe-distancing measures. HBL has been deep in effect for a few weeks now and it has been observed to be quite an intensive period for teachers, students and parents alike. Furthermore, parents have also started scrambling to arrange for Online Tuition for their children.
With this in consideration, MOE has therefore pushed the school holidays forward, with the mid-term holidays starting from 2 May instead of the usual month of June. Lessons will resume on June 2, but whether it will be a continuation of home-based learning or physical school lessons is yet to be confirmed. There will also be a mid-term break from July 20-26 after these lessons have been resumed. According to MOE, adjustments have also been made to the curricula tested in National Examination this year. The last topics of each subject will be taken out of Examinations, quoting, “topics such as ‘interactions within the environment’ for PSLE Science, vectors for O Level Maths as well as ‘Introduction to the Chemistry of Transition Elements’ for A-Level H2 Chemistry are all removed from the National Examinations.” A more major decision made is that the written paper of the O and A Level Mother Tongue examination (initially on 1 June) has also been rescheduled to 18 June.
About Online Learning
Many have voiced out that not all students are coping well with current home-based learning measures. MOE has also admitted that home-based learning is not an ideal substitute for classroom learning, especially when students are not able to seek personal help from teachers to clarify questions unlike when previously in school. Although most students have experienced short-term home-based learning (HBL) previously (schools tend to test it out once in a while), they have no prior experience of carrying it out for four weeks and beyond. HBL heavily depends on self-directed learning and discovery of curiosity, and this may be a bit harsh on some pupils who require individual attention from teachers during after-school hours.
With HBL, teachers are only able to keep track of their students’ progress through their participation in home-based learning lessons and upon the completion of their assignments. MOE has also reviewed that home-based learning has reduced in the intensity of learning hours, with around four to six hours a day for primary, secondary and junior college students, which is less than usual number of school hours. Students are also tasked with less homework after HBL sessions, with most of them being online assignments. Therefore it is very important for students to be more pro-active, and have the ability to study well in order to learn productively during the circuit breaker period.
Tips To Help You Study Better
It has been 3 weeks since the Home-based learning curriculum has started, and if you have yet to adapt to HBL, here are 5 effective ways to help you to study better during this period!
Online Lessons Tip 1 – Identify Your Learning Objectives & Goals, Do Revision Daily
Prepare yourself well for online lessons by first reading through the contents/topics that will be taught during the week. Make sure you understand the main focus of each topic, and identify the learning objectives for the lessons as well. Write your own personal studying objectives down and leave the note at a visible place, where you can easily see and refer to during the lesson. For example, before your next Maths lesson, you can first read up about the new concepts to be taught, and attempt to understand them by yourself. If you feel confident about your knowledge, you can then proceed to practise these concepts with the questions provided in your textbooks. When you come across questions that you do not understand or are unsure about certain steps at some point, mark it down on a piece of paper. Your learning objective would then be to pay close attention to these question marks and clear your doubts during your next lesson.
With your learning objectives identified, you can focus more on the areas which you are weaker in, thus helping you to grasp the contents more easily in the short lesson time. After the completion of your daily online lessons, do not forget to revise what had been taught and covered for that day. This is to help you strengthen and reinforce the knowledge learnt, and a develop a deeper understanding of its application. If you encounter any points that you do not understand, note it down and make sure to check in with your teacher when you have the chance.
Online Lessons Tip 2 – Be Disciplined, Create A Study Time-Table
Poor time management often results in cutting corners through some of the most important parts of your studies. In order to study well, you will need to create a study time-table to help you better manage your time! Creating a study time-table may sound easy but it requires you need to know how to prioritise your tasks and assignments. Analyse and arrange your tasks according to the highest priority; complete the most important and compulsory task first, such as today’s homework set for you. The next compulsory but not as important task – carry out your revision for the topics taught today. Lastly, a non-essential but important task – prepare well for your lesson the tomorrow.
Estimate how much time is needed to complete every task and make it as specific as possible. The tasks which are important and compulsory should see more time and attention invested to them. Try to stick to your time limit for each task and not to extend too much, as it will help in developing your self-discipline. If you are not able to concentrate even after you have been trying your best, consider stopping for a refresher or a beverage break to help you start afresh. Take the chance to stand up and do some stretching exercises in between your lessons for each subject. These short breather points will help you to focus better. If you need help with developing self-discipline, consider engaging an online home tuition service to have a tutor as a mentor to guide you on your studies throughout this period!
Online Lessons Tip 3 – Create Notes or Mind-Maps To Help You With Revision
Creating mind maps and study notes are a great way to help you with studying. Mind mapping is a kind of framework to help you with organise, visualise and summarise your knowledge. The purpose of mind maps and summarising notes is to give you a better way to store information on one or minimum pages, making it easier to be studied and revised later on. You can read through and prepare a mind map for topics before they are being taught so that you can get a quick overview on what it going to be about. With some basic understanding of the topics, you can fill in missing information during your online lessons. After the lesson, when you are revising for the topics taught for the day, redesign your mind map – again include the main ideas of the topics, but now incorporating notes taken during the class. You can also write summarising notes instead for subjects like languages and Mathematics, to include the different application of concepts which may be difficult to illustrate on mind maps.
With these personal notes, you are able to save time going back and forth on your textbooks as it helps you see how the information is linked and how the chapters and topics work together. Here are some tips to remember while creating your own mind maps:
- Use one word or few words at a time
- Use more pictures and symbols
- Use a different colour for different branches, ideas and links
- Use a bright colour to make important points stand out and it should be your memorisation points
- Use arrows to show links between different parts
A good mind map should help you see the structure of a topic or subject as a whole, the important facts within, and how they are linked. Invest in time to make a good mind map and make sure that it comes in useful during revision for your examination. If you can, use as little pieces of paper as possible for your mind map and notes, to make things condensed and concise for studying. If you are not well-equipped with the skills to create an effective mind map, you can also look into hiring an online tutor. During online home tuition, our home tutors will also be able to teach you the different methods of creating a personalised mind map to boost effective revision!
Online Lessons Tip 4 – Create a Dedicated Study Space
When and where do you normally do your work and study at home? Are you able to focus at your designated study spot without distraction? If the answer is no, then you might want to consider revamping your study space. In order to create an excellent study space, you can take note of these 4 steps:
Remove All Distractions From Your Study Space
Sources of distraction include your mobile phone, storybooks, food/snacks/drinks and should be removed from your table to avoid any mess and clutter. If possible, find a space where you would not get easily disturbed by others as well. For example, avoid studying at the dining table if your family members often gather there for leisure, or if it faces the television should someone be watching it.
Make Sure You Can Easily Access Everything You Need Before You Start
Before your lesson, ensure that you have a comfortable chair with the correct height. You would want to be able to concentrate for a long time without being distracted by aching caused by an uncomfortable sitting position or structure. You can also place all your necessary textbooks and study materials on your table or beside you, so that you would not need to walk around your house to search for your needed items (and get distracted while doing so!).
As home-based learning involves the heavy use of technology, students are forced to use computers and laptops for a lengthy number of hours. Do you sometimes realise the need to squint your eyes while looking at your textbooks and screens? If yes, please make sure to alter your lighting levels and ambience at your study space to make it less stressful on the eyes, else you might need to get your eyesight checked at the end of home-based learning! It is better to study near a window with natural light coming in. But if you do not have the luxury of doing so, a desk lamp is a worthwhile investment as overhead lighting is often too diffused to give you a clear and focused light required for reading.
Adjust Your Study Space To The Ideal Temperature
Aside from lighting, the temperature of your study space could affect your attention during your lessons and studies as well. An environment that is too hot or cold could cause you to be consciously distracted, and it can also lead you to make more unconscious mistakes in your work.
The goal you should try to achieve is to make your study space as optimised for studying as it can possibly get – to maximise the attention you can devote to studying and minimising the effort necessary to do so. You can also prepare some healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy, as well as pin up some inspirational quotes and pictures to help you focus and feel motivated.
Online Lessons Tip 5 – Engage An Online Tutor
With schools being replaced by home-based learning, it is exceptionally difficult for students to seek help from their teachers. Although some teachers are able to provide online consultation, the help received is still too limited. This “barrier” demotivates and students to clarify their doubts and this creates a big problem, especially for students sitting for their major national examinations this year. If you have difficulty with your studies during this circuit breaker period, you should consider engaging online home tuition services to boost your morale.
Even though it is a tough time for you to learn and study, it is a great time to invest in revision and to strengthen the weaker areas in your studies. As lesson hours are reduced and less homework is assigned, you would have more time to spend on your personal studies. By hiring 1-to-1 Online Home Tuition from MindFlex Home Tuition, you can consult your tutor on any questions that you do not understand. For our online home tuition service, classes can be conducted over Zoom, Skype or other online applications. Our home tutors can provide you with soft copy materials such as summarising notes and mind maps, and also able to help you create a study timetable to help you study effectively during this period. By engaging our online home tuition service, our tutors can also help you clear any doubts outside lesson time through WhatsApp. Our Online home tuition service can also be converted to face-to-face physical lessons once the restriction has been lifted!
This period of home-based learning has proven to be a challenge for students to cope with. Nevertheless, it is still important to keep abreast with your education and be responsible for your own studies. With more free time and a lesser workload, it is a great time for you to develop self-discipline and other good habits, such as daily revision and creating study notes (which one usually does not have time for due to CCA). Do not waste this period on devoting too much time to entertainment, as many others are using this time to catch up on their studies and improve their academic knowledge. You do not want to be left behind! You will be surprised at how much one can improve in this period of time, so do ensure that you do not waste this chance of extra time on hand. If you need someone to guide you in studying better, do consider getting in touch with us!