After a few weeks away from the classroom, the national lockdown may start to feel like a holiday; but if you are a learner it is important to remember that the academic year is still ticking along. You have the responsibility to stay tuned into your academic work. Use these tips to stay on track with all your projects and preparations for exams and don’t get left behind.
- Take responsibility
You have to take charge of all your assignments and tasks. Set yourself a daily schedule that includes studying, relaxing, spending time with family and some physical activity. Even though your parents and guardians may also be home, they shouldn’t have to remind you every day to do your work. Remember, it still falls on you to get good marks at the end of the year.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially now
Ask your parents, siblings, teachers and others to support you. Look around you and see whose talents or experience you can tap into; if your older cousin is good at maths, ask her to coach you for 30 minutes every day. If you don’t have access to a laptop or mobile phone, see if a parent can allow you to use theirs for your study periods. Remember that if you ask people for help, prove to them that you’re committed to doing well. For example if you agree to an hour of coaching from your teacher via WhatsApp or mobile phone or landline at home, show up on time and prepared with questions.
- Look for creative ways to study
In the age of technology, there are many resources to support you. Join virtual classrooms such as Worksheetcloud, which connects learners to a live online classroom with a fully-qualified South African teacher and offers free online lessons for Grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The platform covers lessons in Mathematics, English and Natural Sciences.
YouTube also has a “study with me” genre, where you can follow along with other students’ videos of themselves reading, taking notes and prepping for exams. If the cost of data is a problem, you can access free platform like https://learn.mindset.africa/ and Siyavula Education anytime.
- Team up with others
Studying at home alone can become really boring after a while. If you find that you’ve lost your motivation, join or create a study group on WhatsApp with your friends and class mates to bring fresh energy to your sessions. Share links to helpful videos, set up ‘Question and Answer’ sessions and share daily tips and alerts. However, remember that while study groups are great, they need rules; keep them small enough to manage and ask people not to flood the group with too many jokes, songs and other things that can be distracting. Also, agree ‘active’ times, for example, between 8am and 5pm daily, so that you don’t get messages all day and night.
- Take care of yourself
In order to study well you need to be well rested and have energy. Pay attention to your physical health by getting a good amount of sleep and exercise. If you are worried about the COVID- 19 pandemic and how it’s impacting your life, find ways to reduce anxiety such as skipping rope, dancing or talking to an adult you trust.
Here is a list of resources available at this time to help you keep up with school.
Free materials and channels:
- The Department of Basic Education has some great resources that are easy to access and are free. Download study and teaching material, workbooks, textbooks, study and revision guides, the Second Chance Matric Support Programme, previous question papers, among others by visiting: www.education.gov.za
- Zero-rated sites
- For Telkom customers log on to https://www.telkom.co.za/about_us/mediacentre/currentreleases/article1749.shtml
- For MTN and Vodacom customers, www.siyavulaeducation.com provides high school maths and science practice questions and free online books for students
- For Vodacom customers – https://vodacom.mytopdog.co.za/users/login
Free learning platforms:
- Vodacom e-School – https://vodacom.mytopdog.co.za/users/login
- WorksheetCloud, an online teaching platform with live school lessons to all learners in South Africa during the national lockdown.www.worksheetcloud.com/live/
Broadcasts and programming:
- Follow lessons on DBE TV, which is available without subscription on Channel 122 on the Openview HD platform from April 1st to September 30th
- Mindset Pop (DStv 317) features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum
- Check your community radio and TV station schedules to find out when they will be airing shows for learners
Social media resources:
- STEMLockdown Digital – An e-School where South African personalities and celebrities read to learners. 10am – 5pm Monday – Friday. Simply search for ‘Africa Teen Geeks’ on YouTube and on Facebook
- YouTube Educational channels for smaller children during the lockdown https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-7-best-educational-youtube-channels-to-help-kids-learn-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html/
- Nal’ibali 21 day Challenge
Learners are challenged to read or share a story with their family for 15 minutes or more each day. Complete one week and you could win a book hamper. Enter at https://nalibali.org/
- Mobile phone tutor
Dial a Tutor Programme will kick start Monday, 06 April 2020 to assist learners who experience difficulties with the subject content while studying at home. Dial 0872033033 to get a call back
Remember, life will continue after the lockdown so keep learning and take advantage of all the learning materials and information available to you. Rope in your buddies to organise group work sessions where you help and encourage each other.