REPORT OF THE SURVEY CONDUCTED FOR PARENT'S FEEDBACK ON THE LAST ONLINE CLASSES FOR THE PUPILS... MAY, 2020.
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE SURVEY
The school was compelled to close for the second term 2019/2020 at the 10th week on Friday, March 20 2020, when the Lagos State Government declared that all schools should be closed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Nonetheless, in the bid to ensure the completion of the remaining activities in the school calendar for the term, which included revision and examination, the school immediately on Wednesday, March 25 commenced online revision activities with the pupils for six weeks and ended it with an online examination.
The realisation of the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic seems not to be ending too soon and that government may not be too eager to open schools necessitated the need for the school to fashion out a way to productively continue pupil’s learning process remotely.
Our experience in the first impromptu online lessons done via WhatsApp showed that WhatsApp is not an ideal platform to teach children. It lacks the necessary structure to teach, evaluate, monitor and give feedback on lessons, hence our concern to identify other options that could be used to achieve these. Other challenges faced by the school during the program were the availability of parents to give the required support at home, availability of phone, tablet or laptop to use for the activities, adaptability of parents to learn new IT skills, and non-interactive nature of the lessons taken among others.
While we thought we needed to explore other options available to achieve effective online learning, we equally thought important, the need to integrate our parents’ views and values into our plans for the effectiveness and sustainability of the program. Thus, the need for the survey of parents’ experience of the concluded Online lessons.
2.0 FINDINGS FROM THE SURVEY.
i. The survey was responded to by over 70% of the parents, which qualifies the responses received to represent the general parent’s views.
ii. In response to the questions on how active the parents were in supporting their children during the lessons and at what period they joined, over 85% of the parents responded that they participated actively in the program, supervised their children personally and joined between the first and second week of its commencement. This makes their experience real and responses factual.
iii. Out of the children that participated in the online program, only 32.7% relied on their parents’ phones while the rest have a device of their own or one that is shared with their siblings. This implies that majority of our pupils have the most important of the things needed to take part in online lessons.
iv. Over 80% of the pupils and parents that took part in the online classes declared that they found it interesting, while just 20% of the parents described it as overwhelming and stressful.
v. In all, 100% of the respondents asserted that their children will join the school’s next online activities, while over 90% of them affirmed that they will be fully or partially available to supervise them at home.
The points raised by the respondents when asked for their views and recommendations for the next online program are enumerated in the next section. These points informed majority of the strategies we have put in place for the next online classes.
3.0 PARENT'S VIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS / THE STRATEGIES PLANNED BY THE SCHOOL FOR ENHANCED ONLINE CLASSES.
i. TIMING: Some Parents suggested that the time for the program should be specific and communicated to parents. This is to allow parents to plan their days in a way that they can support their children without compromising their other businesses and affairs.
In response to this, the school has prepared a timetable for lessons which will be made available to parents before the commencement of the online classes.
ii. REDUCED NUMBER OF LESSONS AND TIME: Many parents will prefer moderate activities for the pupils in a day that will make it easier for them to supervise their children and allow them to do other things.
This has however been put into consideration when preparing the timetable and the structure of the lessons. The contact periods, when parent’s attention will be necessarily needed have been reduced to the minimal, while most of the activities are designed for the pupils to be able to participate in with the least supervision.
iii. AGE APPROPRIATE, ENGAGING AND INTERACTIVE LESSONS: Quite a number of parents suggested that the lessons should be age-appropriate, more engaging and interactive. Some further suggested the integration of virtual learning into the teaching process.
The school in response to this have identified and explored some child-friendly platforms that will facilitate remote but hands-on learning. These apps will be introduced to Parents before the commencement of the classes. The school has also concluded a plan for the use of appropriate video conferencing media for virtual classes.
iv. IMPROVED TECHNICAL SUPPORT FROM THE SCHOOL: Some parents appealed for more support from the school on the usage of the IT gadgets or softwares that the school will use to engage their children. They want the apps to be user friendly and simple enough for the kids to work on independently.
The school has the plan to organise flexible remote and in-house training for parents on any new techniques embraced to teach the children. Parents are also assured that the chosen apps are the kinds that the children will find very easy to independently work on in no time.
v. MODEST OVERALL FINANCIAL COST TO PARENTS: Some Parents referred to data and power as another cost that the school should consider minimising apart from tuition cost.
The school has planned in line with this by minimising the number of virtual contacts to cut data and will provide up to 4.5gb of data for each participating child in a month. The school has also planned to ensure that most online activities can be achieved on tablets and mobile phones that save power. The use of the laptop will be minimised, while a plan is being made to make hard copy worksheets available for the children. Parents will also be advised to buy power banks as an alternative that can be used to recharge the devices during a power outage.
vi. VERSATILE AND ROBUST TEACHING PLATFORMS: Request was made by some Parents for the school to use sites and softwares that will be less rigid and very flexible to use on all devices.
An effort has been made to put this suggestion into consideration. The apps and sites that are chosen are the ones that can thrive on the devices that most parents specified as available for use for the children at home in the survey.
vii. VIRTUAL PARENT’S ENGAGEMENT: Some parents requested that the school should hold virtual Parents – Teacher’s Conference for further deliberation on the subject.
The school has proposed a virtual meeting on zoom to be held on Sunday, 31st May 2020 to feel the parent’s pulse and agree on other ways to improve on our jewels’ academic progress.