For Victorians, kids will be online learning for the foreseeable future. For the rest of Australia, schools could go back online at any time, so we need to be ready. This US-based article has some excellent tips for keeping kids motivated and engaged while online learning. A reminder that this kind of schooling suits some kids more than others, but is definitely challenging for every kid. We chose the feature image especially to highlight just how isolating online learning can be for kids. A very lonely kind of classroom.
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by Eric M. Anderman, The Ohio State University and Kui Xie, The Ohio State University
When nearly all US brick-and-mortar schools suddenly closed in March 2020 and went online, large numbers of students simply didn’t log into class. Even if they did show up, many more weren’t paying much attention or doing their schoolwork. Is there anything that teachers and families can do to curb these problems with remote learning due to COVID-19?
Having spent our careers doing research on student motivation and learning with technology, we recommend these three strategies.
1. Go out of your way to build relationships
The importance of the relationships that develop in classrooms is often taken for granted. With online learning, students and teachers can no longer greet each other with high-fives and fist bumps or develop a sense of connection through direct eye contact. Their interactions are now restricted, and in a growing number of communities they are limited to communications through computers.
Teleconferencing software like Zoom can mimic face-to-face conversations and lessons. An array of digital tools can improve the quality of these sometimes awkward interactions. Some are text-based, delivered either live or pre-recorded.
Pictures, audio clips, videos, emojis and GIFs help people get their points across more clearly and colorfully. Rather than seeing them as frivolous, we recommend that families and teachers not be afraid to encourage students to use those tools to build and strengthen social relationships with their peers and their teachers.
Other challenges to note: 5 types of mean online behaviour and what your kid can do about it
Students will also benefit when schools create opportunities to spend non-instructional time with other students online because it makes it easier to forge personal connections. To be sure, schools also need to set and enforce clear “netiquette” – online manners – to discourage digital bullying and support a positive culture. This is especially true when a new semester gets underway.
We recommend that schools set up virtual study rooms and online discussion boards where students can be encouraged to regularly socialize and work collectively and that families encourage children to participate.
Try these excellent resources: 40+ free online activities for older kids [that are nicely educational]
2. Stress the relevance of what students are learning
Students often question why they are required to learn various topics. What teacher or parent has never had to answer a question such as, “When will I ever need to know about the Spanish-American War?”
More than ever, it matters whether students get why what they’re learning is relevant. Research unequivocally shows that when students understand this, they are more engaged, more likely to want to learn more about the topic in the future and even more likely to choose careers related to what they’re being taught.
Technology can help. For example, videos and other online resources can instantly show students how a particular topic might be essential for certain careers. And we recommend that teachers tell students to briefly interview relatives and friends, whether by using Zoom, email or the phone, about why a particular topic that they are learning might be relevant to their own lives.
More than ever, it matters whether students get why what they’re learning is relevant.
3. Establish new routines for online learning
Students benefit from routines at school, because routines help them to organise and use their time efficiently throughout the school day. These can include short breaks between classes when they can interact with their peers and take a mental break before they begin their next class. Online learning, even with some daily instruction happening in real time, is more self-paced and self-managed. Kids will benefit from a new daily routine that suits their virtual school schedule and their family’s needs. Students are likely to be more engaged with online learning if they are expected to get ready for the day by acting as though they were actually going to their school building, and not just roll out of bed and turn on the computer.
Students quite often don’t know how to effectively set reasonable goals, manage their time, take notes, study for tests, ask for help in constructive ways or plan and carry out research projects.
Support their mental health too: Creating a routine for mental wellbeing
Because figuring all of that out only gets harder with online learning, kids and teens will benefit if they establish daily plans with achievable goals. Families can help them keep their plans on track by encouraging students to think about the strategies they are using and reminding them when and how to apply appropriate study strategies.
For example, while a student is watching an online instructional video, we recommend that parents and other guardians from time to time get them to briefly pause the clip. Try asking “Do you understand what you’ve seen so far?” If not, suggest that they start it over. Offer to help them puzzle through what’s being taught. If that doesn’t help, assist with scheduling a personal meeting with their teacher.Eric M. Anderman, Professor of Educational Psychology and Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement, The Ohio State University and Kui Xie, Cyphert Distinguished Professor of Learning Technologies; Director of The Research Laboratory for Digital Learning, The Ohio State University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Feature image by cottonbro; girl in orange and boy in hoodie by Julia M Cameron
More than 60% of Victorian young adults live with their parents, followed by 56% in New South Wales and about 53% in the other four states. In Queensland, the proportion of young adults living at home rose from 31% in 2001 to 52% in 2017. And the researchers suggest that the way we parent our kids has a role in explaining the stats…
by Roger Wilkins, University of Melbourne and Esperanza Vera-Toscano, University of Melbourne
Housing Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) Survey data confirms a sustained trend towards young adults staying in the family home longer.
The HILDA Survey tells the story of the same group of Australians over the course of their lives. Starting in 2001, the survey now tracks more than 17,500 people in 9,500 households.
In 2017, 56% of men aged 18 to 29 lived with one or both parents, up from 47% in 2001. More strikingly, over the same period, the proportion of women aged 18 to 29 living with their parents rose from 36% to 54%.
Growth has been particularly strong among women in their early to mid 20s. For example, in 2001, 30% of women aged 22 to 25 were living in the parental home, while in 2017, 58% were doing so. In other words, the gap between young women and young men is shrinking.
Traditionally, women have partnered and had children at younger ages than men. That’s linked to the fact that women are more likely, on average, to leave the parental home at a younger age than men.
The tendency for women to marry and have children at younger ages still exists, but it no longer translates to a greater propensity of young adult women to be living apart from their parents.
So what’s the average age that young people move out? It’s complicated. In our report, we did consider the average age of moving out – but looking at it this way means you’re only considering young adults who have already moved out. For women, this was 22.1 in 2001 and 24.2 in 2017. For men, it was 23.1 in 2001 and 23.5 in 2017.
But this doesn’t accurately convey the magnitude of change. A growing proportion of young adults have not moved out at all. Consequently, the average age of moving out is considerably higher and has grown more than these numbers suggest.
So what’s the average age that young people move out? For women, this was 22.1 in 2001 and 24.2 in 2017. For men, it was 23.1 in 2001 and 23.5 in 2017.
Housing costs, casual work, marriage delayed
A number of mutually reinforcing economic and social factors are likely to be driving the overall trend towards staying in the parental home longer.
Of course, the cost of housing is a big factor, and it’s been rising faster than inflation and incomes.
It appears harder these days for young people to find full-time permanent employment opportunities. In particular, casual employment has risen for young adult men and women since around 2009; by comparison, it has only increased slightly for older men and has actually declined for older women.
There has also been growth in education participation of young adults, especially among those aged 25 and under. Interestingly, however, among those aged 18-21, the proportion of those living with their parents engaged in full-time education has fallen in recent years. This may reflect the growing importance of housing costs and the labour market in keeping young adults at home. The growth in education participation appears to have mainly been a factor up until 2011.
Changes in the preferences of young adults may also be a factor. It is possible that our longer life expectancy is increasing the desire to “live a little” before taking on the challenges and responsibilities traditionally associated with adulthood.
But one thing is clear: it could not happen without the capacity and willingness of parents to accommodate their adult children.
Certainly, young adults seem to be in less of a hurry to settle down and have children. For example, the median age at marriage has risen by 1.5 years since the turn of the century for both men and women; similarly, the average age of mothers at first birth has been creeping upwards and is now around 29.
It is difficult to ascertain the relative importance of changing economic realities facing young adults versus changes in their preferences.
But one thing is clear: it could not happen without the capacity and willingness of parents to accommodate their adult children. So perhaps, ultimately, we should be looking to their parents for an explanation of this trend.
Roger Wilkins, Professorial Fellow and Deputy Director (Research), HILDA Survey, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne and Esperanza Vera-Toscano, Senior research fellow, University of Melbourne
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Feature image by Andrea Piacquadio; graph supplied; Video by cottonbro.
It occurred to me that so many of the books we recommend here are not Australian books. They are generally the popular ‘best seller’ books that parents are keen to get a review on. So, I went searching for some Australian books for teens to recommend and found this excellent round-up on The Conversation. As well as suggesting them to my teens, I plan to read each of these five books myself.
By Larissa McLean Davies, University of Melbourne; Jessica Gannaway, University of Melbourne; Lucy Buzacott, University of Melbourne, and Sarah E. Truman, University of Melbourne
What we read matters. Reading shapes the way we see the world, increases our understanding of others, and helps us imagine different narratives for ourselves.
Alfred Tatum, a US education professor specialising in literacy for African American boys, coined the term “bookprint”. He said it’s something we all have – a list of books that have impacted how we see ourselves and the world.
School holidays are an ideal time for teenagers to expand their reading repertoire and pay attention to the bookprint they are creating (and is being created for them). It is important for young people to read literature that reflects their own life and also expands their experiences of the world.
Read more: 16+ must-read books both girls and boys like (kids aged 7+)
In this spirit, we suggest five Australian books for teens that connect with diverse experiences and interests. This is not a quintessential list, but one designed to enhance any young person’s bookprint, at different ages and stages. These texts are by Australian writers, and written in the past five years.
5 Australian books for teens
Recommended for ages 16+
In Terra Nullius, Clare G. Coleman offers older teenagers the opportunity to immerse themselves in an imaginative response to colonisation.
Coleman’s creative representation holds both history and potential futures in tension, and an unexpected plot twist engages and provokes the imagination.
This book is an example of both climate fiction and speculative fiction. Climate fiction enables older teenagers to think about the implications of climate change from diverse perspectives, while speculative fiction encourages readers to use their imaginations to consider different futures or pasts.
Recommended for ages 13+
The Tribe, by Arab-Australian writer, editor, teacher and community arts worker Michael Mohammed Ahmad, is short but powerful. It focuses on the experiences of Bani, an Arab-Australian boy, his family and their wider community.
The Tribe was Ahmed’s first work of fiction. It insightfully considers issues of identity, family, community, loyalty and love.
The text makes clear both the struggle and beauty at the heart of one immigrant family’s experiences of being Australian. The book is richly descriptive, and the reader is carried into the home that is the centre of Bani’s world.
Read more: 16+ must-read books both girls and boys like (kids aged 7+)
Recommended for ages 16+
What does it mean to know the language of your country?
The question of language, lost and found, begins Tara June Winch’s latest novel. The Yield traces the history of a family in Massacre Plains on the banks of the Murrumby River.
After her grandfather’s death, August Gondiwindi returns to her family’s land. The story of her return is interspersed with the dictionary written by her grandfather before his death.
These complementary narratives reveal the complexity of place, voice, language and family in the Australian context and force a consideration of what has been lost.
While moments of violence and dispossession are central to the story, there is also tenderness and beauty in this novel by one of Australia’s most exciting authors.
You will find an amazing database of Australian books here.
Recommended for ages 15+
Growing Up African in Australia is this year’s addition to the popular and groundbreaking Growing Up series, which includes Growing up Queer in Australia and Growing up Disabled in Australia.
Growing Up African draws from a range of authors including disability advocate Carly Findlay, journalist and filmmaker Santilla Chingaipe, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child star Kirsty Marillier, and many more.
Like the others in the Growing Up series, this compilation acts as an intersection at which we can reflect on the similarities and differences of young people growing up across the country.
One section of the anthology, named “The Body”, is particularly noteworthy, with a range of authors describing their experiences grappling with body difference and self esteem.
Read more: Growing Up African in Australia: racism, resilience and the right to belong
For some young readers this will provide a moment of “I thought it was just me”. It might help others to see cultural beauty standards – and the challenges of growing up within them – through another’s point of view.
Recommended for ages 13+
Like the Growing Up series, this new collection offers much-needed new voices and perspectives for young adult readers.
Conceived as a collection of stories about marginalised people, told by people from these marginalised groups, Meet Me at the Intersection presents stories, poems, and memoirs from First Nations writers, writers living with a disability, LGBTIQA+ writers and writers from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Including a range of established and emerging writers, this collection reminds us identities are complex, created at the intersections of race, disability and sexuality, and that we are collectively a richer nation if all voices can be heard.
As our research has shown, contemporary Australian fiction, for a range of reasons, is often omitted in school curricula.
Historically underrepresented people including Aboriginal writers, writers of colour, migrant writers, queers writers and writers living with disability are particularly underrepresented.
Yet, we know it is of paramount importance Australian teenagers are able to locate their literary imaginations locally as well as globally, and that reading texts by and about diverse Australians will change the ways all young people see themselves and their communities.
For a longer list of Australian texts both historical and contemporary, see the Reading Australia website. This resource is designed for teachers, but is also a great starting place for parents and teenagers.
Larissa McLean Davies, Associate Professor Language and Literacy Education, University of Melbourne; Jessica Gannaway, Lecturer, University of Melbourne; Lucy Buzacott, Research Manager, University of Melbourne, and Sarah E. Truman, Researcher, University of Melbourne. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Do your teens read Australian books?
Feature image by Lilly Rum; book cover images supplied.
While everyone is very keen to get back to ‘normal’ schooling, reduced classroom attendance can also offer a wonderful opportunity to catch up on some reading. Margot Hillel, Professor of Children’s Literature at the Australian Catholic University, has prepared a reading list for teens that focuses on books that are smart, relatable and/or funny.
Award-winning author and illustrator Shaun Tan wrote the
lessons we learn from … stories are best applied to a similar study of life in general … At its most successful, fiction offers us devices for interpreting reality.
(If you aren’t familiar with Tan’s work, look out for The Arrival, Cicada (winner of the Picture Book of the Year at last year’s CBCA Awards) and Tales from the Inner City, among others).
Research from New Zealand suggests teens like to read books which make them laugh, “let them use their imagination, have a mystery or problem to solve, have characters they wish they could be like”. Based on this, here are some recommendations to add to your reading list for teens.
Reading list for teens
Books for years 10-12
Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton said:
When I was a young adult I cherished those books that took me seriously, that acknowledged the world was a complicated and often troubled place.
Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren does just that.
Hope Street is a fictional Australian street with a diverse population. This diversity is replicated in the book’s multiple-voice narrative structure. The voices are initially separate but come together in a way that reflects the development of the community. The characters range in age from school children to a Vietnam war veteran and include a refugee family.
Hope Street has messages of tolerance, love, courage, friendship and the importance of family.
Read more: 21 books turned into kids’ movies that will inspire non-readers
Novels invite the reader to imagine themselves as the characters and understand other people’s situations. In The Things That Will Not Stand, by Michael Gerard Bauer, two teenagers, Sebastian and Tolly, attend a university open day together.
They meet a girl who is not quite what she seems but who so intrigues Sebastian, he stays on long after Tolly has gone home and the open day activities have finished, just so he can see her again. The action takes place on just one day, a day which both boys will remember for ever.
There are some very funny scenes throughout the book, usually involving Tolly.
This book will particularly appeal to readers at the upper levels of secondary school, inviting them to imagine themselves in the place of the characters.
Maggie Stiefvater sets this book in a remote Colorado town, Bicho Raro, where a most unusual family lives – a family that appears to perform miracles. Into this tiny town comes Pete, whose application to join the army has been rejected and he is seeking to come to terms with that disappointment by hitchhiking.
He has been picked up by Tony, a DJ trying to escape fame and heading to Bicho Raro because he has heard about the family that can perform miracles.
Their visit changes both of them for the better. There is a lot here for older teenage readers as the book involves romance and humour, and has touches of magic and fantasy.
Stiefvaster also explores concepts of good and bad and the importance of knowing ourselves.
Read more: Young adult fiction’s dark themes give the hope to cope
This novel by Cath Crowley is largely set in the delightfully-named secondhand bookshop, Howling Books.
It is a paean of praise to books, the important part they can play in our lives and helping us come to terms with grief.
This is also a celebration of words and friendship, with characters older readers will relate to.
Books for years 7-9
Ancient Crete is the setting for Wendy Orr’s Dragonfly Song. The book tells of those chosen to be the tribute to the Bull King (he chooses a tribute every year).
The outcast girl, called No-Name by everyone, seizes the opportunity to become one of the tributes, a task she knows to be demanding and often dangerous. She will have to brave the bloody bull dances in his royal court.
Will she actually survive the test?
The book is inspired by the legend of the Minotaur. It is thoroughly researched, lyrically written and invites readers to imagine themselves in No-name’s place.
A group of students and their teacher, separated from the others on a school excursion, find an odd-looking book in a deserted house. Emily Rodda beautifully uses the device of a story within a story in His Name Was Walter.
What happens next is mysterious and intriguing as past and present combine. The ending is both poignant and satisfying.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Imagine finding yourself stranded in an unknown wilderness without a mobile phone. This is exactly what happens to Brian in Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.
It’s a kind of modern Robinson Crusoe story, first published in 1986 before the proliferation of mobile phones.
In this adventure, Brian has to be inventive and resilient to survive. The book is the first in a series of five. One review suggested, for many readers, Hatchet was “the first school-assigned book they fell in love with”.
How would life be without bees? How would the pollination of plants, so essential to life on earth, happen?
This intriguing story, by Bren MacDibble, explores that idea and sets up a scenario where children do the pollinating – but only the bravest and quickest.
Penny longs to be one of these, but can she, especially when it looks as though she might be taken away from the life she has known?
Margot Hillel, Professor, Children’s Literature, Australian Catholic University. This article is republished and adapted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
What would you add to a reading list for teens?
Feature image by Prasanna Kumar; boy in library by Samantha Hentosh
Next week, across Australia, kids are due to return to the classroom. Most will go back one day a week, building up to five days by the end of the term (this varies from state to state and school to school – for example, at the time of writing, there is no date set for Victoria’s kids to return to school). Apart from the logistical nightmare one day a week poses for both schools and parents (hello, three kids here, each attending the same school on a different day), many parents are concerned about whether it’s safe for kids to go back at all. This article, originally published on The Conversation, written by three independent experts in child health, infectious diseases and microbiology, might provide some comfort.
Authors: Asha Bowen, Telethon Kids Institute; Christopher Blyth, University of Western Australia, and Kirsty Short, The University of Queensland
In mid March, cases of COVID-19 – the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 – dramatically increased in Australia and the government responded with an effective public health strategy. People who could, shifted to working from home, social distancing measures were applied and Australians experienced life in isolation.
Somewhere in the mix, kids stopped attending school. While the federal government has consistently maintained it is safe for schools to remain open, other states like Victoria and NSW told parents to keep their children at home if they could.
We are now in a different phase of the pandemic in Australia. With cases dropping, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced students would be making a staggered approach back to classrooms from the third week of the second term – initially for one day a week, then for more time on campus as the term progresses. Schools in Western Australia reopen on Wednesday April, 29.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the same social distancing rules as in the community did not apply in the classroom. He said:
The 1.5m in classrooms and the four square metre rule is not a requirement of the expert medical advice for students in classrooms.
Closure of schools has meant kids not seeing their friends and a disruption to their usual education routine.
For some children fears of violence, hunger and lack of safety, that are usually modified through school attendance, have become more real. Inequality and mental health needs have likely become more apparent for some children.
Related: I’m going to miss lockdown in lots of unexpected ways
The federal and state governments who say it is safe for children to return to to the classroom are working off the latest evidence.
Here are five reasons we know it’s safe
1. Kids get infected with coronavirus at much lower rates than adults
This is the case in Australia and throughout the world. There are no clear explanations for this yet, but it is a consistent finding across the pandemic.
Although SARS-CoV-2 can cause COVID-19 in school-aged children, it rarely does and children with the disease have mild symptoms.
Fewer than 150 children below 15 years have been infected with SARS-COV-2 in Australia since the pandemic began. This is compared to the 6,695 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia at 25 April, 2020.
2. Children rarely get severely ill from COVID-19
Data from around the world and Australia have confirmed children very rarely require hospitalisation, and generally only experience mild symptoms, when infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Deaths in children due to COVID-19 are incredibly rare. Very few children globally have been confirmed to have died from the virus (around 20 by our calculations), in comparison to more than 200,000 overall deaths.
Many parents have worried their kids’ friends could be infected with the virus without showing symptoms. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. A study in Iceland showed children without symptoms were not detected to have COVID-19. No child below ten years of age without symptoms was found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in this study.
3. Children don’t spread COVID-19 disease like adults
During the yearly flu season, children spread the flu to friends and grandparents alike. But COVID-19 behaves differently. In household clusters in China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Iran, fewer than 10% of children were the primary spreader – meaning the virus goes from adult to adult much more effectively than from children to other children, or even children to adults. The same has been found in new studies in The Netherlands.
We still don’t know why this is. It takes us all by surprise as kids with snotty noses are always blamed (and probably responsible) for driving the annual round of winter coughs and colds.
It takes us all by surprise as kids with snotty noses are always blamed (and probably responsible) for driving the annual round of winter coughs and colds.
4. School children in Australia with COVID-19 haven’t spread it to others
Schools where cases have been diagnosed in Australia have not seen any evidence of secondary spread.
This means even with kids sitting right next to each other in the classroom, they are very unlikely to infect their friends.
5. There is no evidence closing schools will control transmission
Modelling shows only a small incremental public health benefit to closing schools in the case of usual respiratory viruses such as influenza. But COVID-19 is quite different to flu, so any of the benefits seen for influenza are likely to be even less in the case of COVID-19.
During the 2003 SARS outbreak, school transmission was not found to be a significant contributor to the outbreak and school closures did not influence the control of transmission.
Back to school doesn’t mean back to normal
Schools reopening does not mean a return to education as it was before. Other measures may also be put in place, like staggering lunch breaks, limiting face to face contact between staff and parents and regular hand-washing breaks.
Kids with a cold or other symptoms must stay home from school. And older teachers or those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of complications if infected with SARS-CoV-2 will have altered responsibilities.
It is important parents and the public differentiate between schools reopening from all the other important strategies used to reduce transmission still in place. These include social distancing, travel restrictions, case isolation and quarantine, and banning of large gatherings.
Read more: The kids doing school from home is going to kill me
But returning to schools is safe. Our leaders are advised on this issue by some of the best infectious diseases, public health and microbiology physicians in Australia, who have repeatedly said that schools can safely remain open.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has provided sensible advice for schools to reopen. It makes sense to get our kids back to doing what they do best.
Asha Bowen, Head, Skin Health, Telethon Kids Institute; Christopher Blyth, Paediatrician, Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist, University of Western Australia, and Kirsty Short, Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
How are you feeling about the return to the classroom?
Feature image by Monkey Business / Deposit Photos; backpack by Matt Ragland / Unsplash