Today Is The Last Distant School Day In Primary And Middle Schools In Finland

in #education11 months ago


Tomorrow on May 14, schools will open for grades 1-9, almost exactly two months after all schools were closed for everyone except those in grades 1-3 whose parents are unable to work from home. In secondary education, distant learning continues until the end of the term, which is on Saturday May 30 this year. This year, that would've been the day for spring festivals. I don't know whether there will be graduation ceremonies for secondary school graduates at all this year or whether they will be online like in Japan.

I must say I have enjoyed my daughter's distant school. She's typically had one real-time lesson per day, usually from nine to ten or from ten to eleven am, which is good because it has helped keep her sleep schedule from slipping. Otherwise she's been working on assignments she and her classmates have been given. We have done yard work or taken walks and reported those as her physical education. It's been working pretty well.

My daughter herself said there have been both negatives and positives to distant school. She said it has been harder to stay motivated outside the classroom environment. On the other hand, she's enjoyed not having to get up as early. She's not typically very hungry right after getting out of bed, which has allowed her to just go to the bathroom and join her one real-time distant class shortly afterwards and have breakfast after the class. That's been very convenient for us all. My daughter has a couple of friends in her class but most of her social interaction is online with an American girl her age and another one who lives in London, UK. Mentally her development is clearly ahead of most of her peer group. One morning when she was eight years old, she and I were at the breakfast table when she'd tell me about what she'd learned about the connection between telomeres, cancer, DNA error accumulation and aging. She'd learned that by watching English language videos about these topics on the Internet. Her understanding was correct as far as I could tell. I ran it by a biochemist friend of mine. If all she'd been doing online had been gaming or being engrossed in passive entertainment of one kind or another, then we would've restricted her Internet use much more. But how can you tell a kid you're not allowing her to quench that kind of thirst for knowledge?

Gradually, teachers and schools have honed their distant teaching methods. For instance, last week's PE class involved printing a route map with an online app and posting selfies from along the way. The kids were required to cycle or walk/jog a 3 km/10 km route. My wife told me there are plans to use distant learning increasingly in schools in the future.

The kids will go back to school for two and a half weeks. In a way, it's a good thing because it allows teachers to take stock of who is in need of remedial classes to catch up with the rest or other help. The schools are prepared for enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures during the day. Children are less likely to contract the virus or have a severe form of the disease. Daycare facilities have been open for a subset of the children the whole time and there have been no significant outbreaks among small children. The kids going back to school allows for an analysis of the results before the next term begins in mid-August.

How have the lockdown/social distancing measures affected schools in your country?

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