Unlike the old golden days, we aren’t exposing our children to the physical learning environment where learning was not merely about learning the given topics, listening to teachers, and the formal assessments. Learning was beyond these limitations and the most important aspect of what is missing in the online education is Peer Learning.
If you ask here, what is peer learning? Try to recall your grandma’s and grandpa’s words when they used to emphasize kids for spending time with their age groups rather than sitting and roaming around adults at home. The reason was kids learn and develop better when they exchange ideas, talks, thoughts from one another. Yes, that’s what is peer learning.
The academic development and intellectual skills of children at a growing age get a lot of benefits from the peer learning environment. Research at the Michigan State University suggests students perform much better academically when the answer is provided by their peers rather than their teachers. Students learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others and by participating in activities in which they can learn from their peers.
In addition to acquiring knowledge, a collaborative peer learning group develops self-directed learning skills, laying the foundation for lifelong self-education.
Few major developments that peer learning environment alone can deliver to the children are listed below
- Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
- Promotion of student-teacher interaction.
- Self-esteem, and sense of responsibility.
- Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives
Considering the circumstances in the pandemic era, here are a few tips and guidelines that can fill up the gap of missing peer learning in your child’s daily learning routine.
- Roleplay activity – Make a group of around 4-6 kids and organize an evening drama online session where kids are required to read a common book/story and are given characters from the book/story to play the role. This will give many instant benefits to the kids. They will read the storybook enthusiastically to play their role best. Reading alone can enhance their concentration and vocabulary. Listening and Speaking skills will be enhanced too.
- Digital Inspiration – Help them to go digital and watch some kids’ YouTube videos about the topics/subject they are learning, this will inspire them to learn, read, etc. It might not work in one go but doing it regularly will bring inspiration to the child in better learning.
- Arts and craft Session – Instead of enrolling them to any formal classes, make a group of 4-6 kids and organize an online session where every kid gets a chance to be an instructor and get the arts and crafts activity done. These activities can enhance their art skills, leadership skills, tolerance skills, etc.
- Review Writing – Expressing own thoughts and having the freedom to share own opinion is crucial towards developing to an independent individual and if we let our children do it formally, it will give an added nutrition to their personality. All the books they read, games they play, movies they watch, a restaurant they visit, they can be taught to read what people have to say about it and what they experienced about it. Doing this will also add to their writing skills.
All the above activities have been performed by many students at Junior Authors and the results were quite satisfying and kids involved in these activities are mostly happy, less irritated, and show immense enthusiasm for learning, reading, and writing. Also, It is recommended that the above activities are performed under the guidance of an adult without much interference though so that all internet side effects can be watched.