The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of changes to the way we live our lives, including education. Where we once got up early, got ready and made our way to school; we are now faced with getting up, getting ready and… making our way downstairs to start remote learning.
Remote learning may feel more familiar to our Fifth Form and Sixth Form pupils, who are used to taking time off school to revise for their A-Levels and GCSE exams. However, for pupils lower down the school, it can feel like a somewhat alien and daunting task.
At King’s, we’ve put together some top tips for getting the most out of remote learning during this time. Nevertheless, these tips will most certainly come in useful for future study leave and university.
1. Set Yourself A Remote Learning Timetable
There’s a reason why schools follow a structured timetable – they’re not just for organising classrooms and teachers’ timetables. Think about the days that you would classify as your ‘favourite’. What is it about them that makes them your favourite? If it’s because you love sport and you have double P.E. & Games that day, incorporate this in by adding in some home workouts or using your government-advised (at time of writing) one session of exercise a day outside of your home to take yourself for a run.
2. Designate a Space for your Learning
It’ll come as no surprise that we do not recommend working from your bed or sofa. Designate a space that is specifically for remote learning, even if that’s simply a seat at your dining room table. It’s important that you feel as if you can ‘switch off’ after you’re done for the day, so sometimes a bedroom dressing table isn’t ideal, as you’re working in the same space as you’re sleeping. However, with many members of a household at home, your bedroom may be an excellent quiet space. This is ideal if you prefer to work without background noise or potential distraction from others.
Make sure you clean your space regularly and have everything you need to work effectively. Getting up and down can create a distraction and lead to procrastination.
3. Prevent Distraction and Procrastination
When it comes to distraction and procrastination, especially if you’re working in a communal area such as the dining room or kitchen table, a pair of headphones really helps. If they’re noise-cancelling, even better. As well as using them to watch lessons on Firefly with minimal disruption, when you’re trying to write an essay or concentrate on the task at hand, classical music is a game-changer.
Our biggest tip to prevent distraction? Put your phone away in another room. If you really can’t trust yourself, give it to someone else in your household to look after until the next block of free time in your schedule. If you do need your phone near you, there are great productivity apps such as Forest (available for free on iOS and Android). With Forest, you plant a tree and set a timer for the tree to grow. If you try and leave the app, your tree will wither and die. It’s essentially the Pomodoro technique, with added virtual consequences for your conscience if you don’t complete the allotted time without distraction.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Remote learning is a new experience for most of us. It’s okay if you are struggling to get into a new way of working and things seem tricky. It’s also completely normal if you feel as if your mind is wandering due to the current period of uncertainty. The distraction and procrastination mentioned previously usually happen more when a task seems too big, you don’t know where to start or you don’t quite understand something.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your subject teacher if you’re not quite understanding a piece of work that has been set or a new topic. Even though you can’t physically go and see your teacher at this time, you can always contact them by email or via Teams. They will be more than happy to help you. You can also seek emotional support from those in your household. Sometimes voicing your feelings can help. You can also contact your tutor for extra support if you’re feeling unsure or you need someone to talk to about something outside of your academics.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Ultimately, our biggest tip with remote learning is to be kind to yourself. At King’s Worcester, we understand that remote learning can take a lot of getting used to and it can take you time to adjust. Make sure you aren’t hard on yourself if you find that some days you’re less productive than others. Make sure you reward yourself with downtime doing things that you enjoy; whether that’s reading your favourite book, relaxing in the garden, watching a few episodes of your favourite programme on Netflix or keeping in touch with friends via virtual platforms. No one is asking you to be perfect and your mental well-being and physical health are paramount.
Celebrate your achievements – whether that’s tackling a topic that you previously found difficult or doing half an hour of solid work without distraction and without looking at your phone. Just remember that your best is all we can ask for and even at home, you’re part of the #KingsCommunity.