Stay active, be kind among at-home learning tips from UBC Okanagan professors during COVID-19 pandemic

With no return to school in sight because of COVID-19, the burden of education is falling on some B.C. parents.

Now, experts from the University of British Columbia Okanagan are offering some guidelines to help support learning at home.

Here are some tips from UBCO’s school of education that will hopefully help you and your child to adapt to this new way of learning.

“Listen for wonderings,” said Margaret Macintyre Latta, director of the Okanagan School of Education at UBCO.

“When learning comes from the child’s own question, then learning does not feel forced and can find direction on its own,” said Latta.

The director says she encourages parents and children to seek resources together to foster ways to learn more and find new questions.

“Stay active,” added Stephen Berg, an associate professor at UBCO.

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“Children and youth are now tasked with being online for hours,” said Berg. “This sedentary time needs to be balanced out with physical activity.”

Physical exercise is extremely important to mental health and well-being, especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Work with the situation you are in, and not against it,” stated Christopher Martin, also an associate professor at UBCO.

“For example, one aim could be critical thinking,” said Martin.

“All the worksheets in the world will not help children to critically think; but something as simple as talking about what they are interested in, and getting to think about different points of view can encourage critical thinking.”

Meanwhile, Sabre Cherkowski, a director of graduate programs at UBCO, said learning happens in spaces and places between people.

“There are the physical spaces where students and teachers gather, and there are also the emotional spaces between us-our relationships,” said Cherkowski.

“These spaces can provide a sense of acceptance, belonging and opportunity.”

As a final piece of advice, everyone at UBCO’s School of Education wants to remind parents of one thing as they attempt to educate their children at home.

“Beyond all else, add an extra ounce of kindness into their days while they are at home with their children,” said John-Tyler Binfet, associate professor at UBCO.

Binfet added “these are trying times for some, but my research has shown that kindness can go a long way during your day-to-day activities.”

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