Online classes for children: Is it necessary, or to join in the fun?

Wang Qianqian, a parent in Wuhan, was "a little surprised" when she received a call from a kindergarten teacher.

The content of the call was, "Due to repeated epidemics, kindergartens have been suspended and turned to online teaching."

In Wang Qianqian's mind, a series of questions popped up: Can the child be so young, can he take online classes well?

What's in the online class?

Does the kindergarten charge for online classes at home?

In February 2020, at the beginning of the epidemic in Wuhan, the relevant person in charge of the Ministry of Education made it clear that online teaching activities in kindergartens are strictly prohibited.

But at present, the phenomenon of kindergartens turning to online teaching can be seen everywhere.

Since March, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other regions affected by the epidemic have issued notices of suspension of classes, all of which have made it clear that primary and secondary schools have switched to online teaching, but whether kindergartens adopt online teaching, local policies are inconsistent.

Recently, Handan City, Hebei Province has required "suspending classes without stopping learning and teaching at home", "the city's primary and secondary schools and kindergartens have followed the order, and the city's education and teaching activities have been smoothly transformed from offline to online."

Yu'an District, Lu'an City, Anhui Province issued the "Work Plan for Online Teaching in Kindergartens", requiring "immediate online teaching".

Are kindergartens suitable for online teaching during the closure of the epidemic?

What concerns do parents have?

What does the kindergarten online course teach and how does it work?

Online teaching in primary and secondary schools has become the norm. Should relevant policies be introduced to strictly regulate online teaching in kindergartens?

Reporters conducted an investigation.

1. Parents are "in a hurry" and children "can't sit still"

  Ai Hong is a parent in Qingdao.

The child is more than 3 years old and goes to a small class.

  During the suspension of classes, Ai Hong was pulled into a new parent group. There were only 5 parents and teachers in the group.

Classes are bilingual, teaching English songs or practicing English conversation, each class is about 20 minutes.

  "The child can't sit still." Ai Hong described, "When the teacher was teaching songs, the child would run away if he didn't pay attention. Sometimes, the child could not be found on the screen, and all he saw were the parents' faces. , or the screams of children, and only the teacher laughed awkwardly there."

  Ai Hong said frankly: "There are almost no children who can sit in front of the screen and finish the class from beginning to end."

  When practicing English conversation, children can barely keep up with the rhythm with the help of Ai Hong.

"This kind of online teaching has made me in a hurry, and my older grandparents are even more confused." Ai Hong said.

  Possibly because of "ineffective teaching", the course ended in less than a month.

Later, Ai Hong no longer participated in any online teaching activities held by the kindergarten.

  On February 11, 2020, the relevant person in charge of the Ministry of Education stated that there are no uniform mandatory requirements for online courses in the lower grades of primary schools, and parents and students can choose voluntarily; online teaching activities in kindergartens are strictly prohibited.

  But two years later, online teaching in kindergartens can be seen everywhere.

The same is online teaching, what is the difference between the implementation effect of kindergarten and primary and secondary schools?

  Xu Jia, a kindergarten teacher in Changzhou, Jiangsu, analyzed that online teaching in primary and secondary schools is largely due to the similarity between online classrooms and actual classrooms in primary and secondary schools, and the students are more mature in their minds and can be supervised without adult on-site supervision. Complete learning tasks independently.

The kindergarten curriculum is mainly based on games, and the teacher is on the other side of the screen, unable to complete the game support for the child.

"Online courses in kindergartens cannot replace the daily education of kindergarten's 'curriculum gamification'." Xu Jia said.

  Judging from the characteristics of children's age and physical and mental development, their attention spans are short, and their thinking is active, so they cannot achieve self-discipline.

Xu Jia said: "From this point of view, online teaching is of little significance."

  The reporter's survey found that at present, online teaching in kindergartens is mainly divided into two categories.

One is that the teacher records the video and pushes it to the parent group, and the parents voluntarily choose whether to watch the learning.

The other type is real-time interactive teaching, in which parents, children and teachers sit in front of the screen and complete teaching tasks together within the agreed time.

  The online curriculum for a small class in a kindergarten in Changzhou includes interactive courses such as "I love reading", "My hand is skillful" and "Make the home cleaner".

At the same time, a video connection is required from 7:00 to 7:20 every night.

  "When teaching online, children stay in a relatively familiar and relaxed home environment, and their attention is easily distracted. In addition, children's eyes are still developing, and it is not suitable to watch electronic products for a long time. The drawbacks of online education will soon become apparent. It will be reflected," Xu Jia added.

2. Parents are worried about their children's vision, and eye health experts do not agree with online teaching

  After receiving a phone call for online learning, Wang Qianqian asked a group of parents and quickly reached an agreement with them: reject online classes.

"Mainly considering the children's vision problems, staring at the screen for online classes is very harmful to the eyes," she said.

  The reason why parents oppose online teaching cannot be ignored, that is, the trend of myopia at a younger age is obvious.

Even during the suspension of classes due to the epidemic, they did not dare to "put down their precautions".

  During the consultation process, He Xiangui, director of the Clinical Research Center of the Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Control Center, found that there are more and more myopia patients in preschool children, "This is not caused by genetics, but because of the long-term use of tablets and computers, lack of sufficient caused by outdoor activities".

  From the perspective of protecting eyesight, there are clear standards for how long preschool children use electronic products.

The "Specifications for Eye Care and Vision Examination Services for Children Aged 0-6 (Trial)" issued by the National Health and Health Commission clarifies that preschool children should try to avoid contact with electronic products such as video screens, and use them for no more than 20 minutes each time.

  The "Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Myopia in Children and Adolescents During Epidemic Home Isolation" formulated by the Shanghai Eye Disease Control Center and other units shows that the screen time of preschool children should not exceed 1 hour per day.

  "Once kindergartens turn to online teaching, these time requirements will be difficult to control. What's more, parents have misunderstandings in the understanding of which screen tools to use." He Xiangui said that parents usually take online courses for granted as the use of computers and Tablet class, but few people choose to cast the class on the TV or projector.

The use of televisions and projectors is a medium-distance eye, and the use of a computer and a tablet is a close-range eye.

  "The eye load is completely different from the middle distance and the short distance." He Xiangui explained that preschool children are a critical period for eye development, the eyeball gradually grows, and the axial length of the eye becomes longer. , this process is called the "faceting process".

  "If the hyperopia reserve is depleted too quickly, it will become myopia prematurely." He Xiangui explained that the hyperopia reserve can be understood as a "buffer" for the development of "confrontation" to myopia.

  In August 2020, the Ministry of Education surveyed 14,532 students in 9 provinces and found that during the epidemic, the overall myopia rate of students increased by 11.7%, of which primary school students increased by 15.2%.

  "Beginning in the first grade of primary school, due to academic pressure and increased need for eye use, the hyperopia reserve will enter a stage of rapid consumption." Therefore, He Xiangui clearly opposes online teaching in kindergartens, "If you want myopia not to happen or to happen later, you should It must be ensured that there is sufficient hyperopia reserve at least before entering the primary school level, that is, the preschool stage."

  "For children who are in isolation at home, the most critical problem is lack of exposure to sunlight." He Xiangui suggested that children should be exposed to sunlight as much as possible on their own balconies, windows or courtyards, and regularly look out the window 6 meters away. It is also a beneficial eye protection method to develop some sports games suitable for indoor use.

3. Online classes cannot be used as a "shield" for less refunds

  Vision is only one of the reasons for "refusing online classes".

  Wang Qianqian's son's kindergarten is a private kindergarten located in a community in Wuhan. The tuition fee (teaching fee) is about 500 yuan a day.

Previously, the kindergarten stated that during the online teaching period, tuition fees will be charged according to normal standards.

  "Such a young child's online class is simply a waste of money." Wang Qianqian made such a voice in a WeChat group, which resonated with some parents.

  Someone replied: "Our kindergarten sends a 50-minute video a day, and we are unwilling to refund the tuition after taking the online class." Another replied: "After sending two videos, you want to charge the tuition normally?"

  Some parents also told reporters: "During the online class, the kindergarten did not refund the tuition fee, but postponed the meal fee for one month." The kindergarten replied that the school still has expenses such as maintenance, operation and logistics services during the epidemic, so it cannot be refunded.

  There have been media reports before that during the epidemic, parents and the garden often had disputes over whether online classes count as children attending classes.

Some kindergartens do not give full refunds on the grounds that they "taken online classes" for their children.

  "For cost reasons, kindergartens tend to equate online teaching with normal teaching", this statement was confirmed in the communication between Wang Qianqian and the kindergarten director.

  After a long "tug-of-war", the parents proposed that they should not participate in online teaching and postpone the class time, that is, to oppose the practice of online teaching but normal fees, and the park finally "reluctantly accepted".

  Wang Qianqian is fortunate, "the school is only suspended for a week, but fortunately it is not long."

  In the face of the situation that kindergartens in various places cannot start normally, many private kindergartens are unable to cover their expenses during the epidemic prevention and control period and have difficulty in operating.

The Ministry of Education has issued a document requesting localities to formulate support policies for private kindergartens.

Some localities have also successively introduced policies and measures to private kindergartens, including financial subsidies, rent reductions and exemptions, tax reductions and exemptions, and financial support.

4. Flexibly arrange home linkage to guide parents to accompany them with high quality

  "The epidemic is serious. For the sake of children's health, I am willing to accept systematic online classes." Chen Guo, a parent from Xiangtan, Hunan, is not opposed to online teaching in kindergartens.

  "Online classes are not taken every day." Chen Guo introduced that there was a half-hour online interaction on Monday, which was regarded as a collective education activity.

From Tuesday to Friday, the teacher pushes a small video every day. The video content includes language games, music games, and sports games.

From Chen Guo's point of view: "While staying at home, keeping children in a state of learning and exploration is the ultimate goal."

  "By arranging online teaching, children can keep the same routine as the kindergarten, so that they will not be separated from the group for a long time and be in a state of complete laissez-faire, which is beneficial to children's growth." Cai Yingqi, a professor at Central China Normal University and a subject leader in preschool education, said.

  Liu Linfang, director of the Preschool Education Development Research Center of Changchun Normal University, also suggested that "kindergartens can regularly release some information on parent-child activities and scientific parenting guidance to guide parents to accompany their children with high quality."

  During the epidemic, should the education department introduce unified and clearer normative measures in response to the differences in the policies for online teaching in kindergartens in different places?

  "During the suspension of classes, home co-education should still be based on the principle of adapting measures to local conditions and applying precise policies. One case for one class in one kindergarten, choosing an appropriate model, flexibly arranging home linkages during home periods, and advocating resource push and other methods to guide parents to scientifically arrange their children at home. Games and life," suggested Hong Xiumin, director of the Preschool Education Research Institute of Beijing Normal University.

(Reporter Chen Peng of this newspaper) (A pseudonym is used in this article)

Electronic product usage time

  ●The online learning time of primary school students shall not exceed 20 minutes each time; the online learning time of middle school students shall not exceed 30 minutes each time.

  ●Preschool children spend no more than 1 hour on the screen every day, and school-age children and adolescents spend no more than 2 hours on the screen every day.

Younger children and adolescents should have less screen time.

Electronic product selection and placement

  ●It is advisable to choose large-size screens such as projectors, TVs, and desktop computers, and try to choose electronic products with high screen resolution.

  ●The viewing distance of the TV is not less than 4 times the diagonal distance of the screen, the horizontal viewing distance of the computer is not less than 50 cm, and the viewing distance of the mobile phone is not less than 40 cm.

Eye behavior and eye health

  ●For more than 20 to 30 minutes of continuous online study time or video time, it is advisable to look at a distance 6 meters away for at least 10 minutes.

  ●During the interval between online learning, consciously close and open your eyes with a little force, turn your eyes up and down, left and right, and relax your eyes.

  ●Do eye exercises after cleaning your hands, no less than 2 times a day.

Outdoor activity

  ● Living in a low-risk community, primary and secondary school students should spend no less than 2 hours a day in outdoor activities, preschool children are encouraged to spend no less than 3 hours, and children and adolescents with myopia should spend more time outdoors.

  ●If you live in a non-low-risk community, you can wear a mask in open spaces and perform non-strenuous outdoor activities.

(The above content is from "Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Myopia in Children and Adolescents During Home Isolation of Infectious Diseases" [WS/T 773-2020], compiled by our reporter Chen Peng)