In the wake of the COVID-19 which has resulted in a national lockdown of the Republic of Mauritius, students are physically unable to attend school. Some private educational institutions have online teaching platforms and resources. The Mauritius Institute of Education and the Open University of Mauritius have set up an online Special Support Programme for Grades 7-9 students. That does not mean that other students should while away their time with no sense of purpose. So, what can they do?

BHAWNA ATMARAM

Prepare a Timetable

We must start with the basics. Remember, confinement does not mean ‘time off’! We are not in vacation mode. A timetable about how to go about the day is highly useful for the whole family. The days will seem endless. Nerves might be running high. A family timetable will ground students, especially the younger ones, about how to allocate their time judiciously to all subjects. Of course, all work and no play makes one dull. So, parents would have to bear work and play in mind when preparing the timetable.

Revision Work

Students must judiciously use their confinement to undertake revision and remedial work. Now is the time to go through what they have learnt in a detailed manner. They can rework past exercises, go through their notes and consolidate what has been taught at school so far. Parents and siblings can be a source of encouragement and mutual support during the confinement period.

Self Learning

At the beginning of the year, students have been given their syllabus. They can be proactive by trying to figure out the chapters that are yet to be completed. For those who do not have internet access, they could go through their textbooks which normally contain detailed explanations and illustrations of each chapter. It might seem complex but this will be so rewarding eventually. Read the explanations carefully, try to understand the rationale behind them and work out the exercises. If anyone at home could help, this would be brilliant. For those with internet access, YouTube is a great source of information, where dynamic tutorials are available. Go for it!

Peer Learning

Those with telephone or internet access can also indulge in peer learning, under strict parental supervision of course! By discussing with friends, they could share and learn from another. Peer learning can be fun by getting rid of the actual physical isolation we are going through. Video calls or audio calls are the means to get in touch with one another. Peers could challenge themselves to each prepare a specific piece of work and explain that to each other.

Extensive Reading

Now is the time to grab that book that has been resting on the bookshelf! Read books that have been ignored and reread what you have at home, in case you’ve already read them all. There’s nothing better than to go through great classics again. If you have internet access, you can download ebooks for free. There are so many sites available. Just browse through and download what you want. Scribd has made its digital book collections available for free for thirty days. Just do it!

Watch Documentaries

Whether it is online or cable channels, Netflix or MyT channels which are temporarily available to all Mauritians, enhance your general knowledge. You stand to know about history, nature, culture, geography among others. The sky is the limit! Subtitles are available in English/French to help you better grasp what is being said. Your oral skills can be boosted as you are exposed to second languages. This is a good time to sit down and learn valuable things from the comfort of your couch!

Society Games

Chisel your mind and bond with other family members by playing classic society games such as Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble, dominoes, chess or whatever you have at home. Instead of playing video games on your own, try to consolidate family time. These are precious moments to be cherished together. Sit down, relax, laugh, focus but do not argue to the extent of kicking the Monopoly board!

Chores and DIY

Well, chores can be an enjoyable family time. Students can help out in the kitchen, garden or the house in general, learning priceless skills that are essential in their adult lives. Who knows? The next top chef or couturier can be you! It is the time to collaborate with each other. Depending on what you have at home, make the most of it. Sing, dance, paint, cook, knit, play a musical instrument and write! Time will literally fly!

On a Concluding Note

It is undeniable that the curfew imposed by the government for our safety can be tough at times. Let us hope that things will get back to normal very soon. Be prepared for school resumption by taking on board the tips provided above. I am sure that you have additional helpful tricks up your sleeve. Put them into practice!