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Has my child’s education suffered as a result of the pandemic? It’s a thought which has likely crossed the mind of every Australian parent over the past 18 months. Much has been written and will continue to be written about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unfolding effects – especially on young people.

Children and students have faced the biggest upheavals during this pandemic, in terms of disruption to key developmental milestones and curtailments in their learning journey. Make no mistake, our kids have demonstrated incredible resilience, and teachers have done an admirable job at shepherding students to successful learning outcomes. However, this period of crisis learning has come at a price, as we confront the learning losses or gaps our children are now experiencing.

Our friends at Cluey Learning are addressing this dilemma head-on, with their online tutoring support for students in years 2-12 across English, Maths and Chemistry. They have witnessed first-hand, the effects of the pandemic on student performance and morale, and are helping anxious students and parents alike, regain confidence and get back on track.

Individualised attention to close learning gaps

The rapid shift to large-scale remote learning during the pandemic when most schools did not have sufficient digital infrastructure, has meant that aspects of the curriculum have naturally fallen to the wayside. Emphasis was rightfully placed on training staff and students to operate in an online classroom format and nurturing wellbeing in a highly challenging time – nonetheless, concessions were made in terms of learning benchmarks.

In the return to physical classrooms, schools are still navigating the fallout and resetting the progress bar for students, but they are limited in providing the individualised attention many students may require. Problematically, the one-to-many classroom model characteristic of our schools does not cater to this one-on-one support, due to large class sizes. The education sector is also facing looming teacher shortages, so it is not realistic to rely on schools to provide your child extra resources to compensate for pandemic-related learning losses.

The other major obstacle to individualised attention concerning your child’s education is that parents are generally not given insight into how their child is really performing until the release of report cards or exam results – at which point it is too late. Regular feedback throughout the term and visibility of that feedback is crucial to uncovering learning challenges and nipping them in the bud. Cluey Learning’s recent survey found that 41% of Australian parents think their child learnt less than normal during home-based schooling, reinforcing the need for greater learning scrutiny.

Leveraging outside, professional help

In response to these teacher limitations during at-home learning, Cluey Learning’s abovementioned survey found that a staggering 85% of parents with primary school children spent at least a couple of hours each day supporting their child’s home learning during the April-May lockdowns of 2020. Although schools have reopened for the most part, you may still be dedicating time to provide tutoring for your child in areas they’re struggling with. In addition to the time burden, some parents understandably worry they aren’t properly qualified to deliver this teaching, whether it’s literacy or numeracy-based.

Enter online tutoring, as a better solution for personalised learning for your child. Cluey Learning has 1,044+ tutors who are either registered teachers or high-ATAR achieving university students. Every tutor undergoes rigorous training and receives ongoing support from Cluey Learning’s in-house education team, and all of their learning content is developed by expert educators and mapped to the Australian National Curriculum. They recognise that each student’s path is different, and each Cluey Learning program is tailored to the student’s specific needs and learning goals.

Harnessing technology’s learning insights

At this stage of the global pandemic, there is consensus that technology has been a life preserver for learning, but we’ve also come to realise that education technology or ‘edtech’ is only as good as the humans who facilitate it. Many of the challenges or hiccups in the online learning experiment of 2020 can be tied back to a lack of familiarity with systems and a schools’ ability to roll them out effectively.

Technology will be an increasing fixture of your child’s life, and the majority of students embrace and even thrive in this learning environment when it is done right. In the context of tutoring, the provision of technology has shaken things up for the better. Think for a moment about the tutoring you may have had in your own childhood. It usually involved an older student or adult sitting in a room with you to revise concepts, using a method that was not necessarily validated by or mapped to the national curriculum. At the end of the session, a parent was usually none the wiser about any tangible progress, and the proof of success (or failure) was the child’s performance in their next test.

Technology offers something more tangible and timely – learning analytics to validate your child’s progress, in the moment. Once again, this can be somewhat hidden from parents when it’s at the discretion of their school, but it’s a different story with online tutoring. Case in point, Cluey Learning’s interactive online platform forms the basis of their tutoring model and captures all learning and feedback online, in an accessible way for parents and students.

In the Cluey online platform, students and tutors communicate via video and audio, with collaboration features housed in an intuitive and interactive workspace. Crucially, it allows parents and teachers to gauge progress more incrementally, and offers ongoing feedback after each session that is important for assessment outcomes and student confidence.

Addressing morale, attitude to learning and mental health 

Evaluating how the pandemic will be felt in subsequent schooling years, is not just a matter of looking at end-of-term grades. The impact on learning can start earlier, and be less overt. If you asked your child how their study habits and motivation compares to what it was pre-pandemic, how do you think they would answer?

Even if grades haven’t slipped, a flurry of research on ‘generation COVID’ has demonstrated that study habits, morale and mental health of students have taken a dip. The psychological impact of the pandemic cannot be overstated and may outlast the leniency previously afforded to students in their assessment requirements.

The effects of a disrupted schooling year may be particularly pronounced for students who were in a transitional year between primary and secondary schools (year 6 or 7), or had entered a senior year (years 11 and 12). In Cluey Learning’s survey, over 90% of senior students say the recent disruption to normal schooling was a stressful experience. Furthermore, modelling by Orygen, the national centre for youth mental health, and University of Melbourne, indicated “up to a 30 per cent increase in need for care for young people sustained over the coming months and years.”

Restoring confidence in students to take back control of their learning must become a priority for teachers and parents. While returning to the normality of physical schools with peer contact will do much to reverse the drop in morale and strengthen school bonds, additional guidance in the form of tutoring can be beneficial to getting your child back on track faster, and more smoothly.

Research has unequivocally proven that students perform better when they have a positive relationship with their teachers. Cluey Learning’s tutoring philosophy is centred on building confidence, granting students a trusted adviser who is invested in their success. In fact, 85% of Cluey parents agree their child is more confident as a result of their tutoring.

A special offer from the experts in online tutoring

Since its inception, Cluey Learning has delivered over 300,000 online tutoring sessions and supported over 25,000 primary and secondary school students. They’re on a mission to rectify learning gaps and losses for Australian students in the aftermath of the pandemic, and beyond. Whether you want your child to catch up or keep up in the current school year across English, Maths or Chemistry, Cluey Learning can provide peace of mind that you’re giving them all the tools for academic success.

There’s never been a better time to join, as Kiddipedia readers can take advantage of a wonderful offer from Cluey Learning – 20% off enrolment for new customers (or for existing customers, 20% off an additional subject or child to their account).

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