From Physical to Digital Connection
In a period when face-to-face learning and classroom interaction has become limited, we are determined to continue connecting with learners and parents (including legal guardians). We must admit, it will take time to return to the same life we all lived before the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent events have compelled us to consider alternative ways of exchanging information. In 2020, we had to quickly learn to use the various web-based tools to connect with learners, however; this remained a huge challenge. We managed to connect with a few learners who had access to smartphones and data. For most of those learners, it was also difficult to adapt to the new norm.
At TheLAG, we have accepted that web-based learning activities will increase over the next years. Also, we are one of many after-school programmes that plan to use both physical and digital connection when interacting with learners in future. We hope that all learners and parents begin to realise that there is an urgent need to embrace digital connection as one of the new norms, if not the most important one.
TheLAG Community blog aims to,
- Create a community of learners and parents who are committed to education and learning, share useful ideas, and generate meaningful dialogue, via a digital connection.
- Continue to offer psychosocial support to learners and parents.
- Provide tools, tips, advice, and practical solutions needed to deal with various challenges that impact teens.
- Use a centralised platform so that participants can learn from one another.
- Create a network of specialist bloggers and parents who can contribute useful ideas, and quickly respond to the needs of learners and parents.
Our children must not be left behind.
Web-based learning is fast becoming a quicker way of connecting with learners and parents, in fact in some parts of South Africa and the world, it already is. Within this context, we encourage learners and parents in the townships and rural areas to invest in smartphones and data. Learning to navigate the internet or the worldwide web (www), as it is known, is another critical skill that we all could develop with good practice. This, however; must start from minds and hearts, and the appreciation that digital connection will drive teaching and learning from now on.
We must all consider the negative impact on learners who risk being left behind because they lack access to basic smartphones, computers, and data.
- They will be left behind with schoolwork and related activities, including all other interaction that requires internet access and usage skills.
- We will begin to see frustrated learners who are ready to drop out, and we know that the school dropout rate is already a big crisis in South Africa.
If we do not act now, our teens are going to be left far behind. Moreover, the type of teaching and learning that will now take place will widen the gap between those who embrace digital connection and those who do not.
“Meeting learners who still battle to use or navigate the internet is always concerning.”
How will Learners and Teens benefit from this blog?
Would you like to have on your side a trusted team that strives to understand and support your dreams and aspirations, a team that provides real solutions to your life and career-related challenges? A long list of topics that are aligned with TheLAG Programmes, will be discussed. We plan to focus on issues that impact the well-being and progress of teens in life and at school.
Most importantly, we need learners to reach out to us for support, advice and seek solutions to the challenges they face in their homes, community, and school. We have, over the past two years worked directly with many learners from youth development programmes and in various communities in SOWETO. With this wonderful group, we started an exciting learning process and journey. They still benefit from free career coaching, including advice and guidance on many issues that they bring to us. We have maintained close relationships that are based on trust, respect and providing solutions. Visit The Learner Advancement Group | Facebook to read about the exciting initiatives and interaction we had with learners between 2019 and 2020.
You could also be facing challenges in some areas of your life, as you grow and progress through high school. Below are some examples, posed as questions and statements.
Personal, Social, and Family
- Are you dealing with identity issues and need support?
- Do you suffer from comparison, do you often feel that everyone around you is doing far better than you?
- Do you have low self-esteem, but compensate it with anger and or bad behaviour?
- Are you always sad for no reason, and do you feel it is hard for you to make friends?
- Are you experiencing negative peer pressure, and are not sure how to handle it?
- Are you becoming a bully, making other people’s lives difficult in the community and at school?
- Are you angry at your parents, siblings and even life, for no clear reason?
- You may not fully understand your behaviour, and or the behaviour of others around you.
- Are you dealing with a sexual orientation challenge, and have a need to talk to someone?
- Do you sometimes have suicidal thoughts?
- Are your habits becoming bad, and you wish to get advice from a person you can trust?
- Have you started dating, and you feel it may impact your progress at school?
School, Career, and Future
- Have you become a source of negative peer pressure within your group or in class?
- Do you feel hate towards some of your teachers, and finding it difficult to attend school?
- Do you feel discouraged, less interested in school, and education in general?
- Do you have unclear life and career dreams, and you fail to establish career interests?
- Are your parents interested in your dreams, do they make time for this discussion?
- Are you always willing to discuss your career plans with your parents, or is this a topic you avoid at all costs?
- Do you need additional information to help you stay focused on your goals?
- Do you need tips on good study habits and techniques?
- Do you need tips on how to select subject streams in Grade 10?
- Do you need advice on how to start preparing for Grade 11 and the application process that resumes in Grade 12?
- Do you have your high school exit plan or strategy written down somewhere, and does it look like you can achieve it?
- Do you need tips on how to develop internet usage skills?
- Would you like our team to visit your school or your class to address a serious matter that impacts you as a group?
- Can we help and guide you when applying at NSFAS and Institutions of High Learning?
- Do you need help with navigating the complex online application platforms?
The topics will focus on the questions and statements raised above, but; we get more excited when learners reach out to us and ask for support. Learners, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, take added responsibility, and use our services. We are here for you. Where we establish serious cases of teenage depression and other serious matters, we will be able to refer you to the relevant professionals.
“We get excited to discuss life challenges that took us years to understand and accept. When we share useful tips and ways to overcome them, we help our teens in navigating a challenging environment.”
How will Parents and Guardians benefit from this blog?
Would you like to have a trusted team on your side, that cares deeply about the progress of your child in life and at school? We are that team. We are your trusted partner in resolving challenges that impact the well-being and progress of your child throughout high school. When parents understand and appreciate our role, we can develop what we call: “TheLAG-Learner-Parent relationship”. We begin to take a united approach in helping learners, therefore becoming a powerful learning community that achieves a bigger impact.
Together we can save a child at risk, a child who is about to quit school or commit suicide. We can achieve great things when we all work together, and by showing our children that we care and willing to support them. We also invite parents who are professionals and subject experts who can respond to questions and share ideas and solutions.
We urge parents to participate in the TheLAG Community forum, but also ensure that their learners do not miss our posts. Most important, we encourage you to be the voice of reason and influence learners to reach out to us.
We hope to see more engagement and participation on TheLAG Community blog. The engagement must be driven by the realisation that digital connection will be a thing of the future. The internet, social media and other web-based tools will drive teaching and learning going forward, and the LAG team embraces this new norm. We are inviting learners and parents to join us. As we have observed, schools and institutions of higher learning are fast moving towards a virtual connection. This demands that we invest in smartphones, computers, data, and relevant skills.
We also hope to see more learners and teens taking additional responsibility by looking for solutions to challenges that impact them. This will be demonstrated by reaching out to us and asking for help. As a learner, you need not hold back, this service is available to you and for free. Do not let yourself down by not acting, right now.
Learners and Parents can contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org