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What Singaporean students think of home-based learning



Students got their first experience attending lessons from home last week.

Last Wednesday marked the first day of home-based learning for Singapore students

In light of the COVID-19 situation, schools across Singapore started one day of home-based learning: Wednesday for primary schools, Thursday for secondary schools and Friday for all junior colleges and centralised institutes. 

So, what do students think about their first experience of having lessons from home?

Learning in comfort without the hassle of travel

Beyond being able to sleep in a little longer, home-based learning allows students to learn in a more comfortable environment.

"I'm anxious and excited," said IB student Tricia Phua, 16, "I'm excited to learn from home and be in the comfort of my own home, but anxious because I'm worried I cannot keep up or find motivation to do work properly." 

Although these students are "working from home", they still have to complete their homework within a stipulated time period.

Getting to avoid the crowds during morning rush hour is also something students are grateful for. 

"I don't have to spend three hours a day commuting back and forth. No more waking up before the sun rises and having to battle the temptation to sleep in class every single day," said Megan Teo, 18, from Nanyang Junior College. 

Other students felt that there were advantages in studying from home, like being able to cater to different learning speeds. "In school, we must take into consideration the average speed at which everyone studies. This may result in some students lagging behind or preferring a faster paced lesson. Home-based learning allows room for such development," said Im Sing Lu, 16, a CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School student. 

Greater need for self-discipline and independence

Despite the comfort students get to enjoy at home, not all feel positively about home-based learning. 

In a Youth.SG Instagram poll, a majority of respondents said they prefer studying in school than having home-based learning. 

More than 50 per cent of youths prefer studying in school than at home.

Christ Church Secondary School student, Althea Ramos, 16, said: "It can be quite difficult to learn at home because we may get easily distracted and also if we are unsure about a certain topic, we're not able to ask our teachers directly." 

Others like Carrie Toh, 16, felt that a separation of school from home aids her in focusing on her work. 

The Edgefield Secondary School student said: "I feel that going to school is more productive as I am able to differentiate school work from downtime at home. While I am able to work more efficiently and better at school, I feel a lot more relaxed and don't feel any pressure to get things done at home." 

While some students are reacting well to home-based learning, others prefer to have clear boundaries between school and home.

Adapting to a new way of schooling after Prime Minister Lee's announcement that all schools will move to full home-based learning starting Apr 8, breaking out of an everyday routine requires swift adapting, and it is something students need to do quickly.

For students like Toh Jo Lyn, 18, this means putting in more effort to discipline herself to ensure she keeps up with her classes. The Nanyang Junior College student said: "I have to be more independent and take more ownership for my learning by making notes and studying before the actual lesson. I also have to remind myself to not to get distracted by the change in environment." 

Daughters Ashleigh (Primary 4) and Kayleigh (Primary 3) under the watchful eyes of their mother, Lesley, during home-based learning.

It seems like students are not the only ones who need to adapt to these changes. 

"I won't lie, it was one heck of a tiring day!" said Lesley, a mother of three primary school students who accompanied them on their first home-based learning day. 

"The effort taken on the teachers' part to prep these materials was apparent. It did take constant supervision on our part, but that wasn't unexpected. Today has shown us how undervalued and underappreciated a teacher's job really is." 


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