March 2020 saw the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore climb rapidly. In response to the growing number of new cases, Singapore announced the suspension of centre-based enrichment and tuition classes on 24 March, just a few weeks prior to the introduction of the nationwide “Circuit Breaker” measures.
Our classes at Mrs D’s English Enrichment had already moved online ahead of the announcement. The initial weeks of home-based learning presented us with various issues, with weak WIFI connection usually at the root of the problem. While some tuition centres offered pre-recorded lessons to such avoid connectivity issues , we persisted in conducting our English enrichment and General Paper classes live, for the full 1.5hrs as usual (if not more), via a video conferencing app.
(Above: Screenshot of upper secondary English Language online lessons with Ms Nicole D,
as featured on CNA interview on 17 June 2020)
Granted, interaction was not as fluid as we would have liked, especially when the audio pauses or struggles to catch up with the video, but moving the lessons online did bring about several benefits that pleasantly surprised by! For example, we were able to conduct workshops and intensives with students who otherwise preoccupied with other extracurricular commitments. Additionally, we were able to extend our geographical reach and welcomed a number of new students who previously were unable to commit to classes because of the centre’s distance from their homes and schools.
PHASE 2 of Reopening Singapore
On 15 June 2020, it was announced that Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening will commence this Friday, 19 June 2020. As mentioned by Ms Nicole de Silva (Ms D) in an interview on Channel New Asia on 17 June, classes will continue online for the next 5 weeks as we carefully consider the appropriate measures to take on safe-distancing, cleanliness, and personal hygiene.
Online Lessons vs Physical (Live) Classes
Some students expressed their dismay at the move to online classes at the very beginning of the suspension period. However, after more than 2 months of lessons online, many had said that they have gotten used to lessons online and have found it to be an effective alternative to the live classes. While interaction may have been lacking in online classes (given that our live classes are VERY interactive and engaging), students have also said that the ability to share screens has allowed them to be able to follow the explanation clearly and see exactly which point we are discuss at any point in time. Some have asked if an online time slot will continue to be available each week, or if private 1-to-1 classes can continue online. To that we would like to say that we are exploring ways of incorporating the online platform into our schedule, to complement our traditional face-to-face classes!
That said, we are all eager to return to the classroom to resume lessons as usual. While our transition from the traditional classroom setting to the online lessons was a very swift one, the reverse must be done so as carefully as possible, to ensure the health and safety of all those who come through our classroom.
We look forward to welcoming our students back to class at United House at the end of July! Until then, please stay safe and continue doing your part for the community!
For more information on our English Enrichment Programmes, please contact us at +65 81386011.