COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted every aspect of daily
life across the globe. We are united in a struggle to make sense of the drastic
changes, adapt as best we can and cope with a future that has never felt so
completely uncertain. Of course, no one
has it easy, but the young people in their final year of school will be feeling
the challenges of the global pandemic in a unique way. On the cusp of putting their school days
behind them and entering into a new world where they carve out their futures as
adults, they now find themselves in a potentially long-lasting limbo, hanging between
two vastly different worlds.
As in many other countries, South African educational
departments and schools have rushed to enable mass online education in an
effort to create some kind of continuity.
It’s the kind of vast experiment that would never had happened
voluntarily in the education sector, which is notoriously conservative and has
been largely stubbornly resistant to disruption via innovation. By necessity, 2020 will now be a matric year
like no other.
How will our young South Africans cope
Counselling Psychologist and Head of Teaching and Learning at SACAP (The South African College of Applied Psychology), Lauren Martin, shares some practical tips for managing #matricunderlockdown.
Keep to your normal school day schedule – Get up at the same time as normal in the morning and follow your
regular school day morning routine – wash, dress, eat breakfast and get to your
desk or home study space.
Organise your work – Devise and follow a study from home schedule making use of all
the resources provided by your school, teachers, the Department of Education
and other platforms providing free educational resources during lockdown.
Limit your social media and social use of devices – Don’t get distracted from your studies. Spend the same number of hours on school work
as you would if you were going to school. Schedule your time to be on social
media or socialising on digital platforms with your friends outside of your
school work hours.
Take care of yourself – Prioritise getting restful sleep, eating healthily and being
physically active in your home or garden.
Ask for help – If
you feel that you are not coping, don’t wait it out alone. Instead, reach out swiftly and ask for help
from trusted sources such as parents, family members, teachers, friends and
professional healthcare services.
What can our Matrics do if they have very limited or no access
to digital education?
Don’t panic or lose heart if you cannot fully access the digital learning that has been provided so far. Try to maintain a positive attitude as that will help you to be open to other learning opportunities.
Don’t change your study habits, or try out new methods of studying; rather stick to what you know works for you. Create a study from home schedule based on real school hours. If you find you can’t move forward in a subject, then use the time to revise the work you have done in class.
Remember that your textbook is your friend. In the past, all matric students learnt what they needed to know, and revised their studies using their textbooks. Your textbooks are a major learning resource that you do have at home with you.
Get WhatsApp groups going with class friends and your teachers. Digital study groups can use less data, provide peer learning opportunities and give you access to teacher support. It might take some time to use these groups well, so don’t give up easily. Establish the rules for the group and create a regular timetable for group study. Identify the group members’ individual strengths and give the right person the leadership role when it comes to subjects, themes and topics.
Trust your teachers and trust the Education Department; they will not abandon you. It may take time for lockdown systems and processes to become efficient and effective. Be patient and positive, and do not give up.
Use this opportunity to develop your skills to become an independent learner. As a Matric student you are just one step away from being fully accountable for your learning. This is an opportunity to develop the self-discipline, time management skills and self-study habits you will soon need for tertiary education.
Don’t give up hope. Your attitude and resilience will make the difference between lockdown setting you back or being part of your success. Yes, it is tough. Some days, it might even seem impossible. But don’t give up. Keep going. Take one step at a time, and keep moving forward to achieving your matric goals.