What should we do when we start school in the new term?

With the COVID-19 epidemic, face-to-face education has been suspended in our schools for about 1.5 years, and face-to-face education has resumed earlier this period. At a time when face-to-face education was suspended, although online education was introduced at all levels, there was a loss of learning. In online learning, both our students and teachers had difficulty and had difficulty adapting because they had no similar experience before.

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In this context, it would be fair to say that the definition we usually use as distance learning is essentially an education. Because it can be said that distance learning is not just an educational tool and it is a detailed process which involves the presentation and evaluation of the content produced according to its nature in different ways from the traditional education. For this reason, although the experience gained in distance education is important, the shortcomings experienced in the process should also be taken into consideration.
Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated throughout the world, affecting many areas, including education, social and economic levels, and not just health. According to UNESCO 2020, nearly 2 billion students worldwide have been affected by school closures. Long-term school closures have significantly affected not only students but also teachers and the school’s administrative structure. It is known that nothing will continue from where it left off, especially when social information is considered. It can be said that when teachers and students try to adapt to the new situation they encounter during their absence from school, their existing knowledge, skills and experience are negatively affected.

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If the holiday is good, the duration will be more effective
It would be a mistake to assume that students acquire only negative behavioral patterns and emotions from the environment during their absence from school. First, students who teamed up with their teachers and peers online were able to speak the same technical language. However, the instability of information and content, the insignificance of asking students questions through a brief search on the Internet, and the notion that learning can be supported regardless of school location were practically understood. With the opening of the school, besides the loss of education of the students, mental problems also started to be observed. Children who have been away from school for long periods of time are beginning to have difficulty adapting to both their school and their friends, and have experienced many behavioral problems. It has been shown that children who do not go through the adaptation process in a healthy way have difficulty adapting to their lessons. Therefore, before the loss of learning in our school, there is a need for psychosocial support activities that promote the integration of children under the leadership of school psychological counselors. Depending on the success of this study, it may be possible to eliminate learning disabilities. In fact, the semester break at our school was a great opportunity for our kids to rest. If parents spend quality time with their children during the semester break, the children will be able to adapt more easily when they start school and succeed in their lessons. Especially since parents will develop a sense of trust in children by empathetically, understandingly and logically evaluating the child’s report card, children will also be able to start the new time more conveniently.
As soon as the school opens, the mask, social distance, regular control of the class, examination and fever measurement and arrangement must be done with precision. It is important for children to have social and emotional support. Symptoms of fear and anxiety that may occur in children should be closely monitored by both family and school staff and necessary professional assistance should be provided. Based on these, the studies that can be done for both mental health and success of children in the second semester are as follows:

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1. Effective and efficient school-parent collaboration.

2. Identify children with coordination problems and make psychological interventions.

3. Develop children’s self-definition and collaboration skills with project assignments that are not only test-based but appropriate to the content of each lesson course.

4. Set achievable goals for children.

5. Be sensitive to the needs of children.

6. Provide a balanced diet and sleep pattern.

7. Reduce the risk of technology addiction because parents give their children time in the evenings.

8. Parents need to be role models for their children in technology use and time management.

9. Emphasis on collaboration rather than competition in lessons.

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10. Providing effective guidance and psychological counseling services in educational, vocational, personal and social fields will ensure that both educational and behavioral problems are reduced.

On the other hand, conducting studies to increase the psychological resilience of both parents and teachers would be beneficial. Especially in situations of uncertainty where the future is uncertain, our individuals need to consider the importance of mental health in order to get support from their community. In this context, some practical advice can be offered to school administrators, teachers and families in terms of post-epidemic adaptation and overall support for students in times of crisis.

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Teachers’ advice
– Instead of teaching curriculum in school, road map should be made to compensate the students.

– Separate programs should be set up for children with emergency education and social adaptation issues.

– Innovative methods such as interactive lessons, gamefiction and project-based learning should be used in schools to enhance social interaction between and within the classroom. – Good practices from other schools and schools in different countries should be used.

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– Professional interaction areas should be created for development and learning with different school administrators.

– It should be kept in mind that class and in-school interactions and relationships are more important than learning.

What should the family do?
– Remember that children need social acceptance and legitimacy more than anything else.

– Activities and games that can be done at home, especially as a family, are important in this process.

– Use positive and supportive language instead of judgmental language.

– Focus on what your child knows, rather than what he or she lacks. Emphasize the good and the positive.

– Allow them to gather with their close friends online or in person at a book club, game or other activity.

– Accept the emotional turmoil and discomfort of children as normal.

– Strengthen your communication with other parents and schools.

– Contribute to children’s ability to deal with uncertainty. – Give them time and encourage them to make their own decisions in the decision-making process instead of making decisions.

Professor Dr. Dr. Who is Mehmet Engine Deniz?
He attended primary and secondary schools in Eskilip. She completed her Bachelor’s Program in Guidance and Psychological Counseling at the Seluk University Faculty of Education in 1994. He completed his postgraduate degree in 1997 and his doctorate in 2002 from the Department of Social Psychology, Educational Psychological Services at the same university. He became an Associate Professor in 2006 and Professor in 2012 for Guidance and Psychological Counseling. The author has many articles published in national and international journals, research papers and books presented at national and international congresses. Yıldız Technical University Dean of the Faculty of Education Deniz is also serving as the Student Dean of Yıldız Technical University. Professor Dr. Deniz is vice president of the Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Association and head of the Istanbul branch.

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