After the Ministry of Education in late January announced the postponement of the 2020 spring semester for schools nationwide, many schools this week started online courses for students to study at home. However, the online education, which required teachers to live stream courses using mobile phone software and properly interact with students, proved a challenge for many teachers.
Some teachers discovered they left the microphones off only after they finished the online course, and others were frequently distracted by their own young children's shouting and crying, or had to repeatedly reconnect to the platform due to poor internet connection.
Some schools offered online courses for almost each subject including sports. Teachers found it awkward to give instructions online because many children are under house quarantine, and do not have enough space to move.
Some parents of primary school students complained that they had to join several different social media chat groups of different subjects, accompanying their children taking online courses just to make sure their children are fully concentrated instead of playing video games or watching soap operas.
Schools should not add an unnecessary academic burden on primary and secondary students through online classes, the Ministry of Education said on Wednesday. Online courses should be related to infection prevention, psychological health and educational activities and content.
Schools should make good use of existing online teaching materials, rather than putting extra workload on teachers and asking them to record online classes.
Ms Huang, an English teacher for the senior grade three at Quzhou High School in Zhejiang province, told China Daily about her online teaching experience.
"We have encountered some difficulties in the beginning because of the technical problems occurring when using different kinds of live streaming apps. So we have to spend lots of time coordinating these issues with students and parents," said Ms Huang.
"But very quickly we made some changes according to the notice from the Ministry. We chose the most developed app based on the specific situation, and combined the online courses with self-directed learning, to achieve a relatively flexible timetable for students and teachers."
"I'm a teacher from senior grade three. I, along with my colleagues, actively prepared learning materials related to this novel coronavirus outbreak for students, hoping to promote their independent thinking ability while passing on knowledge."