Ever since last December, the world has been swept in a whirlwind of cancellations and closures. Six months later today, the battle is still not over. Many places remain closed and our homes had become the new learning centres as all education moves online. Unique English Classroom is no different. As our students’ safety is of upmost importance, all of our lessons now take place from home. So how does UEC maintain the high standard of interactivity that allows your child to continue developing their English skills from home? We speak to UEC Malaysia and Philippines to find out!
How has UEC Malaysia and Philippines adapted to the ongoing crisis?
Philippines: We launched two short summer programmes called Storytelling 101 based on Alphabet Authors and Storywriting 102 based on the Aspiring Writers & Illustrators Scheme from March.
Malaysia: As soon as the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented, we began sending out worksheets to our students on a weekly basis for them to occupy their time with. Online classes were then held every weekend to discuss the answers of the worksheets they have done. After one and a half month, we resumed our UEC classes via Zoom meetings, and 70% of our students were able to join us using online learning.
What are the challenges faced in the transition to home-based learning? How did you overcome them?
Philippines: The unstable internet from both ends resulted in some hiccups when home-based learning was implemented. One of the ways we used to solve it was to allot 10 to 15 minutes before class to solve any technical issues to ensure a smooth classroom experience. Another challenge was the use of workbooks in teaching. Some of our centres deliver the physical copies to our students, while some of the other centres utilise the SeeSaw app to distribute the content. Now that the students and teachers have a better grasp of the technology, we are confident that our future programmes will run smoothly.
Malaysia: As it is our first time conducting online classes, we had definitely faced a number of challenges at first, such as connectivity issues and distractions at home, but with patience and back-up plans, our teachers were able to successfully engage with their students through online classes. Not all parents prefer or were able to join us online, as some did not have enough laptops or used data plans instead of fibre broadband connection. Others did not prefer for their kids to learn online as they felt that it is not as effective as physical classes and that the focus is not there. Despite these shortcomings, many parents were willing to make this work by getting their kids to attend the classes no matter what.
Once this pandemic is declared over, will there be any changes to how classes will be ran?
Philippines: We are still in the midst of planning, but hopefully we will be able to resume physical classes! The UEC way of teaching with lots of classroom interaction and fun is something we dearly miss.
Malaysia: Of course, we will resume physical classes! But if parents are not comfortable with sending their children to classes, then we will explore online options with them. We will also continue prioritising hygiene habits and social distancing in the classroom.
Thank you for sharing with us how home-based learning has been for you! Lastly, any upcoming events that our readers should look out for in the coming months?
Philippines: Our founder, Catherine Khoo is going to conduct an online workshop for young authors mid-July! Do join us if you could. We are also working hard on a programme with gamification like Dungeons and Dragons which we are hoping to launch by July.
Malaysia: We have two major events coming up within the next few months, which will be conducted by UEC. The first is The Eurasian Spelling Bee 2020. It is a competition supported by University of Chester, UK to promote the English language. The aim is to challenge students (Primary 1 to Secondary 5) from Asia and Europe to improve their lexical and spelling skills!
Another major event we are looking forward to is The HIPPO Competition 2020 which is organized by the Global HIPPO Association. It is an International English Olympiad that promotes the importance of the English language and brings together children (ages 6 – 19) from different countries around the world!
*The dates of the competitions have been changed due to the pandemic but are still not confirmed at the moment. Do keep an eye on our Facebook page for future information.
You may find more updates about UEC Malaysia and UEC Philippines during this period at the following websites: