How your kids can survive Year 12 amid virus chaos

Across the country senior students are facing their final year of high school from behind a computer screen.

And although final exams are important, Year 12 is marked by many milestones including the end-of-year formal, muck-up days, study classes and school carnivals.

It is traditionally one of the most stressful years of school - and this year it suddenly looks very different as the globe grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

But the experts say there is a way through if you keep focused.

 

Year 12 student Paige Persijn said she was missing accessing her teachers in real-time. Picture: Toby Zerna
Year 12 student Paige Persijn said she was missing accessing her teachers in real-time. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Australian Catholic University Associate Professor Miriam Tanti is a secondary education expert whose son did Year 12 last year. "I witnessed first-hand how tough it is and how much work it is," she said.

"One of the big positives of remote learning is that students now have greater flexibility and control. They get to choose what they learn and when they learn. If you didn't understand the video the first time - you can watch it again," she said.

 

"The other advantage is that teaching has become a lot more personalised, because teacher online availability has increased.

"You can send teachers an email, connect synchronously via drop-in sessions or use discussion forums to pose individual questions and have them answered."

 

It will be stress of a different kind for students taking exams remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Stock
It will be stress of a different kind for students taking exams remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Stock

 

One of the biggest challenges for Year 12 students is not having their friends around to help them, but Professor Tanti encouraged students to continue their study sessions through online platforms.

"Set up a study group and keep each other accountable," she said

"Learning is a continuum - you have been doing this for the last 11 years - yes the medium we are using has changed but the content and the way they learn in many ways has not changed."

While some schools have opened their campuses to Year 12 students, most are closed to children of non-essential workers.

There remains uncertainty about how final exams will go ahead, how assessments will be undertaken or how the ATAR will be calculated.

In just a week almost 14,000 people have signed a petition calling for exams to be cancelled.

The nation's education ministers met last week and will meet again this month to determine a national approach for senior students, including possible adjustments to the university admission processes.

 

Year 12 student Paige Persijn is adjusting to a new way of s during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Toby Zerna
Year 12 student Paige Persijn is adjusting to a new way of s during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Centre for Independent Studies fellow Blaise Joseph encouraged senior students to focus.

"Students are building on their work in Year 11 as well. Keep in mind exams are six months away and could still be pushed back further," he said.

"You would be doing a lot of self study anyway and you should still have access to your teachers - it is up to teachers to find a way to make sure students are not on their own."

Year 12 student Paige Persign said she was struggling to not be able to access her teachers in real time, particularly with maths questions, but believes her school would soon have a video platform operating which would help.

"I am sad about missing the swimming carnival and athletics dress-ups, and just seeing everyone," she said. "Me and my friends have been doing Zoom calls when we normally have lunch so we can still see and talk to each other."

 

Many Australian kids are being home-schooled. Picture: AAP
Many Australian kids are being home-schooled. Picture: AAP

 

Teen psychologist Michelle Mitchell warned that while it was important to acknowledge technology, it was not a replacement for human connection.

She said that this was a time for parents to be "heroes".

"No one else can give them that physical connection, at a time when young people are normally pulling away from their parents, they are going to need them more than ever and parents can be those heroes. Step up to the plate. It will be messy and imperfect but they will need you."

Originally published as How your kids can survive Year 12 amid virus chaos



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