In the last two years, the learning experience for children has changed a lot. The pandemic has made us look at the options available for teaching; it’s greatly influenced us here at Panda Mandarin. We adjusted to teaching our students virtually when needed or when best for the students and do in-person learning as we did pre-pandemic when permitted.
We put a lot of thought into the advantages and disadvantages of virtual and in-person learning because we want our students to thrive while learning Mandarin at our school. Below we discuss the pros and cons of virtual and in-person learning.
The Virtual Learning Experience
While the option for remote learning has existed for many years now at the university level, teaching preschool through high school remotely is fairly new. The pandemic has caused us to look at teaching from a new perspective and adapt quickly. One of the great benefits of online learning is you can do it anywhere. We don’t have to be in a physical school or necessarily at home, in fact, we can be anywhere in the world and attend class.
Virtual learning gives families the flexibility to be out of town and not miss out on schooling or work. Those who live farther away from where the course takes place have a chance to attend a class that may be a difficult commute. Because of virtual learning, Panda Mandarin has reached students throughout North America! Virtual learning opens the doors for children giving them access to more learning opportunities.
However, experiencing online learning with younger children can be trying. Early childhood education can be a hardship because many small children can’t self-regulate and have short attention spans. Parents of children of any age may not have the time needed to assist their child because they too have to work, whether it is at home or in-office.
In-Person Learning Environment
Because we started as an in-person establishment, Panda Mandarin has a highly interactive language learning program. We implement music, games, and art to teach our students Mandarin to provide a well-rounded education and understanding of practical applications of the language. One of the main benefits of learning in person, especially a language, is it allows for an immersive learning experience.
One major pro of in-person learning that we witness ourselves at Panda Mandarin,
and see in research, is that children's retention rate is higher. In addition, we can use curricular integration such as music and art. When students learn in person, it makes interactive resources much more effective, most notably with our younger students in the Bananas group, ages 2 - 4 years old, and Cubs, ages 4 - 5 years old. However, in-person learning is less flexible and requires more time spent getting to and from school, and the student has to be at a fixed location.
What Works for You Matters
With both learning environments, there are pros and cons to consider. Some children will do better in person, while others will excel online. It ultimately depends on the needs of each family and what works best for the student.