School psychologist: Distance learning is hardest for teenagers

Astra Schults
Astra Schults Source: Kadri Põlendik

The distance learning in spring caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) was especially hard for teenagers, not smaller children as was thought at first, Astra Schults, member of the board of the Estonian Association of School Psychologists, said.

"It would be logical to think that it was the hardest for the younger ones but they have a bigger support network because they talk more to their parents, sisters and brothers. Teenagers want to speak more to their peers and it's harder from a distance," Schults said during Vikerraadio's morning program "Vikerhommikus".

Schults highlighted that in these difficult times it is very important that routines are kept in place. "So that when I'm used to going to school in the mornings, I can continue doing it. This helps to keep a sense of security and it is important to keep learning."

Also, an important aspect of studying is the sense of belonging and studying in a group is often very successful. "When teenagers need to socialize and to spend times with others more in general, then the two things can be done at the same time at school," she said.

The psychologist said the consequences of distance learning for teenagers are still to be discovered because such a quick change can have an effect.

The first thing which has been seen during distance learning was the disappearance of the will to learn. While in the first weeks it was new and nice to communicate from a distance, in the second half of the term many young people did not progress.

"And being alone at home sadly, it can happen that the mood swings come back later or remain permanently. All kinds of anxieties can occur," she said.

Commenting on the proposed restrictions for studying in schools, including part-time distance learning, Schults suggested that mental health should also be considered when imposing restrictions in the interests of physical health.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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