Written by Ernest Tan (19-E6), Wong Sean Yew (19-U4), Lennon Chua (20-E6)
Designed by: Jolene Leow (20-E1)
HBL Happenings is a series that is meant to archive stories of Eunoia Junior College (EJC) students and teachers during the Home-Based Learning (HBL) phase of the circuit breaker period in 2020.
In this article, we will cover the good and the not-so-good of HBL through sharing student stories. We interviewed both J1s and J2s to understand more about their views on HBL.
The JC2 Perspective
The events this year have been an especially nerve-wracking experience for JC2s, who are taking their national A-Level examinations this year. All identities of students interviewed will be kept confidential.
1. In the year where you would be taking a major national examination, are there any concerns you have about the HBL system?
JC2 Student A: I think the MOE has provided rather sufficient help for students such as the cancellation of the Common Last Topics (CLT). I am concerned, however, about the disruption due to distractions I have at home that impede my learning somewhat. In terms of assessments, I am aware of ungraded time trials which will allow teachers and students to follow up on our learning, so I’m rather glad that we are not shortchanged. I am also confident that teachers will step up revision when we come back to school.
2. How has HBL and cancellation of MYEs impacted your learning?
JC 2 Student B: I think the impacts are two-fold – there are both positive and negative sides to everything, including HBL. Although there was less face-to-face engagement, we could still ask our teachers questions privately through online consultations, emails and WhatsApp messages. It all boils down to a question of self-discipline, honestly. It applies both to physical lessons and HBL. If we focus and complete our video lectures, we won’t be too badly affected by HBL. In fact, the greater autonomy afforded to us by HBL allows us to focus on certain subjects or topics that we are weaker at. That’s not to say that everything was a bed of roses through – because there is of course a disruption when we cannot meet with our Tutors and peers to discuss issues organically or because of family distractions.
3. Is there anyone you wish to thank for the transition to HBL?
JC2 Student A: I would like to thank my subject tutors who have provided extra help such as online consultations, even when they were not obligated to do so. They were also very understanding and patient with some learning difficulties that were exacerbated due to the difficulty of online engagement.
The JC1 Perspective
We can also consider the perspectives of JC1s, who are also similarly affected because of the disruption to their transition to the academically rigorous JC curriculum.
1. How does contact and interaction (or a lack thereof) with other students affect your learning?
JC1 Student A: Contact and interaction plays an important role in the education of knowledge, as it allows one to have a more intimate connection with one another, with a greater level of understanding with one another, which allows doubts to be clarified instantaneously. As an introvert, I would say that a home-based environment may be better for self studying, but in the clarification of doubts and asking questions, it has definitely hampered this very function and it would have affected my learning to a certain extent.
2. With a prolonged HBL period, has it been simpler/harder for learning?
JC1 Student A: I would say I’m neutral to it as it has pros and cons. As millennials living in the incessant buzzing of stress and results, such an extended HBL has provided us with a very golden opportunity to improve our physical health, in terms of sleep patterns, and mental health, as I am able to learn at my own pace. However, on the more pragmatic end, with the lack of interaction, it has definitely deprived my desire to clarify doubts and even further my understanding in the topic, as I like to have small conversations with teachers about topics that intrigue me.
3. With MYEs cancelled, how does it affect your mindset for Promos?
JC1 Student B: Initially, I was worried and scared because I thought I would not be able to gauge how high my standard is and get a sense of how timed graded assignments feel like. But now that we have the ungraded June Common Tests, I feel a bit more assured.
4. Anyone you’d like to thank?
JC1 Student B: I think one person isn’t enough but all my teachers and friends who made this HBL experience as smooth as possible. I think everyone put in effort to help each other so that we can learn as much as possible and ensure that HBL won’t dent our journey thus far.
JC1 Student A: I definitely would like to thank the teachers, school committee, and also MOE, for doing trials and ensuring HBL can remain smooth despite the high usage and the preparation involved during the transition. I would also like to thank my classmates for being very supportive and maintaining a light-hearted mood despite the change in environment. Last but not least, it would be the healthline workers, scientists and volunteers fighting the virus. Without them, instead of having HBL, we might have been in hospital suffering from this virus.