Coronavirus travel restrictions meant that a new 14 year old boarder was unable to travel to the UK as early as anticipated. Online learning commenced but she felt overwhelmed and anxious – struggling to access the content and failing to engage fully in learning. The systems that were being used were unfamiliar to her, as were the school routines. She felt despondent and isolated with no peers in the same situation to turn to for support. Her parents outlined her concerns to the school, expressing their own anxieties regarding their daughters’ study in the UK.
What We Discovered
We undertook positive and constructive discussions with the student and her parents via WeChat, listening to their concerns. Many of the fears were usual worries to be expected of any new learner coming to the UK; concerns regarding English language ability, the potential to make friends, cultural differences etc. Other more specific issues included a lack of understanding of online lessons, particularly in certain subject areas.
Following discussions with the school and contact with individual subject teachers, a plan of action was put into place. We supported the student by way of twice weekly sessions with the aim of boosting confidence, preparing them for the upcoming transition to the UK education system, and improving their English ability. This was coupled with encouraging subject teachers to provide an overview of the topics to be covered in advance of the lesson, allowing the student time to prepare.
The sessions continued for 6 weeks before the student was in a position to travel to the UK, confident that the anxieties they felt were normal, and that the school would be fully supportive and welcoming.
The support and resulting peace of mind we were able to provide turned an anxious time for the student into a productive one whereby their student life in the UK was able to commence positively.