WhatsApp helps keep parents, teachers, learners connected during lockdown

Learners of Gateway Primary School in Musina, Limpopo, who are not part of the groups that have been phased in, are able to continue to get their daily lessons in the comfort of their homes via WhatsApp.

WhatsApp and lockdown

Just a day after the countrywide lockdown was announced by the State President Cyril Ramaphosa in March this year, the school created WhatsApp groups for all grades and added all teachers, parents and learners who have mobile phones.

As a result, teachers are now able to send school work to the learners who are monitored by their parents to make sure that the school work is accomplished. It is only the Grade 7s who are getting physical lessons at the school.

School principal, Mr Itani Masithulela says there are many ways approach education and schooling when the world is faced with a pandemic.

“With the physical closing of the schools, we felt that we need to do something to make sure that our school work should not be left behind. The best and possible way was to create a WhatsApp group for everyone, including the foundation phase learners. Despite the difficult time, we had the option of using modern technology to our own advantage.”

Masithulela says the WhatsApp classes are highly successful because teachers and learners have an opportunity to interact with each another.

“Besides sending lessons as texts, teachers also have an option to send voice notes to explain their subject matter to the learners. If there is something that learners do not understand, they also send voice notes to their teachers for explanation. When the school work is done for the day, the teacher would start by sending corrections for the previous day’s work before they start with the current work.”

He says their WhatsApp classes are highly effective as they keep teachers and learners busy on daily basis.

“As a school, we have a team of dedicated teachers who do not sacrifice anything for the education of their learners. Encouragingly, teachers, parents and learners use their own data without complaining because they are happy with the end result.

We would also like to thank the parents for their support during these challenging times. We hope our initiative will encourage other schools to make maximum use of social media for teaching.”

Masithulela said he is sure that when other grades are phased in in the near future, it will be easier to adjust as the learners have been busy with their school work even during the lockdown period.

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