It's more than a 'safe space' for students, it's a supportive learning environment where learners are encouraged to be themselves.
Smack-bang in the middle of the pandemic, Valenture Institute did some research in the United Kingdom asking families how they've adapted to learning online and from home. We found that this COVID-19-induced respite from in-school bullying and peer pressure became a major factor in parents’ enthusiasm towards online schooling during this time.
Many parents said that their child had been bullied in school. Only a third of those parents with children aged 11 – 18 thought the school had dealt with the problem well, with the rest saying it had ignored it, handled it badly, or even made it worse.
Parents are so often left feeling almost helpless, seeing their child suffer in complete silence.
Rick Greener, our principal at Valenture says “unfortunately some children are experts at getting away with bullying, knowing the parameters and how far they can exploit a situation. It's every parent's nightmare to find out that their child is being bullied at school. Although not a long-term solution for those who will return to a ‘bricks and mortar’ school, the chance to be away from the physical classroom and study online appears to be a welcome distraction for the quarter of teens that were being bullied in school before lockdown.”
One of our Valenture moms based in South Africa, Portia Nama, says that she wanted her daughter to go to high school in an environment that was free from bullying and peer pressure. And Simthandile, her daughter, notes that even though at first she was shy and found some aspects of the live lessons intimidating, that breakout classes have helped her come out of her shell. These small group sessions have since become her favourite part of her schooling at Valenture.
She says that it's a great way to connect and share and that students allow each other to be different. "We have all become comfortable with each other."
But it's more than a 'safe space' for students, it's a supportive learning environment where learners are encouraged to be themselves and to embrace each other's differences, to learn from those differences daily, and to go into the world as critical-thinkers and open-minded individuals.
Watch the above video for more from Portia.