Getting learners back on track with their school routine


With the school holidays now over, South African learners are preparing to go back to school for their third term.

While some learners might be thrilled to see their friends and teachers and catch up on activities they did over the holidays, others might be overwhelmed by their second-term performance. As a result, they lack the drive to tackle the remaining months.

Here’s how to help a student in your life overcome the back-to-school blues and make the most of the remaining academic year:

Something to look forward to: Whether it’s a fun after-school activity or a vacation at the end of the term, having something exciting to look forward to is a great way to keep learners’ spirits up throughout the day. Some ideas include a trip to their favourite restaurant for dinner, tickets to an upcoming concert or show, or a surprise gift they’re sure to love. To make the experience even more interesting, you could introduce a wager. You can allow them to use extra time on the internet to book their favourite activities, after all their homework is done of course, in exchange for better results by the end of the term.

Encourage healthy living: No one wants to wake up early in the morning after less than eight hours of sleep the previous night. Facing a day of sitting in a classroom concentrating on the whiteboard is that much trickier without the energy provided by a good night’s rest and a nutritious diet. Encourage students to eat more veggies and fruit, to avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and junk food, to help set them up for happier, more energised days.

Make life and learning easier: Unlike the previous generations, Gen Zs don’t have to go through several study materials to conduct research on topics of their interest. The internet has streamlined studying, making it less time-consuming by empowering learners with access to the latest digital education resources. However, having an unreliable internet connection can do more harm than good, hindering rather than helping them with their academic needs.

A student would sooner give up than wait forever for a tutorial video to buffer,” says Lianne Williams, marketing director at Vuma. “Removing the barriers to learning by investing in a reliable, fast fibre connection for the home can change a child’s life, Vuma offers an affordable way to connect to the internet without breaking the bank, and I would encourage parents to look into this, as it changes the way our children learn in their homes.”

Get organised: The saying, ‘When you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ couldn’t be truer, especially for learners. Get them a large calendar that they can stick up on the wall to plan out upcoming tasks and deadlines, including test and exam dates, study blocks, and rest days too. Alternatively, you can download online tools such as Todoist, which allows users to add tasks and categorise them by due date and priority, and Google Workspace, which includes Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Drive. Staying organised is half the battle won when trying to get back into the swing of things.

Remove distractions: Without becoming too restrictive and ‘punishing’ the youngster, it’s important to remove things from their weekday activities that may become too distracting from their academics. These include constant use of digital devices and social media, gaming consoles, late nights out with friends and even binge-watching TV shows. Some learners may pretend to use their devices to consume educational content while actually engaging with friends online or catching up on series. Installing apps such as StayFocusd can help restrict the time they spend on distracting apps. Additionally, limiting their screen time on weekdays and saving these enjoyments for weekends, can motivate them to complete their tasks and perform well in their school activities.