What Skateistan learned about remote teaching: Bella's story

Bella is 10 and she lives in Phnom Penh with her parents and little brother. She started coming to Skateistan in the beginning of 2021, hoping that she can be well-equipped with good knowledge and skills. She said, “I don’t want to be illiterate and be embarrassed.” Unfortunately, the Skate School had to close because of Covid, just after Bella had started attending. As a result, Bella started learning online alongside her friends.  


Bella’s father is a construction worker who earns for his family's survival while Bella’s mother works as a housekeeper. She wants her children to get a good education so that they can have a better future. 


Bella shared her remote learning and experience with Skateistan. At first, Bella felt bored with learning remotely and was thinking about giving up. She could not manage to follow the lesson well because she was having internet issues and she was feeling frustrated. However, she also felt it was even more stressful to stay home without learning anything. 


The Covid 19 lockdowns were lessons for all of us, and Skateistan educators worked hard to improve the online lessons as time went by. Speaking to students like Bella helped us to incorporate different elements into our online lessons, like physical energisers and little games to keep children interested. We’re always happy to keep learning and we appreciate that as a community, we’re all learning together. 


A while later, Bella began to enjoy the online sessions and feel comfortable to ask for help. Bella said, “When I felt bored with the lesson, my teacher would run an activity that makes us have fun together.” 


Bella recalled one activity when she was asked to make a mask out of fabric. This not only gave her the chance to enjoy her own creativity, but also showed her how she can use her skills to protect herself and others. 


Bella shared about her areas of improvement after participating in our programs.


“In the past I used to make lots of noise while coming to school, but then I realized that my behaviour was making things more difficult for other students after joining Skateistan’s programs and I started to be more respectful.”

During class time Bella was somewhat passive and quiet, but then she became more active and made more new friends. Bella has learned some English, improved her Khmer literacy and mathematics, and at home, she has also managed to teach her little brother and helped him learn better. 


Additionally, Bella’s mother noticed that her daughter is now able to access online learning herself.


“My child is improving her technological skills since she has learned to join online sessions.”
Bella's mother

However, Bella’s mother mentioned that remote learning is not as effective as physical learning. So, she and Bella are both happy that the Skate School has just reopened for classes.     


Bella is happy that the Skate School is open again but she also knows that she can cope, in case there is another lockdown. And for us at Skateistan, we are grateful to kids like Bella, who have helped us to improve our remote lessons. 


*Bella's name has been changed in accordance with our Child Protection Policy