COVID-19 has forced many students home to teach themselves for the first time. Luckily, a Lake Country-based author has published a book to guide high school and university students through the shift.
Nadya Corscadden is no stranger to distance learning. The musical theatre actress has a mixed background of in-class and self-directed learning going back to Grade 5.
“I was in and out of it in high school,” Corscadden said. “It was a mixture between Maggie (Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton), private school and homeschooling.”
Her self-directed at home learning continued in post secondary. While Corscadden was earning her degree from the Sheridan’s Music Theatre Performance program, she took her electives through Thompson River University’s online curriculum.
“I understand that the responsibility of one’s own education can be overwhelming,” she said. “I do think there are many positive outcomes of this style of learning, though, and I hope that creating a resource that’s specifically for the students will help ease this transition and give them the confidence to succeed.”
Corscadden began writing A+ Academics at Home: Finding Success in June as something to keep her preoccupied, she said.
“It was a way I could contribute,” she said. “A way I could help.”
The book, first published last month, outlines simple techniques and strategies to help students succeed in a self-directed environment, the Amazon summary reads.
Her tips for success include organization and a good mindset.
“Mindset is a huge thing,” she said. “Learning how to actively engage yourself — you don‘t have a teacher to keep you engaged with the material. You have to learn how to learn and find the excitement on your own.”
But the benefits of this method of learning are far-reaching.
Firstly, self-directed learners can set their own schedules. They are not constrained to the typical 9-3 p.m. schedule. With that being said, Corscadden said “setting a conscious schedule” is critical.
“You can allow yourself to have that flexibility, but you have to remain accountable,” she said.
Corscadden admits self-directed distance learning is not for everyone, but the skillset is invaluable.
“Learning how to learn independently is so important,” she said. “It’s not a bad skillset to have and it works really well when it does work.”
Following the release of A+ Academics at Home, Corscadden is working on an extended version tailored toward singers, dancers and actors which will be released in a few weeks.
Corscadden’s book is available on Amazon, Kobo and Apple Books.
The book also features illustrations by Corscadden, herself. She taught herself how to use a tablet to create digital illustrations to include to help “break up large chunks of text.”
“I’ve never been able to draw very well,” she admitted. “Learning to draw is way more fun when you also have a delete button.”