Are students actually learning throughout distance learning?

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Distance learning has been put in place since the quarantine has started

By: Emily Spillar, Editor

Distance learning has been put in place since the start of quarantine. However, the word “learning” in the name can be very deceiving.

Feelings towards distance learning

During the beginning time of distance learning, many students were fans of this. Being able to work on their own schedules was something many students liked. Also, distance learning was also a lot easier, and a lot of students were getting to lessen their work load. However, as distance learning has continued, there has been more and more complications. Students have been feeling like they are doing more work in distance learning, then they ever had in the actual school setting.

Samantha Stanley, a junior at Colonia High School, said she likes distance learning, but would like it even more if teachers would stop loading students up on work.

A lot of teachers have started Zoom calls or Google Hangouts for their classes. These are so teachers can perform normal classes, while still being stuck at home. However, many students dislike the concept of this. Having to be on a video all with your teacher and the rest of your class can load on the social anxiety, and many feel this way. Different teachers make these calls mandatory too. Meaning that if their students do not join, they may receive a zero for participation that day. Teachers may also mark them absent.

Teachers believe that these calls are really helping their students learn, however, it is increasing their anxiety and forcing them to be in a call with their classmates for usually around thirty minutes.

Erin Spillar, a Kindergarten teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School, noted that she enjoys these video calls because it gives her a chance for her students to communicate with her. They are also able to communicate with their classmates too. Also, that she does not make them mandatory because she does not know what her students home life is like.

Effects on going back to normal learning

When we go back to normal in-school learning, it will never be the same as it was before we left. This is because so many students are used to the routines they have made for themselves during the time in distance learning. Also, these students will not be in the same place, academically, as they were before we left for this quarantine. Throughout distance learning, many students have not really been learning. They have just been completing their work so they do not fail the class. Stanley added, “I make sure that I complete all of my work everyday, but I don’t really feel like I’m learning.”

In classes like math, how do we expect students to teach themselves these subjects? We shouldn’t really be focusing on when these students are submitting their work, or if they are doing all the work by themselves without any help from the internet or fellow classmates. However, we should be focusing on the students feelings during the quarantine and how they are feeling based on the work load they are being piled on with. These students are working in front of their computer, with little to no interaction with their teacher for hours on end. Schools need to start focusing on if these students are learning. Not if they’re just completing their work for the day or submitting their attendance on time. This is a tough time for everyone and these school districts need to take that into consideration.

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