As schools across the US make the decision to shut down for the rest of the academic year, students and teachers continue to undergo a crash course in remote learning. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the education system so abruptly that schools had little to no time to prepare, leaving teachers and students to figure out how to adapt to a new learning environment on the fly.
K–12 students have learned a lot about remote learning in the last few months. Some students miss the social aspect of traditional education, while others thrive from learning at their own pace. Some have also struggled to create a balance between school life and home life and communicate with their teachers.
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A recent article in The New York Times highlighted students’ experiences with remote learning, including its advantages and challenges. Below, we summarized the key points students discussed in that article, and identified how communications can play a role in improving the quality of remote learning. Here are the key themes we found:
1. A lack of structure can demotivate
Unlike in school, where students have regimented class periods and lunch breaks, remote learning allows students to largely create their own schedules. While this might sound like a kid’s dream scenario, many students find the lack of structure challenging.
For example, some students learning from home miss having a structured schedule with teachers to support them. Without it, they may procrastinate more, knowing they can work on their assignments at any time. Others feel guilty about being lazy. In addition, many students dislike the lecture format of remote classes, because the lack of interaction makes it harder for them to engage with the material and retain information.
While a lack of structure can be challenging, too much structure can also backfire. Back-to-back video classes without adequate breaks mean students don’t have the chance to switch gears from one subject to another. Sitting for long hours in front of a screen can also be fatiguing.
2. Some students learn better at their own pace
On the other hand, some students have adapted well to the shift. Some prefer the ability to set their own schedules, take breaks when they need them, and work from the comfort of their own home.
At the same time, remote learning allows students to wake up later than they would for a typical school day. The extra sleep helps relieve stress for some and also helps students focus on their work. Studies show that sleep deprivation is most acute among teens who have lots of extra-curricular activities, such as early school schedules, loaded assignments, sports, and part-time jobs. The lack of sleep hinders their ability to perform at school and grades often suffer. But with more flexibility in their schedules, many students have caught up with their sleep debt.
Remote learning also gives some students the opportunity to explore hobbies and interests that aren’t always supported by the public school system, such as learning to code. – Read more
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