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As OHS returned to school on Aug 3, so did the ups and downs of adjusting to the new communication and teaching styles that online learning would enforce.
The change of having classes on Zoom, which can still allow for interactive teaching, comes with benefits, but also features downfalls that impact both teachers and students. The style of teaching will have to adapt, while students have to adjust to a mindset that can allow them to focus on school while remaining in the comfort of their home.
“Participation and attention are decreasing for many students,” said Michel Candela, French teacher. “I also believe that some students are using resources they are not allowed to use during graded tasks. Online environment just gives students more opportunities to cheat.”
The limitation of what can be seen by teachers through a camera could allow for opportunities of students becoming easily distracted or hiding ways to cheat; this wouldn’t be the case if classes were in person. Though, some are able to see positive aspects of online learning whether that be more private communication or saving time.
“A positive point is the fact that the Zoom private chat allows students to ask me questions they may not have asked in class discreetly,” Candela said.
Zoom offers a chat system that allows you to message people privately or everyone that is currently in the Zoom call. This feature can create an easy, more confidential communication system between students and teachers if the student feels more comfortable asking through a chat rather than asking through the call.
“I think learning in this environment is difficult, but if you stay motivated you’ll do well,” said Piper Morrissey, junior. “You are still communicating with a teacher through email or Canvas so you can’t let that become a huge issue as to why you aren’t doing well.”
Being in class is one thing, since students are able to be surrounded by their peers and in an environment that encourages learning. At home, students don’t get those same benefits. Though, if motivation remains, the behavior and grades of students can reflect upon their work ethic. On the downside, if a student lacks motivation, once again, grades will reflect it.
“I have more students than ever not turning assignments in and it is more difficult to motivate them to do it. I would normally walk up and down the aisles, physically checking on them, answering questions, and checking for understanding. Now I can’t do that,” said Kim Parker, English Language Arts teacher. “It seems to be easy to blend in and hide from the teacher in this setting.”
With the lack of what can be seen through a screen and person to person communication, students can avoid the needed interaction with teachers that allows them to become motivated and understand the work that is needed to be turned in. The same goes for the personal connection a teacher is used to being able to create in a classroom, that can’t happen through a screen.
“I’m glad we are back in school because we had to start at some point, but I am not convinced actual learning is happening,” Parker said. “Being a teacher is so much more than giving information; it is connecting to students, knowing them, caring about them, and helping them grow. I haven’t been able to do that and I miss it.”