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Pros and Cons of Distance Learning This COVID-19 Pandemic

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It is now over a week for our blended teaching/learning situation amid this trying time where everyone is having challenges coping with different tasks.

As a classroom teacher then, now online guide to my select and lucky angels, well, everyday hurdle has been tough, challenging and, sometimes, taxing to the psyche. Yes, not all my learners are capable to coping up simply because they do not have the needed technology like android cellphone, iPad, desktop, laptop or any of those educational tools some of the lucky few have.

Well, given the said situation, I, for one, believe that parents could do something worthwhile for their kids’ education by exerting all efforts to have a functional cellphone right for an online class. However, there are varied reasons why some parents do not have the ability to provide their kids such simply because of poverty, joblessness, lack of education or motivation keeping up with current trends in education set up and delivery of learning especially this COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyway, there are pros and cons of distance learning, especially for blended learning, for kids and parents alike.

PROS

1. Kids can now have plenty of time navigating the different applications around so as to getting lessons absorbed, applied in their daily grind.

2. Parents can see how their kiddos are using their learning time. They could even help them budget their time so as to do all task at hand sans getting other tasks left behind. Teachers, like me, are sending home guide for their students, serving as reference, for their subjects to be taken for a specific time, with a number of minutes included.

3. Kids can show their skills in using the internet, say in researching for a story to read, a photo to write an essay on, and facts about important events in history especially during holidays and other commemorative exercises in Social Science subjects, to mention one.

4. Parents have the time to help their kids with their task in reading and writing, likewise the difficulties their kids encountering in numeracy, science and so on.

5. Kids have also the time to be more talkative in front of their camera or what while answering questions, sharing stories and other activities where speaking is the target especially on how they express themselves, with confidence minus the face to face interactions.

6. Parents, mostly, have the chance to learn as well, sort of having a review of their previous schooling; of course, with updated info where irrelevant ones had been changed to more appropriate one, particularly with Science subjects, say number of planets, and so on.

7. Kids have also an opportunity to become world citizens learning everything about the internet of things and collaborating with other learners around the world. Yes, teachers must have a buddy teacher from another country, say a Science class in the Philippines co-learning with Science class in USA about the different landscapes during winter, and, of course the sunny weather in the Philippines. With videos, photos and the like, both learners in these two countries could learn a lot from each slide presentation shared through Google Meet, Zoom meeting, among other technological tools right for this purpose.

CONS

1. Kids with no reliable internet connection are left behind when it comes to learning online. However, with modules available around; well, everyone has a chance to learn the concepts, samples and deep learning once a conscientious teacher implements enrichment or remediation programs for those who are in need of those. Yes, creativity is key toward providing all the learning opportunities to kids facing technological challenges in online learning. Aside from lacking those gadgets like android cellphone, lappie or desktop, internet load also becomes a hindrance, for who can afford such when parents are jobless, in dire poverty and you know what.

2. Parents suffer stress all the more when their kids could not keep pace with their peers, neighbors in competition with their kids, and other scenarios about unequal opportunities, a sad reality majority in my class belongs to this situation wherein keeping with the Juans is impossible to do.

3. Kids, those who are enterprising and all, resort to online cheating. Yes, there’s a group chat where answers to modules are being uploaded and a lazy bone will just copy paste those and viola, get the perfect score, the recognition later as with highest honors and so on. Oh my, this sorry state of education could be a training ground for future leaders who won’t do sane things but to self-aggrandizement, and so on.

4. Parents have all the burden when their kids have not yet mastered time management, discipline and honesty in doing their task, say reviewing lessons before getting online, answering modules with integrity and the like.

5. Kids have more time to get side-tracked with different things in the internet. Yes, some are good in navigating different sites and could be in great danger when they happen to open some dangerous websites inappropriate to their mental age, corrupting their innocent minds with garbage and other ideologies which could harm them than helping them improve on their literacy and numeracy challenges.

6. Parents are having trouble with their kids answering the modules especially when they have more than 10 within a week plus they have 4 kiddos having this kind of modality. Still, in online class, when one android cellphone is available, how could they have equal time participating when they could not barely cope up with low internet signal, load and other challenges present in a house of wants.

There you go. If you happen to be free of such challenges, you are lucky enough coping up with all these challenges, and would emerge victorious having continuity of learning amid this trying time. However, grit, resiliency and perseverance, can be our saving grace when facing these glaring realities. No matter what challenges are in our way toward teaching/learning journey, we are always expecting the best result through our best effort. Keep head high, always. Keep safe, sane and a saint. Cheers!

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