March 12, 2020, the Thursday before California shut down:
As I dive into my synthesis essay for my AP Language and Composition class (AP Lang), my eyes immediately catch sight of a name: COVID-19. As I grumble in frustration of how this virus is taking over my life, I then sigh, knowing that I will never be able to escape it. The prompt requires me to form an argument on the factors that my school should consider when closing school and if they should. Scanning the documents for evidence to create my argument, I stumble upon a quote:
Education is not a place but a service.
While that quote is very true and accurately represents today's situation of "online school," students are struggling to perform, stay motivated, and focus in the presence of the comforts of home.
1. Lower Level of Performance
As things change, people have to adapt to their surroundings in order to do well in their environment. In school, students are adapted to learn, observe, and react, allowing them to perform to their potential. In the classroom, there are 3 main types of learners— auditory, visual, and hands-on. Auditory learners have the privilege of listening to their professors speak while visual learners can observe and write down what their professors are highlighting on the whiteboard or in the notes. With the introduction of online school, visual and auditory learners alike have not been as affected as hand-on learners, a type of learner that requires a physical element like writing down notes, making projects, and interacting with objects. Hands-on learners will have a harder time performing to the level that they are used to due to the lack of interaction. This will cause decrease in grades and quality. The online learning style also effect other students who have a hard time learning via screen, wish to ask questions after class, and those who do well in a group setting.
2. Lack of Motivation
Targeting the study of the mind and human behavior, psychology addresses how in different environments, people have different mindsets and approaches to certain circumstances— a concept called association. Association refers to the cognitive connection between ideas, places, and certain mentalities from previous experiences and behaviors. Association can affect a person's memory and [style/progress of] learning. This is the main reason why studying and learning from the same location as when you take a test helps you do better on the test because your brain recognizes similarities between when you were learning and when you had to reciprocate that information.
Anyways in this case, online learning can cause students who associated home with comfort and relaxation to feel unmotivated to complete classwork or not pay attention as much as they would at school. (Not to brag at all) To provide some context, I am a straight A student taking AP and Honors classes at a private college preparatory school— in short, I am a good student at a hard school. Whenever I go to school, I make sure to work hard, pay attention, ask questions and fully understand the material being taught; however, when I return home, I lay in bed to find comfort and relaxation. Now that I am in online school, I find myself struggling to keep up because where I once used as a place to avoid work, I now have to complete rigorous assignments. The mixed-matched association is creating a lot of problems for me and other students alike, all dealing with the lack of motivation to complete the same quantity with a high quality.
(PS I know people are going to tell me to just work done and I am but it is harder than usual and I'm proving how this aspect of psychology is creating a lot of difficulties for me in online school)
3. The Inability to Focus
Phones chiming, music playing, birds chirping, people talking. Distractions. All are distractions and IT. IS. HARD. I have a younger sister who 4. Since she is not in preschool, our house has become her preschool. Everyday I find her: running down the hall loudly, constantly watching her shows, and keeping the sound level on max while she plays Wii sports and the Legend of Zelda(Yes she is pretty good at Zelda and is better than me lol). What I'm trying to say is that homes are full of distractions. Even without my sister I have a hard time staying on one task for an extended amount of time because so many things are happening at once. My dog is pacing, phones ringing, and messes to be cleaned up.
School is a great place for education because it is a place away from all of such distractions, enabling students to stay on task and focused on the assignment at hand. Without school, distractions come poring in. I mean, who doesn't go through social media like 5 or more times a day? No one because social media and phones are distracting and having them at hand closer than ever before is even worse for students trying to learn. It drags them away from their classwork to focus on something even *more precious*.
Home might be where the heart is but not where the brain is. Learning at home creates struggles that students have to face alone and is not an ideal environment for education to thrive in. Thank you for reading and I hope I did not bore you. Stay safe and zoom on.
(also enjoy the zoom memes) #zoomers #onlineeducation