The pandemic affects every facet of life of individuals around the world. It challenges the status quo, from how everyone shops for necessities to how companies adjust their work-from-home guidelines. One sector that is struggling to adjust is the schools and academic institutions. In compliance with the World Health Organization’s health guidelines, the traditional set-up of face-to-face student-teacher interaction does not work. Crowded classrooms without proper ventilation are hotspots for the virus to spread.
Maximizing the digital space
Some parents now prefer homeschooling their children instead of undergoing online classes. While this seems favorable, it’s much harder to implement than it sounds. The Washington Post outlined the reasons why homeschooling needs more thought and care than parents realized.
Teachers are trained individuals who specialize in managing student learning and development. This is aside from knowing their core subjects such as Math, Science, and English. They’ve set aside resources to learn about the technical details of how a person can effectively absorb knowledge. Simply put, they’re professionals. It’s the same how you would expect licensed property solicitors to do a better job at getting a favorable deal than if you did it yourself.
Several schools are now shifting towards online classes, while some are still finalizing their decision. Does this mean that conducting online classes is the most practical alternative to adopt in this pandemic? The answer seems to be yes, provided that institutions use the right method of teaching.
Online classes are a better alternative than homeschooling because the student-teacher interaction is still there despite the change in method. But it shouldn’t be a marathon of lectures. Students can’t keep their concentration for that long. Teachers too will not be able to assess whether the students have absorbed the lessons through the screen.
Mixing the Socratic method and asynchronous learning
The Socratic method is a valued teaching method in education. As described by the University of Chicago Law School, this method works best in increasing participation for a large group of students through its use of analytical questions. Students can understand the heart of what they’re learning and develop their critical thinking skills.
Although this method is best applied face-to-face, it can still be practiced in online classes. It will be difficult, but it is possible by adding asynchronous learning into the picture. It is another method perfect for self-study. Because there are recognized constraints to online discussions, such as having technical problems or difficulty in clarifying lessons, students will be needing more time to process information.
Asynchronous learning provides the opportunity for students to study at their own pacing. But as research suggests, this type of learning works best when students need more time to work on difficult problem sets.
The future of the education sector under Corona is uncertain. As government agencies and academic institutions finalize their plans towards online classes, its effectivity is still under scrutiny. But if they apply the right method of teaching, such as adopting a mixture of the Socratic method and asynchronous learning, education can continue in the new normal.