Between the winter storm and the pandemic, we’ve all heard the bad news regarding Texas education. But what if that wasn’t the whole story? What if there’s a little niggling piece of guilt that many of us are afraid to admit to anyone other than our most trusted confidantes? What if some of us… are actually… doing better with virtual schooling?
According to this article, from NewsEd, some students are getting better grades and have more confidence thanks to virtual schooling. NewsEd isn’t the only one who sees some silver linings in the education system today. Edutopia cites some instances of improved behavior in students who aren’t always best served by mainstream education techniques. Here at Planting Seeds Tutoring, we have noticed some big changes with our students as well.
Due to the flexibility of virtual school schedules, specialized tutors are able to meet with students during what would traditionally be school hours. This enables students to arrange their schedule of learning, schoolwork, and breaks around their own individual needs; instead of the dogmatic requirements of school districts. The privacy of autonomous work allows students to realize when they need extra help, and allows the availability of instructors during school hours to individually help them. It’s like the old saying, “work smarter, not harder”. But that’s not all. Prerecorded lessons allow students to listen again if they need to, or replay when they can focus better.
Many students are doing just that, focusing better. Studying and learning at home provides a familiar environment without the distraction of peers. If you’ve ever been in a group with multiple infants, you’ll understand this effect quite well. When one infant starts crying, the rest join in until the entire group is in tears. Peer pressure starts young and distracts many students from learning. The temptation of socializing is too strong for many of us to suppress, which provides another obstacle hindering students’ learning. The potential to work on assignments while classmates ask questions is improved with a virtual school. After all, one can simply turn down the volume and get to work.
Those who are shy particularly might be loving virtual learning. Without an audience of peers to evaluate your every move, you can simply email or call your teacher to ask your questions. Exceptionally highly creative students may find themselves doing better in school as well! Creative types now have the ability to create, express themselves, and find outlets for their energies that might otherwise be discouraged due to the distractions it would cause for peers. (Personally, I don’t know how I could have fit any art supplies on my tiny chair-and-desk-in-one but I would have certainly paid more attention in Pre-AP Biology if I could have been creating while listening!)
For those students who require extra time to get their work done suddenly have it–no more commuting to and from school gains students some extra minutes in the day. “It’s like I have more than 24 hours in a day now” one high schooler reported to his PST tutor. “The extra time is how I finish my assignments. I can sleep in on B days so I’m more rested in class.”
This article could go on for several pages. Many students with social anxiety are doing so much better in school because their learning environment is less threatening. These students can focus on learning more than overcoming their anxiousness. Students can take bathroom breaks more often and/or with more flexibility than they could at school, which also results in more time focusing and less time doing the “potty dance”. The amount of bullying is dramatically decreased this school year, which is a direct result of decreased unavoidable interactions with peers.
Gifted and Talented students are also seeing changes in working at home. They’re able to be more independently focused, which results in more time for independent projects and reading. These students find themselves able to relate to other cerebral peers, instead of on-level peers who may not always understand or accept them.
While there have been so many challenges and setbacks for so many during this era of history, it hasn’t all been bad. It hasn’t been easy, but the difficult circumstances American society has experienced over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years have had some positive byproducts as well. If you’re experiencing positive effects from virtual schooling then you can take advantage of this silver lining without the guilt because you’re not alone. And whether you’re doing well or not, the Planting Seeds Tutoring team is here to empower you to do your best work, learn in the style that works for you, and support you all the while. Thanks for reading!