Distance Learning Shows Some Cracks
A handful of news stories over the past weeks have emerged pointing to the struggles students and administrators are having with distance learning. Some students are either nominally committed to their learning or checked-out altogether. Some students feel detached and disconnected. Sometimes, the problem is simply technical. A poor internet connection, limited access to technology, or lack of technical ability keeps students from being able to attend online classes, turn in assignments, or engage in learning.
Whatever the reason, the problem is real. Whether it’s a lack of the right equipment or the right motivation, the distance learning happening at many schools around the country is taking its toll. As our standards drop, so go our expectations. We shift to a mentality of accepting something that’s “good enough” in light of our current situation.
Lower the Standards?
Studies that show student performance is falling are leading administrators and officials across the country to adjust the scale by which we’re measuring our students and the overall effectiveness of the “classroom.” For many districts, the number of F’s being given to students has exponentially increased. To combat this, tests are being rethought and sometimes completely canceled. Grades are being reconfigured, with school districts giving 50’s instead of 0’s for assignments that aren’t turned in. These adjustments and pivots are meant to “soften the blow” of this season on a student’s future.
In many ways, the jury is still out on what the impacts of distance learning will be on students and on our nation’s education system. We don't know how individual lives are being impacted. And it's hard to point a finger at the public school system's response to these flaws in distance learning. After all, how do you maintain high standards and provide accountability and expect performance when you have little or no control over your students' learning environment?
Our Commitment to In-Person Learning
We are committed to learning on-site and in-person because we believe that there’s just something about being together. Online environments simply cannot match the depth of engagement that happens in a face-to-face discussion. Students need relationships to thrive. They need connection with people who encourage them, people who challenge them, and people who mentor them. They need to be reminded of who they are and what they’re capable of. They need to be trained — and not be expected to train themselves.
We know that this pandemic has led to some very frustrating and inconvenient realities. It’s changed almost everything about the way we live. But in those changes, we are choosing to remain on-site and in-person for our learning.
It’s not perfect…but it’s worthwhile.
At Liberty Classical, our doors remain open, while also partially blocked by a table with masks and hand sanitizer. Keeping our doors open was a commitment, and it was one that we made intentionally as we went into this new school year. We knew it would mean new standards, new protocols and policies. We knew that teachers would be pushed to new limits, that families would be looking for answers about our COVID response and the safety of their students, and that students would be dealing with fear and fatigue in addition to all of the every day issues they’re already facing. It’s been a learning process for all of us at Liberty Classical, and it hasn’t been seamless.
But it’s been worthwhile.
We’re seeing students thrive in our community of learning. We’re seeing new families join and enjoy the richness and life of the Liberty culture. We’re seeing teachers in their sweet spots, continuing to encourage students and teach them with high standards and Godly wisdom. We're seeing good things happen. And while COVID has meant that some parts of the Liberty experience simply can't look the way they've always looked, we're staying the course. We're committed to making Liberty Classical Academy a safe place of learning, where students are given the chance to discover Truth and to live it out.
What About You?
What do you think? Is distance learning going to come back and bite us as a nation? Is the risk of meeting face-to-face in the midst of a pandemic worth it?