There has been a lot of talk around how students’ and teachers’ approaches to learning are going to be forever changed as a result of COVID-19. The general consensus is that online learning is going to continue to expand and evolve until the world reaches a point where the physical classroom becomes entirely null and void. Is this really true despite the many benefits of classroom learning? Below are a few reasons why we believe there is still a case for the classroom.
Teaching is about more than just delivering material
What makes a great teacher? Is it the teacher’s ability to deliver the required teaching material and facts to students within a stipulated time frame? Or is it his or her ability to ‘read the room’ and pick up when students may be struggling to grasp a concept. Should they instinctively know when to provide another example for clarity? Is it his or her ability to identify which students are engaging and which ones are zoning out? Online teaching doesn’t allow for all of this, which will result in more and more learners being left behind. The result being excessive foundational learning gaps forming over the years in a higher percentage of students.
A classroom is a space designed specifically to facilitate learning, concentration, and productivity. In contrast, very few students’ homes will promise the same idyllic setting. From noisy pets and siblings to a host of other temptations, such as smartphones, gaming consoles, and music, it is evident that online learning comes with a unique set of challenges in terms of dedicating one’s full attention and cognitive engagement to a lesson.
Classrooms promise inclusion
Not all students learn in the same way. For instance, some are visual learners, while others are kinaesthetic (or physical) learners. Unfortunately, online learning cannot always account for these varying learning styles. Classrooms, on the other hand, allow teachers to get more creative in terms of how they communicate concepts and information to their students. This helps to ensure a higher degree of inclusion.
Throw in the fact that a huge portion of South African students do not have access to the technology or equipment required to make the most of online learning, and it seems obvious that we are not yet ready to do away with classroom learning just yet (or ever).
How do you feel about classroom learning vs. learning online? Tell us on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.