“I feel like I’m not learning anything because all I’m being asked to do is go onto Google Classroom, look at the assignments and finish them by a certain due date. So it’s like I’m teaching myself rather than being taught.” From a Washington Post article on the challenges of distance learning.
Even our most self-disciplined students have reported malaise about their self-education. We are social creatures and have been learning through teacher-student interaction from the days before Aristotle tutored a young Alexander The Great. If the Information Age has taught us anything about learning, it is that human nature requires that most people need (1) interaction (2) accountability and (3) structure to learn.
Through the years, I have had debates with the anti-college crowd who have proposed online learning through MOOCs (massive open online courses) as an alternative to college. Most of these theoretical educators were highly self-motivated students. Indeed, “highly” is an understatement. Most were outliers in the same way that Bill Gates self-educated himself to learn computers during his teen years. And, while I don’t like to use the word “all”, I can’t think of any that were real educators who worked with real high school students.
Most students need teachers. At the moment, most every Connecticut public school does not have any live interaction with teachers. This is creating an educational disaster.
Our virtual tutoring has become the solution for many of our clients. In addition to the learning benefits, tutoring combats social isolation. Texts/SnapChats/Videogame headset chatter provide the dominant socialization for most students right now. That’s not healthy.