In the future, teachers will be required to take even more activities in the implementation of distance learning. For example, the teacher should be able to take into account the chat conversation that takes place alongside the distance learning during the teaching and, if necessary, answer questions that come through it. The pandemic time has facilitated the introduction of many distance learning and conference platforms, but unfortunately the features of these platforms do not yet fully support distance learning. However, the opportunities for participation and the different characteristics will quickly improve.
Can a high school student be required to have an independent, active, self-directed study practice?
The worst problem, after all, is not the degree of technical development of distance learning platforms, but the fatigue of high school students to the pandemic. In an exceptional situation, the skills of independent study that few high school students have would be required. Nor can it be claimed to have been when high school has so far been class-centered learning and independent study has not been properly taught. Independent study actually becomes relevant for high school students in Finland for the first time only when they are preparing for the final exams of high school.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, one should go through student coaching. In practice: how does everyone find their own way of studying? How can a high school student reflect on his or her own future and what subjects he or she is interested in, how can he or she make the most of his or her own abilities? Now, distance learning for many impairs learning because there are no tools. There has been a public debate about student exhaustion and the large number of assignments. One teacher commented, “actually there aren’t that many homework, but when students don’t know or haven’t found a suitable study practice for themselves.” If each student found one, the time spent in school would be less than before, without deteriorating results.
The only support from home is a growl
A young person in distance learning may be caught up in a large number of homework all day. Parents may not be able to support the young person because there is no time and their own work should be taken care of. Even if a young person receives encouragement from a teacher at school, the situation at home can be quite different. Not necessarily even an accepting growl is heard. However, many high school students would need adult support for their studies, especially if independent study is not yet familiar and good practice has not emerged.
Teachers and students need to be trained for a new way of studying
Teachers try to stick to the goals of the curriculum. Training should also have been provided for teachers at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. How to activate students in distance learning? How to use group work, experiments and project work? Teachers should have gone through what assistive technology is available and become familiar with the use of different platforms. Now some know how to master, some do not. And as the pandemic keeps on going, the teachers’ view of the “lost year” is strengthened. During the pandemic, live distance learning should be familiar with key issues, but empathetically considering the attendees. An hour or a snippet of theory drawn with a steady decision can even make students fall asleep.
The new distance learning mode works for some students. The world is firmly sworn to distance learning. The time after the pandemic will be a parade march for distance learning. For some students, independent study works by providing a more peaceful learning environment. For some, it offers the opportunity for more effective study, leaving time for their own hobby. Unfortunately, for many, distance learning has become stressful, and at the same time, hobbies have been closed. Study sessions can last all day until evening or even until night.
Teacher’s nightmare: silence black box
Lessons have been held on site and remotely. While it has been possible to enter the class, many have still stayed home. In this case, you should invest in studying at home. One teacher said that each student is involved in a distance learning session as a “black box”. When the teacher calls for a student, they wake up and respond. The situation is awkward for the teacher: he or she does not know how many of the students are actually involved in the teaching, let alone actively take notes. In distance learning, the student’s notes about the lesson are worth their weight in gold, as the teacher goes through the course on the key issues. With the help of good notes, one can repeat the tasks presented in the lecture by doing and utilizing the theoretical content. Now we have to grab the bull by the horns: someone should show a vision of implementing distance learning.
At the end of the pandemic, teachers need to be trained and students need to be taught what it means to study independently, where they can decide their own schedules. It would be fruitful for developmental and educational psychologists to participate in the discussion. They need an insight into how a young high school student is willing to take responsibility for their own daily lives, considering studying. It should be possible to set a schedule, follow the syllabus required for studying and integrate leisure time into everyday life – but is it?