Which is better, Online vs In-person learning??

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Mibu Tako

As the lockdown begins to ease in England, we are gradually returning to our normal (or the so-called “new normal”) school life. Although we can no longer wake up five minutes before class starts, nor can we eat lunch during our fourth period, there are definitely some advantages of seeing people on campus again.

A survey was sent out to all Marymount students in order to find out whether they prefer online or in-person learning and why. As a result, 66.7% of the respondents seemed to favour in-person schooling. Particularly amongst high school students, many found it challenging to fully concentrate at home. Studying in your own bedroom was certainly not distraction-free but perhaps motivation for studying-free. One grade 11 student shared her opinion on how she “absolutely hated online learning.” She explained, “Your room becomes your relaxation space, your office, your gym, and your sleeping room all at once.” Many of us would probably relate when mentioning the difficulty of having clear distinctions between the time to work and rest in your cosy sofa.

Others also reflected on the loneliness and sense of isolation felt during lockdown. Diya Asawa from grade 10 commented, “While online school allowed for a lot more breaks and time to consolidate the work we’d studied, it was difficult having to stare at a screen all day and not being able to interact with my friends freely. I prefer in-person school because the lessons are more interesting and involve a lot more group work, and the discussions or debates we can have during classes help us learn more.”

At least once in your life, you would have listened to your parents’ endless speech about their nostalgic teenage memories. They’d tell you how wonderful it is to be young, pure, and reckless, and how we should enjoy social experiences. Well, Covid-19 quite frankly interrupted our opportunity to explore and embrace youth. One grade 10 student stated, “What makes school enjoyable and less stressful is physically seeing and talking to my friends and being in the classrooms.”

Nonetheless, we must also acknowledge the fact that 33.3% of the students who responded preferred online learning. In-person interaction with other students and teachers can sometimes become a source of anxiety. So many unexpected events happen when you are at school, and as stated by one grade 8 student, “you feel far more in control and comfortable at home.” When our to-do list starts to extend further and further, it is much easier for us to efficiently complete homework during the five minute-breaks between each lesson. We now spend our time between classes walking instead of getting any work done, which can at times be frustrating. A student in grade 11 explained, “It is easier to concentrate at home with all my resources around me and a more relaxing environment. It also encourages independent work, and working at your own pace is easier.” What’s more, the act of getting out of bed earlier in the morning and changing into uniforms can be resisted by the laziness built up in our body system during lockdown.

Anyhow, let’s hope that we will eventually get used to our teenage life prior to the lockdown. Now that we’re back on campus, why don’t we cherish every moment with our friends, enjoy the spring weather, and genuinely have fun? We must ‘waste time’ by doing nothing else but chatting for 30 minutes after lunch, or by rushing to the other side of the campus to grab another bunch of spring rolls for snack time.