- 2020 English Essay Contest 대상 수상작
|▲ The Grand Prize Winning Essay of the 2020 English Essay Contest hosted by the Chonnam Tribune, the official English magazine at Chonnam National University|
COVID-19 has changed the way people live in 2020. People do not go shopping as much as before and would rather shop online. Some suffer from depression and others have gained weight due to reduced physical activity. Many people have been laid off. It is inevitable for students to face changes in their classes as well. Most classes have become online-based and the majority of the students are going to school only once every three days in order to prevent the possibility of a COVID-19 infection. As online classes have not been prevalent until now, many students and teachers are undergoing difficulties. Students have concentration issues, due to the lack of interaction with the teachers. Teachers are also having trouble caring for each student and finding ways to help students focus on their studies. Therefore, there is an ongoing debate about live online classes. Some people believe that teaching through live classes could boost students’ concentration and minimize the learning gap among students. However, I am certain that it is not in the students’ best interests to have more live classes.
First, each individual student is unique in his or her way of learning. Some students may have better concentration at night, while others focus better during the day. The decision on when and where to study should be made by the students because it would give them greater autonomy in their lives. If students only follow the rules during the class, they will lose their independence in learning. Teachers should provide students with deadlines instead of making them attend live classes. With set deadlines, students would know when to finish their studies. Eventually, they will make adjustments to the classes for their convenience and get the most out of the classes. On top of non-live online classes, it would be helpful to the students if the school provides lectures on time management and study skills. The working conditions have changed dramatically. There are more and more people working from home due to COVID-19. Therefore, time managing skills have become very important. However, students are still inexperienced at studying at home and managing their time. Schools may assist students by providing lectures about concentration, time management, note taking, etc. Live online classes may help students focus at the moment, but this kind of support would back students up in the long run.
Second, as for live classes, teachers cannot supervise all the students. Some students might turn the class on but still play games on their phones. Others may live in places with poor internet and have difficulty with frequent disconnections. These students are usually the ones that need the biggest help with their study, because it would be difficult for them to keep up. These students would be at a great disadvantage because live classes would be provided only once. However, if students take online classes that they can listen to repeatedly, students could take these classes as much as they need, take a break for a while if necessary, and resume their studies when they are ready. In this case, teachers would know more about student’s attitude by giving checkup quizzes that students could only submit after listening to each lesson. Students would have to look back and review it to solve the quiz, so it would help students to digest the content that they learned from each lesson. Sometimes, teachers may provide different questions to some groups of students to make sure they do not copy their friends’ answer and solve it on their own. Teachers could provide more care to the students who scored poorly.
Even though the classes may not be real-time, teachers should allocate time to interact with students and answer questions. Students who are shy and cannot raise their voices during live online classes may feel more comfortable asking questions during a one-on-one session. Moreover, by setting a specific time for answering questions, students would take the online classes before the Q&A session. If some students have problems following up, teachers could provide some classes which are targeted towards lower grades. By providing easier classes, students will be provided with more opportunities to thoroughly understand the topic. On the other hand, if some students are curious about certain subjects and wish to look into them in more depth, teachers could provide them with higher-level, upper grade classes. Teachers may also talk about the problems that students are facing during this time.
Due to COVID-19, schools are faced with immense, unprecedented obstacles. Students are suffering because they are studying alone and teachers are contemplating different teaching methods. COVID-19 has made people rethink education and learning. It could be a chance to change perceptions on classes, such as giving more freedom to the students. However, endless freedom is not the best solution. Therefore, I also suggested some backup ideas to facilitate students’ learning. First, it is to give a deadline for the non-online classes. The second is to; provide students with lectures on time management and learning skills, so that students can improve their independence in learning. Third, teachers should give out quizzes to check students’ attendance and understanding. Lastly, setting aside time to take care of students and answer questions will also help studies. By doing so, students may feel that it is easier to approach the teachers. It is a hard time for everybody. Teachers are also under a lot of pressure to find the best way to convey lectures. I believe that live online class is not the best way to close the achievement gap among students and there may be better ways to help all the students achieve their goals.
By Yeon Min-seon, Fourth Year, Dept. of Pharmacy, Chonnam National University
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