How Remote Learning Varies by Classes and Teachers

How Remote Learning Varies by Classes and Teachers

By Eiman Navaid, Staff Writer

As District 219 settles into the new remote learning system as a way to continue school despite social distancing guidelines placed as a result of COVID-19, the method has varied from class to class and teacher to teacher.

The change from the classroom to an online setting would perhaps more negatively affect language classes, whose students would be able to easily practice their vocabulary and their speaking skills directly with another person when in class. However, due to the online switch, language teachers have had to find a way to make sure students don’t lose their language fluency, especially those in AP classes for the upcoming speaking exam.

French teacher Elizabeth Hinsinger expressed the difficulty with no longer having the privilege and the ability to speak in a classroom setting, and is setting goals to make sure that students are still able to practice the language with others despite the remote learning system.

“My goal during Remote Learning has been to try and create these interactions with students once a week via Zoom,” Hinsinger said, citing the challenges faced by many students at home due to the pandemic. “My hope is that in the next few weeks, my students are able to at least maintain the level of French that they have worked so hard to acquire.”

Although language classes are facing a bit more of a challenge, many English classes have been able to easily adjust to the online learning system. English teacher Tamara Jaffe-Notier has stayed away from the use of Zoom and has found a new alternative of meeting face to face: Flipgrid.

“Flipgrid allows them to see each other in a self-moderated way,” Jaffe said. “On that program, the student is able to draft and delete their videos as often as they like, so the final product can look the way they want it to.”

In her experience, Jaffe was surprised to see her sophomore class participating more than the seniors.

“I thought my senior class might participate in remote learning a little more,” Jaffe stated. “But maybe the whole problem is being a senior in the month of April is exacerbated by remote learning.”

Like many other teachers, Jaffe understands the psychological impact of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“I think seniors might be using their remote learning opportunity to stay in touch with their friends and comfort each other about the problem of not getting to experience the spring of senior year together.”

The main setback faced by English classes, as cited by many students and teachers, would be the inability to have an in-class discussion. While Zoom is an option, it is still a program that both students and teachers alike are getting used to, and technical difficulties and home life can get in the way.

Many math teachers, on the other hand, are using Zoom as much as possible to be able to walk through and explain new material to their students. AP teachers have also been taking advantage of the free College Board class lessons on their YouTube channel.

“I watch the videos, go over the practice problems that my teacher gives, and then check my answers with the answer key that she provides,” senior Maham Minhajuddin said. “It’s a little bit difficult to learn math outside of the traditional classroom setting, but we have to make it work.”

Overall, remote learning varies with each class and teacher, and they all come with their own set of difficulties. However, as district 219 ends its second week of the system, both students and teachers alike are both learning to adjust to the new system, as it is unclear when school will be back in session.