Learning at home – the better way?
When I woke up today at 8:30 a. m., made myself a cup of a coffee, listened to relaxing music, turned on my laptop and opened the e-learning program, homeschooling seemed to be the best way for me to make my learning process as easy and as effective as it can be. However, it only took me about 15 minutes to try to understand the first sentences of my chemistry tasks and I started to doubt my thoughts. Learning at home is a very new and unusual situation, but now that students, teachers and parents have already had a few experiences with it, it can be discussed whether homeschooling and online classes are the better way to learn and whether they will therefore continue to be used in the future. At first, learning at home seems to be every student's dream. You can get up whenever you want, work at your own pace and use the Internet at any time. Each student can decide when to take a break and how to set up their workplace to help them learn as much as possible. Even though I had trouble concentrating on the tasks at the beginning, as I had too many possibilities to distract myself in my room, such as my mobile phone, I later started sorting everything around me so that I had a quiet workplace where I could do my tasks undisturbed. This way, I learned to organize myself and how to work most productively.
Unfortunately, learning at home does not only have advantages. Despite the possibility of organizing the learning routine myself, it is sometimes very difficult for me and other students to motivate ourselves. A reason for this is, for example, that learning new information in subjects such as mathematics, physics or chemistry is much more complex and harder to understand if you have to “teach yourself”. On one hand, the Internet can be very helpful, especially because of articles written by professionals, on the other hand, some topics are just easier to understand and memorize if they are explained by teachers. Although we students are also in exchange with each other and can support us with the tasks, this exchange also requires more time and is much more difficult. In addition to that, there is no direct contact between students and teachers in learning online. It is not always possible for the teacher to control the extent to which the students have done and understood the tasks, or if they need more support and how long they took. As a result, some students are overwhelmed by the amount and difficulty of the tasks. Here, communication is the key. In order to prevent an overload and other problems, teachers and students will have to communicate more with each other in the future, although this can be difficult if they only have the opportunity to write messages. If homeschooling is to continue to be used in the future, it must become a matter of course to give more feedback to teachers, to get more feedback from them and thus to find a way to reach one level of knowledge despite the different learning pace of the students.
(Clara Frische, 9a)
A mixture of learning at school and at home
An idea for the future?
For the last two months I’ve mostly learnt at home, because of the global pandemic which has befallen us. The first thing I have to tell you is that being at home all the time is probably not as nice as you think. But a mixture of learning at home and in school could be a major step toward a futuristic education. Or it could just be another idea which looks silly in retrospect. In the beginning of homeschooling, which was roughly two months ago it felt really nice just being able to sleep as long as you want and I was really motivated to do homework because after I’ve done all the things I had to do, I could just relax for the rest of the day. But as the days and weeks flew by it got harder and harder to concentrate on the tasks at hand and to motivate myself into doing them. In the end I just did every homework on the day it had to be handed in. I don’t know if it will be like this for everyone but this is not the only downside of learning at home. One could argue that working at home teaches you to be more independent, however if you don’t already know how to schedule a workday you probably won’t learn from sitting at home and not getting any input for things you do right or wrong. School is there to help you organize yourself in a safe environment and the further you age the more responsibility you have to take for yourself. The next step would be university where you’re a bit more independent and mostly decide for yourself which courses you attend. It’s a slow process of getting more and more independent from other people and you shouldn’t have to schedule you whole day when you’re in high school when some adults can’t even schedule their days. Which brings me to my next point: without any teachers to correct you if you’re wrong or to give you advice on what to do better you can’t learn efficiently. Even when you compare the results on the next schoolday, chances are, that you’ve forgotten most of what you had written down. Also, for me anyway, it wasn’t so easy doing the tasks and then get valuable information out of them from which I can learn. My point is, that without teachers, you just do homework and don’t learn anything from it. The amount of tasks you do in school can’t be compared to the amount you do at home, it’s just not feasible doing as much at home as in school. All the things I did at home had to be rediscussed in school so that the teachers could make sure the students understood the subjects they had taught themselves. If you consider all the things I’ve just said the idea doesn’t only reveal itself to be silly in retrospect, but we can conclude it is silly in the present. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time of homeschooling and it was a fun experience, but with the many cons the idea of homeschooling has, it won’t be such a fun experience anymore if you don’t learn anything, get unmotivated and inevitably do worse in school.
(Maximalian Stanko, 9a)
Essay: Learning at home – the better way?
It´s 2020. The Coronavirus hit all of us pretty more than first expected. The schools were shut in the middle of March. I personally thought the following weeks would be a great time. Well, some days were nice and interesting, fulfilled by trying to paint, reading, or playing computer games for once since a long time. But I immediately figured out that this would be a wonderful dream. I returned to the reality quite quickly, but I wasn´t afraid of all the homework we had to do. Until I found out that the deadline of completely different tasks all had to be handed in until the next week. And then the quite short journey began. I had to finish four essays for my chemistry project which I luckily started some days before so I didn´t have to write all of them, I needed to hand in a huge amount of tasks for my German class, which took me hours, as well there were some nice small Latin tasks which turned out not to be that small and, on top we had to do an experiment describing Allen´s Rule in biology class. I was sitting in my room and had just realised, that I needed to do all my tasks soon. Could this be possible? The whole last week I stayed calm and didn´t have to do so many things and then, as if everybody just found out that we were not going to go to school the next weeks, they all came up with their tasks. Nice one. Usually I get quite good marks, but although some bad grades couldn´t get me into real problems, I got really stressed. I am quite a lazy person, so when it comes to homework, I often wait until one day before deadline and hand them in. But it´s not that I don't think about my tasks, they set myself under big pressure, but I am just not motivated and creative enough. As I already said, it stressed me totally out. I always had something in my mind, anywhere I was going, everything I was doing, every time I had this strange feeling in my head that I had to do something and couldn´t get any happier until I´ve done all of these tasks. You always see people working one hour straight on one topic
and filming themselves giving advice how to get more productive. These videos didn´t help me. I always thought of my homework and realised that these tips wouldn´t fit properly in my topics. This was quite a drama and days went by. One day I finally went for it and tried it. I made a plan; I would work about 15 minutes on this chemistry essay and then take a break, then I would try these tasks for my German class. What a surprise, I didn´t only work on this essay for a few minutes, in fact I sat there for an hour and had done most of it. After this I did really take a short break and worked on the other tasks. It didn´t cost me too much time, I didn´t enjoy it, but it worked and in the end of the day I was quite pleased with myself. As I said, for me something like this isn´t really enjoyable, but when I concentrated only on these tasks, I could think about their content and for some things I realised it would make me a bit more informed about topics like gasoline or petroleum and I would think about this more often. I have to say, this biology experiment set me under pressure. I told my mom and we decided to start that experiment the next day. She helped me preparing the things, in the end I did the whole experiment by myself because otherwise we would have gotten into a fight, but it is what it is. I finished my experiment and it didn´t turn out this complicated. My Latin tasks didn´t take this much time either. Even if I am not interested in the ancient Rome, I didn´t complain that much about it and thought of how politicians behaved in these times and how they do now. I took out the information, that I found interesting to think about. In the end, it helps you to know some trivial things like this. You can understand some things you didn´t before. I eventually coped with the situation of learning at home and took out what sounded interesting to me. But if this is the better way? I don´t think so. You don´t have the structured day as usual, I think as a teenager this is quite important, as you already have got enough problems. This is very helpful, as well as it is nice to see some other people and rooms, not only your family and your own room. The teachers can´t help you immediately and you need to learn all the topics by yourself. This can help for your future, but in my view it´s not helpful for you right now. I will appreciate going to school again, as home schooling is not the right way for me.
(Milena Below, Klasse 9a)
(Anke Kuhnhardt, Englischlehrerin; Startbild: Annalena Gräfner, Kl. 11)