Things we forgot how to learn

Quarentine’s impact on this school year

We all knew last year was hard. There was the covid outbreak and pandemic; and if that wasn’t enough, we had much of Australia in flames, Black Lives Matter protests, Kobe died, murder hornets invaded, and…online school. 

In the moment, online school seemed terrible. Then students came back to real school, and realized that online school was a dream. Students report getting used to sleeping through classes and taking tests with teacher notes, slides, and at least 5 other tabs. 

This year, some students figured out fast that their online school habits wouldn’t fly in person, and changed quickly. Others…not so much. This year, we see the negative impact online school had on our ability to learn in person.

Many students explain that they aren’t able to focus in class like they used to before. “I feel like it’s mostly because we are so used to going at our own pace like last year in online school,” said Amina Syed, junior.

Teachers have observed the same issue. An English teacher reported that she only saw two students actively listening during her lesson, while the others were either listening to music, watching videos or scrolling through social media. 

A study from Microsoft Corp. found that the average attention span was around 8 seconds before the pandemic. Now, medical experts believe it has lessened.

 

On top of that, numerous students say that they basically forgot how to study, mostly because they didn’t need to in online school. They just looked at slides or google answers. 

Because of this, many also struggle with taking notes in class now. One student admitted that her handwriting definitely gotten worse. Another student finds it difficult to take concise notes that he can actually study from.

As a result, test taking has been a major struggle for students this year. Without the studying and note taking issues, simply taking a test physically has been a considerable change from the much less stressful online format. 

 

Online school hasn’t just affected student’s academic performance, it has also impacted them socially and emotionally as well.

One student remarked that she couldn’t communicate as well face to face with her teachers or people she didn’t know, mostly because she got so used to talking digitally on text, email, or even in the chat on Zoom. Others say they talk less in class for this reason.

Time management has also been an issue for students this year. Online, everything was listed on google classroom, while in person, many teachers have been giving out papers or homework on other softwares.

Lastly, students say they forgot how to stay motivated in school. Just coming to class, and actually trying in school is something that is a struggle for many. “I think it’s because we got so used to getting good results or grades without putting in much effort, and now you might put in a lot of effort and not get good grades,” said Avni Vallab, senior. 

 

Forgetting how to learn something may not just affect us in high school, but it may also carry over in college and future careers. Test-taking, notes, studying, and time management are all important, but the most important skills we need to think about are communication and executive function.

Executive function is the ability to think ahead for yourself, being able to overcome the desire to have instant gratification in order to benefit yourself in the long run. 

Has online school lowered our ability to pick homework over Netflix? Or fighting against climate change over making some quick money? The answer to that may decide our generation’s success and survival  in the upcoming decades.