Wondering how students decided whether to learn in school or online? Read on to hear from two NTCI students, who shared their thoughts in the September 17, 2020 issue of Graffiti.

Online to balance school and work

Given my circumstances, I have decided to do (mostly) online learning, with just two courses in-person. Both of my parents have compromised health, so I want to minimize the risk as much as possible. 

In addition to that, I am balancing a full-time job so this would be most accommodating to my current schedule because I wouldn’t need to be rushing back and forth between class and work. Home is closer to the place I work in, so I’d be “attending” class there. By the time classes end, it is also the busiest time at the shop. Plus, if the lessons are prerecorded, then I would be studying in the evening, which is preferable since I prepare the shop in the morning. 

A downside to online learning is that from previous experiences communicating with the instructor in online classes was a bit challenging. Sometimes they would respond later than expected. That course was World History, and any English or writing intensive courses are a lot easier and straightforward to facilitate online because you don’t have to consult teachers as often. But if it were math or sciences, which are based on problem solving, asking for homework can be a bit confusing (depending on the teacher, that is).

Although I personally prefer in-class learning, I would probably do the latter with or without the reasons mentioned above. In fact, I implore everyone to consider going online. The TDSB has already had difficulties in adequately accommodating 250,000 students per year; now facing the limitations of the current pandemic is going to be harder.

Thus, I believe that we should all do our part to help mitigate the risks, even if it resorts to “sacrificing” in-class learning. What I mean is that if you think online learning is doable and won’t be a compromise to your academic performance, I say go for it! This will preserve a lot more resources and funds to students who don’t have access to wifi, or personal devices, and whose learning styles require in-class learning.

—Danielle Fuentes

In class for less distraction, more motivation

Given the option to choose between in-class and online learning, I’ve chosen to do in-class learning for a number of reasons. I live within a five-minute walking distance to school, so transportation is never an issue. I also almost never see my parents except for the weekends, and they, fortunately, don’t have compromised health.

I also don’t have many commitments outside of school such as a part-time job or playing a sport in a club, so it doesn’t pose a danger to others around me. Most of my commitments last year were in-school activities such as clubs and sports teams, and I’m pretty sure it will be the same this year.

My parents also want me to do in-person school since they usually aren’t home during the week and would rather have me go out and see my friends, even if it’s for a small portion of the day. Another reason why I’ve decided to do in-person school is that I’m taking online French courses outside of school and therefore prefer to take my school courses in-person.

Throughout the online learning period at the end of the last school year, I also figured that I find online learning much more difficult, as I feel that there are way too many distractions at home, and it is hard to find motivation. I feel much more comfortable learning in a school environment with my friends and teachers to assist and help me in person. Considering all these reasons, I thought it would be a better option for me to go to school for half of the day.

Despite all that, I don’t think everyone should do in-person school since we all have different circumstances. Those with families with compromised health should definitely consider doing online school, because even though they will still have to do online for the other half of the day, it still doesn’t create as much of a danger.

Another disadvantage of in-class learning is that you don’t have much control over the pace of learning. The teacher will go at a pace that ensures those who are slower learners don’t get left behind, which might not always be the ideal pace for you. In online school, you get to determine your own pace, which might help you learn better.

—Defne Turner

These articles have been reprinted with permission from Graffiti. The school’s award-winning newspaper has continued to publish this year, putting out two volumes since the return to school in September. Read the latest issues at https://graffiti.ntci.on.ca/2020-21/.

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