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“Education in the Post COVID-19 World.”

Congratulations!!! We made it to the end of a very challenging school year. When parents ask me what I think will happen in education post COVID-19, my answer is, more diversification.

We know that the one-size-fits-all education model does not fit all. Today in Ontario we have many alternatives: religious and secular school boards, English and French schools, gifted programs, and arts programs, private schools and homeschooling. Schools offer individual accommodations, and there are countless tutors and after school services to supplement all of the above. The quarantine has introduced a new dimension to this already diversified experience — distance learning. Like everything else in education, it doesn’t work for everyone, and the current model needs improvement, but there are benefits to distance learning becoming an additional option for students to turn to.

Online learning is nothing new, of course. I got my certification in online teaching and course design 10 years ago. My employer had a budget allocated to professional development and signed me up. Needless to say, the course itself was taught online. I learned what I could and eventually left the employer to start my own business, a part of which included teaching clients overseas from my kitchen. Universities have been offering distance learning for over a decade. And now the pandemic has brought it to everyone. It does not work equally for all, nothing in education does. However, it does have it’s benefits, and I hope it remains an option when thighs go back to normal.

There are benefits to learning from home. Students who get distracted in class because socialising with classmates is more rewarding than listening to the teacher, or those who experience bullying, benefit from learning at home. The same goes for students who are easily discouraged when others are faster or better than them. Since we switched to online learning, I have seen some students’ grades improve, and they tell me it’s because they focus better in their own room. Time wasted on discipline is certainly reduced. My grade nines complained in English class that they learn a lot more math now; every time they try to distract the teacher, she mutes us and keeps teaching. I muted them and continued teaching. Unfortunately, not all of them did well for a number of reasons. And that is why distance learning will not replace traditional classrooms, but will remain a welcome alternative.

There are benefits to being able to choose courses and teachers from anywhere in the world. When students learn online, they are not limited to the schools, teachers or private tutors close to home. A successful math teacher in Singapore can teach a diverse group of students from all corners of the globe. Students benefit not only from being able to choose top teachers, but also from developing a broad worldview through being exposed to mixed, international groups. This increases choices for families and competition among schools. Competition leads to innovation and improvement. Read full article here

by Maria Gurevich,

Toronto, Canada

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