Why Don’t Students Show-Up For Virtual Classes?

 If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you!

If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you!

Remote schooling is a hot topic of conversation in prevailing pandemic enforced circumstances. Whether virtual learning is favourable for young budding minds or not, can be constantly debated but it needs to get adopted, for progress and continuity. It’s an undeniable fact that a holistic school environment cannot be replicated online and classroom learning will unarguably remain the better mode of imparting knowledge but doesn’t virtual learning offer an excellent substitute in this time of emergency?

Schools may remain shut for at least another quarter and no one has complete visibility about the future, about the cure – about when this pandemic will disappear from our lives. Should students just sit with folded hands and wait for things to get better on their own? Are parents ready to let their children not study for months? Are they ok if children’s minds are left to wander aimlessly with no direction to their thoughts? Shouldn’t we all try and channelize their energies and put their brains to work constructively? Well, this is the purpose of virtual classes – to keep children meaningfully engaged and active. But, the whole objective is defeated when students do not attend online classes.

Despite relentless efforts by educators in this endeavour, what could cause children wanting to stay away from learning? Could parents be held responsible for this attitude of children?

Let us ponder upon the possible reasons for this absence from virtual lessons: 

  • Lack of interest in students – The biggest challenge seems to be keeping the child engaged throughout a virtual session.

Students don’t feel motivated enough to attend classes or even if they do, it’s merely a physical presence – either they feel left out or are not able to concentrate well. They may find it difficult to sit at one place for long and get restless so they want to avoid attending online classes. 

Educators need to ensure that the classes are interactive and the content is captivating enough to keep the children involved and interested to focus and learn. Many students have a visual memory and seem to be more willing to learn when lesson plans are embedded with techniques like picture reading, videos, fun activities can prove to be very effective to engage children meaningfully. 

  • Security concerns: Parents feel children are not safe learning online as they might get exposed to inappropriate content. There are several myths that drive the thought process of parents regarding virtual classes. Many feel that this whole digital revolution in education is detrimental to their child’s development. The complete ‘hype’ around screen time trounces the ray of ‘hope’ that technology offers in education. We must realize that technology is pervasive, and take this as an opportunity for our kids to become skilled for the digital future. They are getting trained to adjust to new environments and our job is to provide a conducive learning atmosphere and encourage them to put in their best foot forward in this learning journey. 
  • Internet connectivity issues: Not everyone has access to technology. For online classes, there is complete dependency on the  Internet. Many children may not be able to attend virtual classes as they don’t have a good bandwidth internet connection available at home. This holds true especially, for smaller towns and rural areas where people are either not capable enough to afford such facilities or are illiterate and fail to understand the technicalities involved in the process. 

So, if we want more children to show up for classes, the government needs to ensure a stable internet connection even in the remote areas and we must spread awareness so that education is truly accessible to all.

  • Device availability – Another issue that can lead to lower attendance in online classes is sufficient availability of devices. Every household might not have enough laptops, mobile phones or tablets available. for kids to attend virtual classes. Given, parents are working from home, this situation is very likely to occur. Affordable mobile phones have reduced this possibility to an extent in rural areas too, but still, the situation is far from an ideal scenario where all children are able to benefit from virtual learning – barring all odds.

Tell me and I forget.

Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I learn.

Online education surely shows several signs of positive prospects for our children. Parents must appreciate and advocate virtual learning to their kids – and ensure children don’t miss the classes.

I would sum up by stating that “virtual classes may not be an optimal learning environment for school children but it is definitely the only workable option to ensure continuous learning in the current times.” The primary aim of online classes is to ensure that students don’t forget all they have learnt till now and continue to gain knowledge. For senior children, it’s even more important than their studies are not hampered in a crucial academic year, which might impact their career growth later. We are all well aware that the situation is unlikely to improve soon and it’s a long way before the educational institutions can open and resume normal operations so whether we embrace the opportunities coming our way or continue to crib and complain is completing our choice. We must not let our anxieties or negative thoughts be passed on to our children as their innocent brains will not be able to cope up with these unfamiliar surroundings and will refuse to unleash the benefits of virtual learning.

Some teachers, students and parents have shown remarkable resilience during this time, bravely battling out the effects of the pandemic on school, education, and student learning. Parents need to guarantee that students don’t skip the virtual classes and educators should ensure students look forward to online sessions and are eager to acquire knowledge. The target should not be to have students merely be present in the classroom, but we must tap on their curiosity and zeal to learn. We should all adapt to the evolving online education methodologies, the ‘new normal’ in education.

The capacity to learn is a gift, 

the ability to learn is a skill, 

the willingness to learn is a choice.

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