Monday, September 22, 2008

Online Education

On the front page of the New York Times reads the headline: "Half a million American Children Take Classes Online.” It continues to report, “with a significant group...getting all their schooling from virtual public schools."

So, I think back to my experience homeschooling my three kids. And yes, they took plenty of classes in the community and with other homeschoolers. And yes, there may have been times when an online class would have been helpful. But I can’t help but wonder about learning from a teacher who loves doing what he/she does as opposed to getting information from a computer. Where is the interaction? Where is the spontaneous burst of questions and answers, dialogue, rapport? Where is the passion?

Then, I think about situations I have seen in our public schools: Teachers with far too many students to be affective or to know what any of those students are getting from classroom-based presentations short of their test scores: Teachers who are far too burdened with state and district requirements to have the time and energy to connect to their passions, let alone communicate them.

I think about the ghetto schools I have seen. I taught in a couple for a while. I remember asking kids to hand in their knives. I saw a gun battle at the gas station across the street from the high school. I dealt with fires set in trashcans and the need to lock myself and my students into our classroom for our own protection.

I think about burned-out, crabby teachers and the interactions they might be creating with their students. I think about all the students who are pushed to move on, when, with a little bit of extra time, they could have mastered that skill or got the concept.

I put it all together and come to the conclusion that sitting in the living room, studying from a computer screen might be O.K. if it keeps a child out of a less-than-optimal situation, but wouldn’t it be better if there where passionate classrooms that met every child’s needs everywhere?


Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

I blogged about you today. Keep up the great work on your blog. We love reading it. :-)

Wendy Christensen {Moments Like This} said...

Hello Resa - I'm a major fan of you and your family!! :) Keep up your ultra positive attitude and AWESOME believe in the future of our children and their 'call to brilliance'!!

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