The True Value of Learning – Coronavirus #7

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, almost every school in America closed in mid-March. Districts were given a few weeks to develop a learning plan for the “stay-at-home” environment. Please allow me to summarize what most districts presented to parents, teachers and students. 1) If schools had the ability to use virtual learning, they would utilize this as much as possible (online curriculum, laptops, internet and virtual classrooms like zoom). 2) Schools reduced the number of student-teacher contact hours  and study time to make it manageable for the students. 3) Because schools could not guarantee that all students had internet connections, all grades were frozen as of the time that “brick and mortar school” ended. Schools essentially told kids that their grades could not go down. Any work completed at home would essentially be counted as extra credit, thereby improving a student’s grades. In other words, no negative penalty would be provided for not completing assignments.

Joe’s Perspective: The word that most students heard was “voluntary.” When I speak to teachers around the country, they tell me that less than half of their students are participating. Furthermore, these teachers tell me that internet access has little impact on who turns in work. Instead, they tell me, it comes down to two variables: 1) parental expectations (if parents insist the student does the work, the work gets done) and 2) grades (typically those who had better grades are participating).

The Value of Learning: So, the question I have is why do we learn? Why do we go through 13 years of school and then pay thousands of dollars to attend college? If the answer is, “We are supposed to,” or “We have to,” you probably approach school with a certain mindset. And, once the grades are removed, you see no actual need to participate in school. On the other hand, if your answer is, “education is a way to improve myself,” or “the information I learn will help me get the job I want someday,” you approach school with a completely different mindset. For you, grades are just a reflection of what you have learned. You are less motivated by grades and more motivated by learning itself.

In my humble opinion, those who are intrinsically motivated by self-mastery are in a much better position than those who are externally motivated simply by grades. Those who said, “Awesome, my grade will not be affected, I will just skate by with my B,” are at a severe disadvantage to those who said, “Awesome, I get to learn from home, get comfortable with virtual learning (the future) and improve my grade.” Students who participated this semester, gained more knowledge and will be that much further ahead next fall. I would further argue that taking the easy way out is actually only hurting yourself in the long run. On some level, the way you responded to this “learn-at-home” environment says something about your character.

Your Turn: On a scale of 1-10, how much did you participate in the “learn-from-home” plan your school developed? Explain why you are at that number.

Comments 88

    1. 8 because while yes I did participate and get good grades, I still feel like I didn’t do more than just school and be productive

  1. 10- I took all my classes seriously and I went to ever meeting and took the opportunity to not have any distractions.

  2. 9 because I completed most of my assignments and attended zoom meetings, but sometimes I’d forget about a class and have to do makeups later.

  3. I participated fully (10/10) in my school’s online learning plan because it was my self-expectation to continue on. I also usually enjoy school and the concept of learning new things, so for a time as uncharted and uneventful as quarantine at home, learning gave me an opportunity of escape and growth.

  4. 10 – I made sure to keep up with my school work and my assignments because I knew that it would pay off when colleges viewed my second semester junior year grades. I want to get into my dream school and I don’t want to jeopardize my chances by slacking off just because my home may pose more distractions.

  5. 10 – I made sure to keep up with my school work and my assignments because I knew that it would pay off when colleges viewed my second semester junior year grades. I want to get into my dream school and I don’t want to jeopardize my chances by slacking off just because my home may pose more distractions.

  6. we should take each day day by day because changes happen quickly and we can’t get too attached to a new change because it may go back to its old way

  7. I would give myself a 10 because I attended all of my live classes, and completed my homework before it was due. I fully participated in classes and I would ask my teacher questions when I didn’t understand something.

  8. 10: For me, school still counted like normal, so I couldn’t afford to not participate. I had to give it my best shot.

  9. I give myself a 10 because I always participated in my online learning classes. Setting alarms before the start of class, staying organized , and getting ahead on my work kept me on track and engaged.

  10. I would give myself a 10 because I constantly worked hard and kept organized throughout this hard time by organizing my work with my schedule.

  11. I would give myself a 10 on this scale because I participated in all of my online classes, whether this be submitting pictures of my assignments, online documents, or attending live classes. During this time I was also able to restructure my organization to result in a much more productive schedule and learning process.

  12. I would give myself a 10 because I was always on time for my zoom meetings, set alarms, turned in assignments on time, and kept a positive attitude through it all.

  13. I would give myself a 10 because I would always get on my zooms and would always turn in my work on time. Sense it was online I did have to make some adjustments of my environment so that I feel comfortable in where I am and that I would get my work done.

  14. I would give myself a 10 because I knew I had to participate in order to keep up my normal routine in school. I also enjoy learning new things and getting an opportunity to go to school.

  15. I would give myself an 8 because I turned in my assignments and went to class but I didn’t pay attention all the time.

  16. 7- i did all my work for every class, sense it only took like 45 minutes a week. But there was this one class i had no idea what to do so i just skipped that class.

  17. I would say probably about a 4. Out of school learning wasn’t really easy to stay focused and wasn’t as strict as normal.

  18. i would grade myself a 5 because i only did it for like two classes because the rest of my grades were already A’s or a little bit higher. So i didn’t feel like i needed to get my other grades up

  19. i would grade myself a 5 because i only did it for like two classes because the rest of my grades were already A’s or a little bit higher. So i didn’t feel like i needed to get my other grades up

  20. I would give myself a 9 because I still got good grades and did my work but sometimes was not paying attention during the class.

  21. 8 because I did all the mandatory work with full effort but I didn’t participate in the synchronous learning as much as I could.

  22. I think I did very well. Some of my classes I ended up with over 100%. Although some of my classes I didn’t feel the need to do some of the assignments because I already had a very high grade. I would rate myself a 7.

  23. 9 because I participated the same amount as I would have during in person school however the learning process wasn’t as rigorous so I did not study as much as usual.

  24. 6 because I did my mandatory work but I did not make an effort to learn anything. If I knew something was completion then I just wrote down answers with little effort.

  25. I would say that I was a 10. My grades continued to be the same as before and, while it was an adjustment, I was still able to participate in class.

  26. I would say a 10, I realized that my time during home would still be part of school. I created a schedule and focused on my future goals/ careers. I think I became very motivated because I knew I had everything to lose.

  27. 9 because I did well on homework and quizzes but i didn’t feel like i put forth as much effort as if i would if i was in school.

  28. 9: I participated in online learning to the best of my ability, however, there was a small lack in focus because of the loss of the school environment.

  29. 9: I did well in school, completed all my work and got good grades but I didn’t put as much effort into my assignments as I would in school since the assignments were way easier.

  30. Personally I would rank my participation on the “learn from home” plan as a 9. Everyday I worked my hardest to complete all assignments and emailed my teachers if I had questions. I followed my normal actions as much as possible to simulate as if I was still in school.

  31. I would give myself a 10 because I continuously work hard and kept organized throughout this hard time by organizing my work with my schedule.

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