The following letter form was prepared based on feedback related to the article above, and a critique of Internet distance teaching (Zoom) shared by Grade School teachers having several months experience using this method of instruction during the present Pandemic.
Primarily, the letter identifies the need for more parental (or equivalent) assistance in meeting the standard desired learning outcome of students as it relates to classroom instruction.
The Conditions of Teaching via Zoom
(a typical letter to parents may help)
The transference of knowledge, or the act of teaching and learning requires an atmosphere where distractions or disruptions can be minimized. Therefore, the classroom is best and has become the standard medium for education.
Alternatives and adjunct methods have been developed using multimedia methods as technology has evolved, yet not to a point where distractions and discipline problems can be controlled as well as the classroom. However, there are those proven to be an effective adjunct methods for distance learning when administered under supervision.
Programmed Instruction Textbooks (PIT) became popular in the 60’s and widely used until the advent of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) became a popular training medium. Both were used by schools and colleges along with industrial training organizations including the NASA and the Military.
The Internet ultimately became a means and a medium by which these training systems could be easily programmed, and a cost-effective means to meet a great variety of educational needs. However, from the Pedagogy standpoint, they are somewhat lacking with respect to live teacher motivation, or control of student distractions and discipline. Without these, the desired and most effective teaching and learning environment cannot be fully achieved. This is especially true where younger students become involved.
Unfortunately, these media have become our primary source for education due to the present Pandemic. ZOOM has replaced the classroom in many areas and suddenly without preparation or understanding of what it may entail as a teacher, student, or a parent.
Therefore, educators are feeling their way through this new medium and learning rapidly how it can be used yet without the classroom advantages related to motivation, or control of distractions, or discipline. These are generally under the control of the Teacher in the classroom, yet now become the responsibility of a parent or someone where the student is physically participating. Otherwise, only well-disciplined students with a natural appetite for learning are expected to achieve the desired learning outcome. Others will not score as well without some parental tutoring (or equivalent) assistance at home.
The mechanics of Zoom teaching to many students does not allow for individual discipline, motivation, or distractions without wasting valuable and limited time for the class.
Having the best interest of your child in mind, and their ability to advance educationally through these trying times, we ask for your assistance and understanding to continue their education, and to realize our efforts cannot be expected to meet with usual classroom standards without your assistance. Together, we can hopefully, moving forward, mitigate the impact of this pandemic on the education of our children.