Opinion Blog

Classroom Q&A

With Larry Ferlazzo

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to lferlazzo@epe.org. Read more from this blog.

Classroom Technology Opinion

‘My Online Learning Experience as a Student Is Not So Good’

By Larry Ferlazzo — May 05, 2020 6 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

I’ve been posting a lot here—for obvious reasons—on how teachers are responding to the coronavirus crisis.

It’s probably past time to get students’ perspectives.

This series, though, isn’t the first time that student voices have been featured. You can see previous student contributions here.

Here are a few student commentaries on remote learning. Though the contributions today are all from students at the school where I teach in Sacramento, Calif., future posts in this series will include reflections from students of all age ranges and from different geographical areas:

“I would not want to do online learning in the future”

Diego Jimenez is a ROTC cadet at Luther Burbank High School:

My online learning experience as a student is not so good. I only like how I don’t have to wake up at 6 every day. What I don’t like about it is that for me it’s confusing when a teacher gives us work mostly since it’s easier for me to do work with instructions that the teacher gives. Being in a physical classroom makes me only focus on my work, but online learning makes it harder to focus because I have to also focus on household stuff, and it throws me off. I would not want to do online learning in the future because it is hard for me to concentrate on my work only.

No thanks to online classes

Aaliyah Deshazier is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

My online learning experience has been different than what I’m used to. I love that I get to work from the comfort of my home; however, I would rather be in a physical classroom doing my work because it gives me the opportunity to ask questions when needed, and in my own opinion, it is much more effective than online learning. Compared to learning in a physical classroom online classes seem more difficult because you don’t get the hands-on learning like you do in a physical classroom. In the future, I’d choose a physical classroom over online any day. The reason being, it’s easier for me to understand the lesson plans and put my new knowledge into effect.

Mixed feelings

Jesusisis Alvarado is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

My online learning experience as a student is kind of stressful; I’m not really used to technology. I am learning how to use technology, especially because I need to do my homework somehow. I did like how we can be at home, though, to bond with my family. What I don’t like is the piles of homework due on the same day. I have a teacher that makes us do our homework and makes us turn it in by 6:30 p.m. on that same day. This experience compares to my experience as a student in a physical classroom because of the workload. In the future, I would sometimes want online learning and sometimes do my education at school, even though it may be loud to concentrate sometimes. I would like to do some online learning so I can bond more with my family. I would just hope I didn’t get as much work as I do now. I want to be able to have a clear mind without worrying that I have so much homework to do.

Learning how to be independent

Kimberly Deluna is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

My online experience is disturbing. Ever since we had no school and stayed home due to quarantine, I have been more busy than usual. I don’t really like online school because it makes me procrastinate to do my work last minute. On the other hand, at school, I finished all my assignments on time without feeling lazy. The only thing I like about online classes is that they have helped me learn how to be independent, manage family time and school work. I am not as concerned about my grade as much because it can’t drop lower. I don’t really like how some of my teachers are giving us more assignments now than in the past. Also, I don’t understand how to do a lot of classwork because I forgot or it’s difficult to understand without anyone’s help. Being physically in a classroom, I have more classmates to ask for help. In class, I can ask the teacher for help as many times I need, and there’s a higher possibility I will understand the assignment. It’s totally different online because I only have myself to use as a resource. I would rather have physical communication with a teacher. Online learning for me is confusing and too stressful because there are times when my family is using the internet as well as I am. My documents won’t turn in on time. Or there’s been a moment where it failed to turn in my assignment at all, and I did all that hard work for nothing.

More time to think

Mai Te Thao is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:

As a student, my online learning experience has been even busier compared to attending regular classes on campus in person because for the most part, I am not taking it as seriously as I need to take it. However, what I like about learning online is that I’m not as pressured to present myself as an excellent student, I can relax more, as well as think more (and I mean really THINK) because, in a school environment, I, as well as other students have to pace ourselves to think, which for most of us causes stress and anxiety. What I don’t like about online learning is that it can take me up to a whole school day (6-7 hours) to finish two assignments at most, given to me by my teachers. Comparing to my experience as a student in a physical classroom, online learning is definitely harder because I and maybe other students (even the independent people that like working by themselves) are so used to working with other students. If I could choose from wanting to do more online learning in the future, I will not because, although I’m the independent type, the vibe of learning online at home is just not the same as in a classroom with other students.

Thanks to Diego, Aaliyah, Jesusisis, Kimberly, and Mai Te for their contributions!

(This is the first post in a multipart series.)

Here is the new question-of-the-week:

What has your online learning experience been as a student? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? How does it compare with your experience as a student in a physical classroom? In the future, if you could choose, would you want to do more online learning? If so, why? If not, why not?

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at lferlazzo@epe.org. When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo.

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching.

If you missed any of the highlights from the first eight years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

This Year’s Most Popular Q&A Posts
Race & Gender Challenges
Classroom-Management Advice
Best Ways to Begin the School Year
Best Ways to End the School Year
Implementing the Common Core
Student Motivation & Social-Emotional Learning
Teaching Social Studies
Cooperative & Collaborative Learning
Using Tech in the Classroom
Parent Engagement in Schools
Teaching English-Language Learners
Reading Instruction
Writing Instruction
Education Policy Issues
Differentiating Instruction
Math Instruction
Science Instruction
Advice for New Teachers
Author Interviews
Entering the Teaching Profession
The Inclusive Classroom
Learning & the Brain
Administrator Leadership
Teacher Leadership
Relationships in Schools
Professional Development
Instructional Strategies
Best of Classroom Q&A
Professional Collaboration
Classroom Organization
Mistakes in Education
Project-Based Learning

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column.

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.