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Davao
Wednesday, December 01, 2021
DAVAO

Embracing students’ diversity

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I HAVE been teaching for 20 years, to be exact, but the demands of online teaching and learning I feel are so exhausting. Given are the issues about poor internet connection, less money to pay for internet load, the residence has no good internet provider and all the problems about the internet. This issue has remained to be a problem for both teachers and students.

But then again, as this online class continues due to the pandemic, I feel that other issues contribute to students' and teachers' stress.

One thing is the demand for students to stay online and listen to the teacher for four hours straight. Teachers may feel students are sleeping when cameras are turned off or called without a response. But can teachers expect online students to be attentive all the time with distractions like cell phone ringing, text messages, environmental noises, and parents calling? Or maybe they cannot just resist sleep because of the teachers' voice that induces them to sleep? I bet some students are already sleeping and dreaming.

It may be suitable for a teacher who does not run out of energy talking and talking. But what about those who cannot tolerate prolonging lectures straight four or five hours without a break in between? Will students also love teachers who are very much relaxed, and it seems like all are recorded? Or will an activity just be assigned by the teacher to consume all the lecture hours? I bet some students would scream in silence because the teacher is not doing her part to teach.

Another is that students may have difficulty following the instructions in their online tests. For example, where to click or the need to submit before its time duration ends, or else the test will be invalid. The same for teachers who must learn how to encode test questions, for example, in Moodle? Opting to choose an essay since it is easier to prepare online, but not knowing checking is tedious compared to objective type where it is automatically checked. This may be easy for other teachers, but for some who are not techy, they may program its scoring or answer keys incorrectly.

I even attended a meeting where the presider did not even know how to present the screen. It took us 15 minutes to begin as she would prefer to do it because she is comfortable talking with her slides under her control. On the other hand, I also have a student disturbing the entire online class because she cannot see the mute icon to click. And even me, last August, I have no idea why the video I am playing has no sound at all.

Yes, the past two semesters last year were challenging, and even to some up to now. I have heard of students pleading for a break. Be given the time not to touch the computer keyboards. The same with the teachers; I will always hear their cheers when it's almost the end of the semester, awaiting to celebrate two or more weeks of not facing computer monitors.

I guess both the students and teachers are extremely trying to adjust to online learning. But as a teacher, I think there are many aspects that we must consider when evaluating our students. But one important thing is for sure - If students are tired with their piling up online requirements and subject demands. Teachers can also be wary of getting ready for online classes and preparing materials for their online courses.

So, how can students and teachers learn to adapt? And for students to adjust and teachers to adapt to teach in this pandemic? I guess it is true that there is no one-size-fits-all way for teachers to teach students and no one-size-fits-all way for students to learn. Ahh... Teachers might have a different lens in teaching but embracing the diversity of students' learning is the best way to connect to students.


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