The Effects of School Closure on Education

Angela Shim, Writer

With the unceasing spread of the Coronavirus, many schools across the world have closed down in an effort to minimize close human contact. As a result of the sudden shift to online education, many have expressed their mixed opinions on virtual classes. 

Students and teachers alike have shown their difficulties with virtual learning. Some find online classes to be ineffective and isolating because students are learning while separated into different spaces. Teachers complain of the lack of engagement and inappropriate behavior from students during classes, and students say that it is incredibly challenging to remain attentive when they are not being stimulated the same way as they are in face-to-face lessons.

In contrast to this, some have said that they enjoy the flexibility that online learning provides as students can learn in a space that they are comfortable in. Furthermore, some students are able to work more efficiently when they are not in large groups.

The discourse surrounding online learning mostly stems from people’s concerns about the quality of education. Due to the vast differences between online and in-person education, it is not unreasonable to show apprehension towards virtual education. However, aside from these issues, online learning has had far greater consequences on education levels worldwide. 

Students who come from low-income families especially have suffered the effects of virtual learning. Some students face technological issues such as not having access to WiFi, as well as those who are unable to learn at home as a result of unstable home environments. In fact, some students may not even own a device to use for online classes. This can lead to a loss of motivation and evoke the feeling of falling behind. 

On the other hand, students from households or communities with relatively stable incomes have had a significantly smoother transition to virtual education. Few students needed help with navigating online courses, and schools had the resources to provide for students who did not own the necessary tools. 

GSIS is one such school. Since the school requires a majority of students to have their own computers, students and teachers were able to transition into online education with relative ease. However, even with these advantages, the issue of students struggling with learning persists. 

“I think that it has become more difficult to learn online due to the fact that we cannot communicate with the teachers as effectively compared to offline learning,” ninth-grader Gahyeon Jeon admits, “It is harder to ask questions because some teachers do not turn on the chat feature. Secondly, it is easier to become more vulnerable to distractions. Since it is harder to be caught, for example, for playing games, we become more tempted by other distractions.”

Overall, it seems that a majority of students were left unsatisfied with their experience with online learning and that several improvements must be made to improve virtual classes.