Online Classes vs Traditional Classes
During the pandemic, we had a government grant to develop online classes. With an elite group of teachers and students, we developed a variety of online classes, such as public speaking, debating, writing, science, French, and of course math and English. We had a lot of success teaching these classes, but now with most of the Covid restrictions lifted, many of the parents are eager to go back to the traditional way of learning. Is there a place for online teaching?
From my perceptive, there are many advantages to online teaching. I have been doing traditional classes for over 25 years, adults and children, and online classes for 3 years. For students who want to learn a lot of material fast and are disciplined enough to complete the off-line homework, They can excel at learning a topic faster and with more depth with online than with classroom training. However, for the passive student who will just sit back with their video/audio off and do little to no homework, they will not succeed. Online will be like watching a tv show — one direction of learning. They need a task-master classroom teacher who will be on top of them and have the opportunity to talk to the parents every lesson. Both methods are very teacher-dependent.
There is virtue in both methods of learning, but I will focus on the benefits of online learning since that is my preference for serious teaching for serious students. I certainly enjoy teaching during the summer camps, but the focus is different. It’s a summer camp and children expect all classes to have an element of fun blended in with learning.
Mr. T’s Top Five Advantages of Online Training
- Less Time– Time is Money
There is no time wasted getting ready to go to the tutoring place and then travelling to and from the place. A one-hour class probably takes 2 hours of your time as you transition from preparing to go out to winding down at home. If you get a ride from your parents then it may take 4 or 6 people-hours of time.
- Less Cost – Money is Money
Online classes should be less expensive, there is almost no overhead for the teacher or student. Every child probably has the hardware (wifi)/software (Google) and knowledge to be up and running at no extra cost. There is no gas money, no McDonald’s reward ice cream, no parent coffee while they wait for you and no fashion money to look good for the other students. With the money you save, you can probably take an extra online course.
- Better Teaching Delivery – Bad is Bad
There is a truism in education. Bad teachers are bad teachers and good teachers are good teachers. The quality of any class (online or in-person) depends on the quality of the teacher. A good teacher can instil self-discipline and focus and motivate their students to want to progress. In tutoring organizations, usually, the online classes are taught by the owner or someone who is highly selected and motivated to teach a good class. They are probably the person who designed the online class. They are not going to place a mediocre teacher to represent the organization.
Generally, the online teachers are better, the tools for teaching are better, and there is little time wasted on whiteboard writing or stationary slides. When I was in a classroom teaching grade 9 math, which I have taught at least 25 times, I would spend a third of my time writing notes or graphs or formulas on the whiteboard. Now as I talk, my notes, pictures, slides, graphs, charts, and puzzles magically drop in beside me, point by point with full-colour images and animation, some with sound effects. I am spending more time communicating with each student and no time turning my back on them.
4. Develops Maturity – Student-Centered Learning
Online classes develop a sense of self-discipline and responsibility. You have to show up on time, hand in assignments, ask questions, and assess test results. Parents are less involved in driving you to your classes. There is less scrutiny of whether you did your homework or passed a test. It is student-centred and active learning. You get to talk face to face with your teacher and post/email direct questions. It is a mature way of learning that requires you to be more involved.
Your motivation to study and succeed depends on you, as it should.
- It is the future – Now
Imagine if you could get the best teacher in Ontario with the best methodology, notes, and bells and whistles to make learning efficient and effective, wouldn’t you go for that?
I once read a book 35 years ago entitled “This is the last book you’ll ever read”. The author broached the topic of going digital and paperless. Binders and paper will not be required. Students will be taught online or even in the “metaverse” by the best teacher on the planet.
Virtual training and teaching will dominate the future along with autonomous electric cars and AI robots. Who would have thought that for the last three years, people like my wife and son would do all their work and study exclusively from home? My wife works for a bank and was the farthest person from being computer literate. And, my son finished dental school without attending any classes or buying any books. He is now in third-year medical school doing the same thing. Even before Covid, all his learning has been online. The future is now.
Which is better? Depends.
Most parents assume that since it is well known that students’ academic and social progress has been slowed down because of the forced online classes, that in-person traditional classes are better. And, for some it is, but it all depends on the child’s level of:
If a child lacks all of these, then a real teacher is better and individual tutoring is the best. Being in a classroom enables the teacher to read the child’s body language in terms of following and understanding. They can get in the student’s face and single them out for a response easier, and they can eliminate distractions, like phones, games, eating, and talking.
If your child is very motivated, disciplined, and attentive, then they are perfect for online classes. Most students fall in the spectrum of little to lots of motivation, self-discipline, and attentiveness. Those on the high end of the spectrum will benefit greatly from online classes and direct communication with the teacher. But, they have to be willing to review their notes and complete the weekly assignments.
It also depends on what the parents learning utilities are: time availability, convenience requirement, budget, and learning expectations.
I hope this helps in selecting a teaching method. Each situation is different. Shop around for the teacher that meets your child’s learning style. You should be allowed to withdraw during the first few weeks of classes with no penalties.
This was just a brief discourse on online teaching. If you are interested in taking a course with Juku Online, please view details on our website, www.juku.ca.
I know I will be teaching math classes from grades 6-10 this semester. The other classes will be taught by some of our previous teachers. They are just working out their schedules for me now. The class dates will be posted shortly. We need at least 6 students to start a class. I have a feeling that demand will be in the grades 5-8 area.
Classes are 1.5-2 hours long and have 1-2 hours of homework. Answers are supplied. Some classes offer an optional homework class.
I am offering a special discount for grade 6 and 7 students (30% off Math 6 or 7). This is because I like big classes and the opportunity to guide students through several years. My most successful students were these triplets I taught from 2 years old to grade 9 (really).
A Quick Example
Before I disclose the number one characteristic of successful children, let me leave you with an anecdotal story on the value of online training.
During the 2022 summer camp, I taught an element of vocabulary every day. Maybe half hour of new words and half an hour of reviewing the words…that is 29 hours of teaching. In my previous online Summer vocabulary classes, I taught the same 200 words in 16 hours. Because the students took the hour-long class twice a week for 8 weeks. Now that is in almost half the time.
I would say the retention rate is about the same. Most of the students could recall 80-90% of the words. You might not think this is much of a difference because camp is less serious than classes, and that might be true. Half of the camp students are there to have fun.
But, here’s the twist. The summer camp words and the online class word’s were the same, but I gave the grade 6-9 summer camp students the grade 5-6 words!
Given the camp environment and motivation, self-discipline, and attentiveness of the camp students,
It took more time for the campers to learn easier words. This was partly because of the relaxed atmosphere of the camp and there wasn’t any camp homework. But, it was mainly because the online classes had more visual mnemonic devices, fun reviews, graphics, and set puzzles and games to apply to each word. In an hour of summer camp class, each word was mentioned 5-8 times. Online, each word was mentioned 15-20 times.
Take note that the grade 5-6 words are still difficult words that even grade 12’s would have trouble with, like, affluent, clammy, ostracize, bookish, ominous, squander, sycophant, cumbersome, and cooperation vs collaboration. If your child was in my grade 6-9 camp class, test them. I believe they will get at least 8 out of 10.
Thanks for reading.
Please click below to read how I am able to determine who in my class will be successful.
It is not always the smartest or the hardest working student.