Posted at 12 p.m. March 2, 2017

Face-to-face learning is still relevant to the future

“Teachers have the ability to inspire students, but it’s difficult to inspire in an online setting when there is little or no interpersonal interaction. The influence a teacher can have on a student can change the student’s entire perspective on a subject. ”

In discussing the future of education, there is a lot that we can learn from the past.

As we proceed into the future of education, it is presumed that it involves transferring more courses to online. However, in the future we need to see more face-to-face teaching methods.

In a classroom environment, a student has the opportunity to establish a relationship with their teachers over time. Being able to see and talk to a physical being not only establishes a connection to that class, but also makes for a better learning environment.

Staying with this idea that face-to-face teaching is better, we tend to only look at the convenience of online classes. However, online classes don’t give students the interpersonal relationship they need to learn. When a student is able to interact with the teacher once or twice a week, they usually feel more comfortable about asking questions and participating in group discussions.

According to “If Emotion Aids Learning, does it work online?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, there are “four major knowledge emotions,” including interest, confusion, surprise and awe. The article also states that “new thinking and research in our field, psychology, have convinced us that all courses — online versions included — have the potential to elicit powerful emotions.” An online course may be able to elicit interest, confusion, surprise and awe, but a face-to-face course can not only do the same, a live teacher can help put the material and the emotions into context right there, as opposed to waiting for an online interaction, like a chat or email, to take place.

Because an online class is geared for independent learning, there is often little or no interpersonal interaction between the content and the student. A teacher can provide a connection to the content in a way the online class cannot.

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Teachers have the ability to inspire students, but it’s difficult to inspire in an online setting when there is little or no interpersonal interaction. The influence a teacher can have on a student can change the student’s entire perspective on a subject. For example, when a teacher is giving a lesson, they can tell or show the student the best way to get something done. A teacher is usually someone a student can respect, so when the teacher has an opinion on a subject, the students are more capable of seeing it the teacher’s way in a face-to-face environment.

A style of teaching that could potentially be a “good middle” is hybrid classes. According to the LCCC catalogue, "A hybrid course is a blend of face-to-face instruction with an online learning component." This means that while most of the class is online, there is still that interpersonal relationship between a student and teacher. This is a good style of teaching because while most of the content is online the student is still able to have that face-to-face communication with the instructor. This is helpful because it allows the student to ask questions and be active in a classroom setting.

The main idea behind a classroom environment is to focus on the students’ needs and be able to verbally communicate any misunderstandings the student might have with the subject being taught. This could include questions on homework and any class discussions. When the student has established a relationship with the teacher, the teacher is usually able to see where the student struggles and where they succeed. Having someone who understands your individual needs, especially in school, can help a student do better.

Face-to-face teaching helps the students feel emotionally connected to the class, and it makes them want to succeed. Having a teacher to answer any questions, give advice and be there to guide students is an asset schools can't afford to lose. Face-to-face learning is still one of the best teaching methods for students.

Online education is only going to grow. The convenience of online classes and the fact that they are effective for many students means they have a place in the future of education. But we should also embrace the hybrid model whenever possible. Hybrids offer students the best of both worlds – the convenience of online education and the impact a good teacher can have on a student’s life.


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