Education with options

Education with options

by MARY FRANCES LITTLE, Staff Writer

school options

When one thinks of school, a mental image of a room of students sitting in desks in a customary classroom with a teacher standing in the front, lecturing or explaining something comes to mind. This has been the American idea of school for as long as we can remember; children going to one stationary building, five days a week, using pen and paper to complete assignments, and receiving grades on a 100 point, letter grade scale. 

However, among the unprecedented circumstances of a nationwide pandemic and quarantine, the beloved, long- standing idea of school was tested. Students began transitioning to online learning, later easing into hybrid learning, and even school completely in person, but not for five days a week. 

The overwhelming success of these alternative ways of education was a great surprise. What had been a last resort was becoming a first choice for many. So much so that at this point, around 1/9 of Mountain Brook High School Students have opted for virtual learning. While some community members’ want their children to return to a traditional school schedule, the benefits of the adopted alternative ways of learning should be explored. 

For students with anxiety, virtual school has been an incredible option. Those suffering no longer have to worry about presentations, social interactions in school, or the fear of lagging behind their peers. Studies have shown that anxiety has improved in students who have switched to virtual school,  resulting in higher grades and improved school work. Similarly, mental health has also improved, as stress lowers as a result of being free from the confinement of a school building, and completing work at one’s own pace. With students having the opportunity to complete work in the comfort of their home, they score higher on assignments and learn more efficiently as they are not under a certain amount of pressure. 

Virtual school options have also made learning more efficient. Since students are able to learn at their own pace, their work has become deeper and more effective. Grades have gone up along with standardized testing scores. By not being confined to certain learning times and spaces, students are able to better their learning process resulting in enhanced education. 

The overwhelming amount of benefits that comes with alternative education is something school districts across the nation should explore. It might be beneficial to students, teachers, and community members to make the switch to these different types of learning.