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Students feel unhealthy about health

Photo by Samantha Aversano
Photo by Samantha Aversano

by Esther Animalu, contributing reporter 

Photo by Samantha Aversano
Photo by Samantha Aversano

 

Clusters of freshmen take their designated seats inside the health classroom, laptops are then distributed, and the students are immediately signed on into their health accounts. Awaiting for them, is a pixelated “teacher” trapped in a screen, giving out various complex assignments with tedious instructions that often leave the students, as well as some their proctors, puzzled.

High school freshmen are taking the mandated health curriculum online. However, the bewildering assessments and tasks, as well as the configuration of the site itself, are leaving numerous students frustrated. As a result, many students want to resort back to having an actual teacher, that’s teaching their health class, as opposed to a robot on a screen.

“I feel that we need a teacher to actually teach us health because, we would learn more and understand the lessons better. It’s confusing to upload things and fully grasp each unit, I get stressed out and then I lose interest in learning each lesson. However, with a teacher, they can actually explain each lesson step by step. The online course is a waste of time,” freshman Ivana Pitino said.

According to The New York Times, it stated that, “a face-to-face meeting in a classroom imposes accountability, inspires effort and promotes academic responsibility in subtle ways that we don’t fully appreciate. When students attend their classes, a good majority of them stay alert because, they’re worried about what the teacher might think. Once they’re in the classroom, the battle is mostly won. As in life, 80 percent of education is showing up, in person.”

Often at times, when not monitored, students would surf the web, watch videos, play games or listen to music, as oppose to doing their health assignments. Which causes a distraction and takes their learning away from the online curriculum. As a result, it highlights the need of having an actual teacher, who’s teaching each lesson, instead of driving the focus away from the students.

Based on trendsupdates.com, it mentioned that, “learning that happens inside a classroom, in the company of other students, becomes more vibrant and interesting because the element of interaction happens quicker and more frequently between student and teacher, and among students themselves – all under the same roof and within a specific time. Communication is more varied, complete, and richer.”

Furthermore, when students are interacting in a classroom, the atmosphere is more engaging and, teachers and students are able to hear each others ideas. The health teacher would be able to thoroughly explain each lesson. Students need instructors who can engage them in the material.

“I think having a teacher, teaching us health, is much better than taking the health lessons on a laptop. Teachers are paid to teach their students in-depth, not to put us in front of a computer, and complete lessons that don’t add up. I’m not as interested in learning about health as I once was before,” freshman Peter Psihoulas said.

However, some students may feel that taking the health curriculum online gives them an opportunity to be more independent and less reliant on the teacher. Although, it may enable students to be less dependent, a social classroom teaching setting will still be lacking.

“I prefer to learn health online because, we get to work on our own pace. Also, you are able to go back to lessons and re-read them again, if you don’t understand it,” freshman Denise Amorgianos said.

In most cases, online courses usually require no face to face interaction with classmates or teachers. Information on assignments is posted online and they’re completed at the pace of the students.

“I don’t think it’s very useful to learn health on a laptop. You need to really put in the effort and dedication in order to learn an entire course online. However, online health class doesn’t seem like the best method of teaching,” spanish teacher Mr.Reff said.

Also, class meetings that are arranged in order to answer questions and open class discussions is not required. While it may be pleasant for a student to finish the online health tasks on their own time, it strips away the interpersonal skills that students need to acquire along with their education.

“I believe that we should have a health teacher that’s teaching us the health course. Because, the health website isn’t really effective, I’m not learning as much as I should,” freshman Emily Fitzgerald said.

In any classroom, despite the subject, students are required to speak their minds, which contributes to their class participation grade. They also may be mandated to give presentations or speeches. Sometimes students may have to work in groups with all kinds of people with very different viewpoints and perspectives. However, online courses don’t require any of that, creating a social imbalance.

“I prefer to have a teacher, that’s actually teaching me the health curriculum because, on the laptops it’s confusing and I often get distracted,” freshman Georgia Savva said.

In addition, as technology proceeds to rapidly advance, and textbooks, novels, magazines, and assignments are often posted online, it takes away the social interactions of students and they become more reliant on their devices. In relation, when students are instructed to complete the health course only online, in a sense, it’s pulling them away from social interactions, as opposed to having an actual health teacher.

“Honestly, learning all about health from a laptop is much more complicated because we are not getting a full explanation about what we are supposed to do. What makes health class even worse is that we have to complete projects based on something we hardly learned about. With an actual health teacher we are able to get full information and learn hands-on with the teacher. Asking questions would be much more comfortable with a teacher, but instead we are continuously on a laptop learning a different way than we’re used to,” freshman Keila Torres said.

Therefore, instead of the online health curriculum informing most students about the fundamentals and basis of the health subject, it’s leaving many students scratching their heads. As an alternative, health teachers should be implemented in the classrooms in order to give students a narrow focus and a undistracted mindset. Whereas, if students continue to complete confusing assignments and tasks online, mastering the subject would be futile.

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