On-line Education

Discussion in 'General Education' started by a2z, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    A teacher friend and I were talking about on-line education. We started discussing social skills and students who choose on-line to avoid the social issues in school.

    My friend believes that without kids being in school they won't learn the social skills needed to survive as an adult. My stance is that these marginalized kids are not learning social skills in public schools which keeps them in an abusive situation. Many schools don't address teaching social skills to students in a way that helps students. Many of the procedures used punish those without skills as their way of dealing with students who need continued instruction and help.

    I hope we can keep this discussion to the social skills pros and cons rather than the academic pros and cons even though both are part of a well-rounded education.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My thought from a social aspect is that any type of online K-12 schooling should be done as a bridge while waiting for a student to find the right brick-and-mortar fit. I agree that not all students will thrive socially in every public school, but from a social standpoint, I'd say that real life is always superior... it's just about finding the school that will meet a student's needs.
     
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  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I think social skills are just as important (if not more) so than the academics... in fact many fail to realize that this is our #1 goal (or should be) before we really push the readin', writin' and 'rithmetic especially now. In my first and second years we actually had a social skills curriculum, I forgot the first one, but the second one was "Boys Town'' Social Skills which basically taught a new skill each week. We were a Title 1 school and there was a huge need for this. It was awkward at first, but it definitely helped my kids. Regarding kids going to school online, many probably are not getting the support that they need, many probably have issues (bullying) or simply aren't have their academic needs met (either too low and they don't get the support or too high and they aren't getting the challenges.) I worked as a writing mentor for an after school program as part of my college and worked with a 7th grader who was home schooled. He did school online, BUT his parents still enrolled him in as many activities as he could so he did get that social interaction he needed.
    I think this is just another area where we, as the teachers, need to be responsive to our students' needs. My second year actually had time in the schedule to teach the social skills as they were needed THAT BAD.

    :(
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A friend of mine has a middle schooler enrolled in an online school due to fears of bullying, drugs, fights, etc. The parent is familiar with what happens in schools, often seeing the worst of the worst in their position similar to a social worker, and seems to be truly fearful of what might happen to their child. Every now and then the child expresses a desire to go to a "regular school" just like everybody else, but the parent always shuts it down.

    The child seems as happy as any other middle schooler I know. The kid seems fine socially and interacts regularly with other kids through church and neighborhood activities. The kid isn't a shut-in or social recluse by any means.

    When it comes to the issue of social skills and alternative schooling (online or at home), it seems to me that it's more about the individual kid/family than anything else. Homeschooled kids from reclusive families probably do tend to retain that reclusivity, whereas kids from families that are more social seem to have no problem with social interactions.
     
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  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I would agree that some students are in greater need of social skills than others.

    Pretending to ignore an elephant in the room seems odd to me. The drawbacks of online education are not limited to social skills. Online education has a vital place in our society. There are children with medical or geographical issues that prevent them from access to the rich social and academic education possible in a traditional school. These children deserve the best online education possible.

    Sadly, the rapacious, for-profit online-charter-industry has created the worst schools ever and marketed the heck out of them. Thousands of children leave their neighborhood schools and enroll in these dropout factories. Think of the cost to society to have thousands of children who missed out on their education.

    How can any discussion of the drawbacks of online charters ignore this smelly elephant.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I don't have an opinion as to whether or not online schools provide a better/worse education or better/worse opportunities for social skills, as it is broadly defined.

    I will say, though, that I think there is a difference in social skills being taught in elementary and in high school. Three out of the four elementary schools where I've worked have had some sort of explicit social skills curriculum. My state even has state standards for social emotional skills, just like we do for reading and math. I don't have personal experience teaching at the high school level, but my guess would be that there isn't much in the way of social skills instruction once kids reach that level. So, I would suggest that the benefits and detriments of online education versus traditional face-to-face schooling may change depending on the grade level.

    I also think that there is a big difference between unstructured socialization and structured socialization. What I mean is that there is a big difference between developing social skills like engaging in informal play or conversation and between developing social skills like raising your hand to speak and knowing when it's appropriate to get up and use the restroom in the middle of a lesson. Even when being homeschooled or attending an online school, kids might still have social activities that allow for developing unstructured social skills. However, they are less likely to have opportunities to learn those social skills that are important for more structured settings. A classroom certainly isn't the only time in a person's life that they will have to wait their turn to speak or think about the impact of getting up in the middle of someone's presentation.
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article175572031.html
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you bring up some really valid points.

    Having taught exclusively at the secondary level, I can confirm that there is little to no instruction in social skills at this level. The topic may be addressed in certain programs as part of a broader topic like leadership (handshakes, eye contact, etc.), but I haven't seen much beyond that.

    I agree that social skills as they relate to school, and eventually the workplace, are unique. One of the complaints that I personally have had about previously-homeschooled students is that they often don't know how to be students: they often don't raise their hands, they tend to interrupt, and they tend to get easily frustrated when they have to wait for anything. They're accustomed to being the only student in the room with the full attention of the teacher/parent, and that is obviously not how things work in a traditional classroom setting. I worry about these students when they get jobs and go barging into their boss's office making demands or try to bypass the typical hierarchy on something and end up getting reprimanded or worse.
     
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  10. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Frankly, the middle schools and high schools in my district probably teach more bad habits and abusive behavior than social skills. I would not want my child to learn social skills there and would do anything to avoid it.
    I have taught a student for five years with an online curriculum. She is an athlete and hasn't gone to a brick and mortar school since 4th grade. That's a whole other situation, though, because she has a social group in her sport and travels all over the world.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    Tyler, the article details the results of California students statewide, not just poverty students. Nice try, but try again.
     
  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I asked what your point in posting the article. Are you trying to point out that poor kids score poorly? That the middle class schools showed improvement? What does any of this have to do with online schools?

    If your point is that traditional public schools are doing worse than the online charters, then you have not done your homework. Many of these online charters are a menace: draining the much higher performing public schools of money and producing terrible results.
     

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  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Social skills need to be taught in the same manner that we teach reading, writing, and math. Not as in-depth, of course, but social skills still need to be explicitly covered.

    You'd be amazed at the number of students who don't greet me when I greet them at the gate in the morning during the first few days of school.

    Things tend to improve after the first week of school once teachers have begun teaching social skills lessons.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    With clarification, traditional public schools do immensely better than their online school counterparts, as evidenced by your attached chart. There is no question about that. (BTW, I love public schools — I went to public schools for my entire education.) And just by looking at that chart, you can see that students that attend charter schools do better, on average, than students who attend online schools.

    Anyway, I referenced the article in response to your fixation with public charter schools and private schools. You tend to gloss over the poor results of public schools and then point at the failings of charter schools. Why? It is more honest to say that both are not doing well overall — not everywhere — and some are doing better than others.

    By the way, according to Forbes and the Pew Research Center, nationally: 26% of households are lower income, 59% households are middle income, and 15% of households are upper income. (FYI, California is NOT primarily poor.)

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fo...richer-and-larger-than-europes-of-course/amp/

    And according to the most recent data from the California Census, only 20% of CA children are below the poverty line versus the 14.4% of ALL persons who are below the poverty line.

    https://censusreporter.org/profiles/04000US06-california/

    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ca/PST045217

    Let’s further breakdown the numbers:

    23% of the CA population is under 18. 20% of 23% or 4.6% are below the poverty level, which when rounded to the nearest whole number is 1,805,501, the number of students below the poverty level.

    80% of 23% or 7,222,003 students fall under the non-poverty category.

    Do you see how your argument is breaking down?

    In the state of CA, 62% of all households make greater or equal to $50,000/year, 28% make between $50K-$100K/yr, 24% make between $100k-$200k, and 10% make over $200,000k/year.

    Furthermore, 74% of all households in the US are middle or upper class.

    More than 26% of the student population in CA is failing. The article I posted shows more than HALF of California students are failing when it comes to Reading and Math, more so for math, unfortunately. That means that significant portions of students from various classes are not doing well, not just the poor students you like to fixate on.

    This goes back to Been There’s and my comments about teachers misunderstanding the statistical data presented about student “successes”. The data should speak for itself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I do agree that many schools have "social skills" lessons as part of their health curriculum, but in many cases it isn't effective because it is disjointed from the practice of those skills. What is really needed is teachers who are masters at teaching these skills during the day.
     
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  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I think that school skills are workplace skills are different from one another. I even think that among classrooms, expectations of social skills are different. I've never once had to raise my hand in a meeting to talk. Also, knowing when to go to the source and when to step around a problem was never taught in school, but is essential to learn in a workplace. Even then, the culture of the workplace often dictates how to navigate the hierarchy.
     
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  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that they're different skills but related, maybe even graduated. You may not need to raise your hand in a meeting, but you can't always talk over someone or interrupt their presentation. Knowing when to wait your turn is a social skill that is necessary in either setting. Being on time is always appropriate. Things like eye contact, body language, and tone of voice are very important in both places. Greetings, social etiquette in online/virtual settings (emails, phone calls), basic manners.

    As I'm sure we all do, I work with some people--grown-ups--who lack basic social skills, and it's very frustrating. If we can address some of these issues when our students are still kids, it'll be better for them in the long run.
     
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  19. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I don't think you can group yourself with teachers who do understand statistical data when you persist in your assertion that your private school does a better job of educating poor kids than public. You blatenly ignore selection bias. All your poor families had to apply for the scholarships and make sure their children got to school. I can only conclude you do not understand statistics.

    I'm not asserting all public schools are high functioning. They're just better than charters or vouchers and certainly better than online schools. It's amazing how well they do considering how much of their resources are taken away to fund for-profit dropout factories.

    I'm not against all online schools. I, myself, have taught an online college class since 1999. I believe in what I'm doing. I'm a proponent of online education for students with medical or geographical issues.
     
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Connoisseur

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    Excuse me, but your baseless assertion holds zero merit. I teach AP Statistics (have a 98% pass rate in the AP test) and tutor stats students at the collegiate level, so please. I also have Bachelors and Masters in Math from some of the best universities in the country, so don’t tell me what math is.

    I have no problem criticizing private schools. Many are not great. Again, you seem to fixate on what you want to hear — talk about selection bias. I’ve only ever said MY private school is better than most public schools and that some aspects of private schools are better. And who cares if the poor students at my school receive a scholarship? Many poor students receive scholarships at the college level. Does that somehow invalidate the quality of educations they receive?

    Secondly, my private school is ranked in the top decile of secondary schools (out of the 1,100+ schools — public and private — in CA). We DO better than most of everyone, even your “successful” public schools.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Let's keep it to the topic at hand and refrain from pointed comments. Thanks.
     
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