It is quite obvious that COVID-19 has brought upon many changes to our school lives: we go to campus school only two or three days of the week, and even in our classes, we sit in rows, distanced from each other. With these things in mind, I had thought that if we didn’t have to consider the dangers of the virus, everyone would want to go back to face-to-face learning. After all, who doesn’t want to be able to see their friends every day? However, I was shocked to find that this was not the case.
I came to this realization in one of my classes. My teacher asked us to raise our hands if we would like to go back to face-to-face learning, and I was astounded to see that only three people, including me, had raised their hands. When asked who wanted to continue using the hybrid model, more hands shot up. In order to get a better glance into the rationale behind those who preferred the hybrid model, I asked students which learning model they preferred and why.
Sophomore Annie Young said that she prefers hybrid learning, as attending classes online gives her a better opportunity to organize her time, though she conceded that having school in-person is more engaging, and gives her the opportunity to meet her friends. “It’s like the best of both worlds,” she said. Sophomore student Coco Colwell concurred: “I really like hybrid learning because it gives me a chance to balance my social and academic lives.” This seems to be the case for most students who favor the hybrid model: They agreed that while staying at home gives them a chance to sleep in and get some rest, seeing their friends at school is a nice change from all that screen time online.
On the other hand, those who preferred either full face-to-face or distance learning mentioned other benefits. For instance, students who preferred distance learning said that they valued the extra few hours of sleep, as well as the added freedom, since our time at school is extremely structured due to safety protocols. Perhaps I speak for others when I say that if we didn’t have to take safety concerns into consideration, I would be a strong supporter of face-to-face classes. After all, many agree that having classes in person is more engaging than online.
The consensus of those I spoke with seems to be that both distance learning and face-to-face learning have their advantages and disadvantages, and the hybrid model seems to be the right balance between the two. During such hard times, it is important to take into consideration both the mental and physical well-being of ourselves and our community. This fact is essential for us to understand why ASIJ decided on hybrid learning for the High School for the rest of first semester. Let’s keep those benefits in mind.