Too much school work being given online, say Muskoka students – - Freelance Rack

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Too much school work being given online, say Muskoka students –

MUSKOKA — There is a month left of school and as students finish their semesters online, they recently had the chance to provide feedback about their digital learning experiences.

At the Trillium Lakelands District School Board meeting held virtually on May 26, director of education Larry Hope provided an update about the learning-from-home platform and next steps for students and teachers.

Students in Grades 7 through 12 were able to share their thoughts on what the board can do to better support their learning and well-being during this time.

There were 1,295 students who provided feedback and their top concern was the workload, said Hope.

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“The No. 1 thing that our students said to us was that there is way too much work being assigned,” he said.

“We don’t have more time just because we are at home. Our teachers are giving more work than they would if we were in class. It does not mean that we have more time — in fact, we have less,” Hope summarized from their feedback. “Be very understanding of personal situations.”

Those in Grade 7 and Grade 8 asked for work to be assigned at the start of the week so they could plan ahead. They also expressed interest in being given the opportunity to start their transition to secondary school, as they usually are given the chance to speak with current high school students and tour the schools, he said.

This is also the time of year where students start planning their graduation ceremonies, and Hope said that while it is essential these celebrations take place, each school will carry them out differently.

“We heard loudly and clearly from our folks that they do not want us to come in and tell them what they must do about a graduation. What we were very clear about is there must be a celebration and an opportunity to honour our students as they move along to the next stage of their lives,” he said.

But he said the prospect of postponing proms could be problematic.

“I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubbles but you have to think about the ramifications of hosting a prom for students who are not our students anymore, many of whom will be of drinking age who we have no jurisdiction whatsoever over,” he explained.

The board is currently developing plans for students to safely retrieve any personal belongings left in schools.

“You may also have heard by now that we have started to allow teachers into schools for the purpose of instruction from their classrooms,” he said. “We are not asking teachers to go into their classrooms to teach. We are simply making that option available to them and that started this week.”

Teachers are also expected to start writing up report cards soon, although secondary school students’ grades cannot drop lower than they were going into March break.

The next school board meeting will be held virtually on June 9 and streamed on the board’s website.

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