26 Ιουνίου 2020

The question: Is online education good education? The answer is very easy!

New era, new standards, new challenges, new me, new students, new everything. Or not really?

In my country the question of whether online education is the way to go during lockdown has been hot. Burning hot. And there have been two answers. Clear, distinct, vociferous: yes and no. Funny, right? In reality, the question boils down to yes or no to education; online is irrelevant. Simply because education in Coronavirus times can only happen online. So if you say a loud and proud ‘NO’ to online education, you simply say no to education altogether.


So in my country, we’ve had two “philosophical schools”:

  1. let’s go online and do our best or
  2. let’s say online is bad, do nothing, leave students for 3–4 months playing video games, gossip colleagues who do online lessons, post an anti-online manifesto on facebook, call our friends and say how bad online is.

To be fair, there’s a third group: the honest colleagues who said, ‘I don’t think online education is bad- I just don’t know how to do it”. These guys have my respect.

But let’s go back to the two philosophies and life approaches (it might sound sarcastic but it’s not: it is a life choice, a philosophical and political stance to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to online education). The big, hot question is: is online education good education? You can read articles about it, read thorough analyses about it, listen to podcasts about it and find research findings about it but for me, the answer is really crystal-clear and ridiculously easy: if you are a good educator, you are a good educator. If you care about meaningful, interesting, engaging lessons, if you want inspired, deep-thinking, active learners, you can do it regardless of the setting. Online or not is irrelevant. It’s like asking yourself: can I teach well without electricity? can I teach well without books? can I teach well without a board? The real question is: can I teach well?

New era, new standards, new challenges, new me, new students, new everything? yes and no!

A good teacher is a good teacher. A good teacher will find ways to become a better teacher under any circumstances. A good teacher will design and deliver a good lesson simpy because a good teacher cares.

New era, new standards, new challenges, new me, new students, new everything?

What changed is the setting and in this setting we are simply re-inventing ourselves. And if you choose to say no to that, I will respect your reasons. But if you say that the ones of us who took the risk, who worked hard to stand by our learners, who attended webinars to learn how to do it better, who read, studied, lost our sleep over best practices, who left no student behind, if YOU say that WE are not good educators, you will have my contempt. While you were spending time gossiping over your cup of coffee, we were boarding on a beautiful new journey.

A big thank-you to fellow-travelers, fellow- explorers in these uncharted waters. And a big ‘come along-it’s not too late’ for the no-sayers.

Finishing off with the words of my favorite philosopher (in my mind, he’s a best friend), Friedrich Nietzsche

“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”

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