Distance Learning and Community Support

England has now gone into a second lockdown with a few exceptions to trading and schooling. Schools and universities are staying open but with distance learning methods in some places. These measures are being made in response to the increase in Coronavirus infections and deaths. But what strikes me is that some students have now found themselves trapped in their dorms with no face to face tutoring. It’s like as if they expected the virus to pass and not bother to consider an alternative learning method to protect them from infection. As a student of a distance learning university, I can tell you that things will not be so bad this way.

At the start of this year prior to Covid-19 bringing the world to a halt I had been busy planning to get my academic career restarted. I had chosen to restart my university degree by applying to the Open University’s Open Plus programme, which allowed me to get round my shortfall of credits and then transfer full time to one of their partner universities. I got through the application process and I am now currently studying a module at the OU as normal and I have a place at Lancaster University. Now this module that I am doing is in the standard format of the OU’s courses: home based remote learning or distance learning.

This format has been a godsend for me because it means my education has not been disrupted apart from the field trips to this environmental science module. All my studying is online and I have next to no Covid restrictions to bother me. This type of learning has long been ridiculed by some tutors and employers as being an unrealistic form of education. But it’s not, distance learning has been extremely useful to many people for centuries. In countries too big and too sparsely populated they had to use distance learning to get education to remote communities. Many of the scientists on the Russian space programme were taught maths and physics by remote learning and they were knowledgeable enough to launch the first satellite and astronaut into space.

I reckon had the universities prepared to make their lectures more accessible in the pandemic by making the entire lectures virtual through video conferencing then maybe they wouldn’t be held back. Besides the tutoring methods don’t need to be entirely face to face, they can be done by distributing textbooks to the students to read from for the bulk of the module content. I had that with the OU where all my previous modules used textbooks, DVDs and CDs distributed to me by post then I would then open and consume to learn from to a set schedule.

One thing that has caught my attention in the news this week is the story that teachers are reporting that children are having to suffer from the lockdowns and school closures. Specifically the way that infants are forgetting to use a knife and fork at lunchtime and that the secondary school pupils are falling behind in reading and maths. This reminds of a story I read about 8 years ago on the way some infants were starting nursery and primary school with no toilet training. That got me really annoyed because I started to believe that the parenting of today has become so idle and stagnated that the parents are not doting any responsibility of nurturing their kids to grow up.

That is a big bad mistake in a lot of ways. Many teachers in schools today are indoctrinating children by pushing their politics into the curriculum and selectively teaching them things that have got no useful or practical purpose in real life. These days a school leaver is more likely to know more about environmental problems and social responsibility rather than how to run a business and manage a bank account. Intellectual snobbery is also a problem. Some school teachers treat pupils like cattle to go to market and if they don’t aspire to go for high flying careers or get good grades they just brand them stupid for not following their agenda.

It’s just not right for parents to dump their responsibilities of their children’s upbringing onto the public services all the time. Especially the schools. Haven’t you noticed that is also making them incapable of behaving irresponsibly as young adults, which is leading to them becoming unemployable? It will mean that they will be dependent on their parents for most of their life. It’s no wonder they are not getting on the housing market. This laziness led to me ending up where I am too. I got a third class schooling, no disability management programme, no interpersonal skills training and just a welfare handbook to rely on peanuts from the state.

In my grandparent’s day children were expected to contribute to the housekeeping by doing chores and paper rounds. It disciplined them to become active and useful workers bringing pride and joy to their communities. I find that by home schooling you can keep an eye on what your child is being taught and have the right to take them out if the teachers act improperly. Parents need to take more control of their own family’s way of life and learn to look after themselves. During this pandemic I have seen a bigger community spirit than ever before with people looking out for each other that has not been done in a long time.

There are some other benefits to a distance learning education that makes parents more trusting of their children’s education. They can avoid their children being lost to indoctrination by teachers with political bias. One of the reasons I have not done so well in school is because I don’t get along with some of my tutors. They are really overbearing with their rhetoric and don’t make me feel inspired at all. Some of the stuff they teach me was boring and useless. So by taking responsibility for your own kid’s education you can connect with them better and bring back that notion that mum and dad knows best.

By having parents collaborate with children’s schooling they get to check on to see that they learning good quality subject material. I thrived much better at the Open University as a distance learning student than I did as a school pupil. I was in control of my own learning and I made my own fun out of my own academic work, where my teachers had previously stifled me with their intellectual snobbery.

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