Could eLearning Improve Student Resilience?
Let me tell you a story I’ve never told anyone before.
I have extreme self-confidence. I believe that I can do anything I put my heart, mind, and hands into. From the very beginning, my mindset was: I will be a great teacher. All my classes consistently received awesome reviews from both my students and managers. Until this class.
It was a course that seemed irrelevant to the program. The subject was tough to understand but was mandatory. My students were in their last months in school. To sum it up, this class was a group of tired, almost hostile students who just wanted to get it over with.
I was up for the challenge to turn them into passionate students of this subject. I failed miserably.
My students complained about all the projects. They seemed unwilling to put in the effort. They were looking for more hand-outs and more step by step guides. There was an air of awkwardness every day in class. Most of them had the stare that said, “I will successfully sit through this. The class will be over soon.”
I was devastated by the state my students and I were in.
These were questions that went through my mind at different stages in the course.
What is happening? Why are they asking me questions they can figure out themselves?
Am I doing something wrong? My methods that work in the other schools don’t work here. Why not?
What else can I do? I have to try new things in class.
Why am I such a bad teacher? Why can’t I interest my students?
Why am I stressed? Why are my students stressed?
Why am I like a robot now, just going through the motions? The class needs to be finished but I no longer want to go.
Almost all of the students passed the class. One failed due to absences. The whole class learned so I technically did well. But I was not happy, my manager and my students were not happy. And for the first time in my life I received a negative review.
I was deeply affected. I did a serious analysis of my teaching methods (and my whole life) after that class.
I taught the course four more times, in an effort to make myself better. It didn’t get better. And it was my fault. I refused to hand out everything, refused to line up all the puzzle pieces, refused to spoon feed. My students needed to think of project solutions and how the lessons applied to the real world. They refused to follow my lead.
I used to think that teaching would always be a good fit because as a teacher you do your best and your students would appreciate it. In this case, I was not a good fit for the institution, the team, the program. The stress I was going through was not worth it. To make the class better, I needed support from everyone involved and I didn’t have it. I gave up on this front…for a while.
Then this article came my way. It talks about declining resilience in students. It clearly describes what happened in my classes. I take full responsibility for the outcomes then but is it possible that the cause was the decline in student resilience? Maybe it was not me, maybe it was them?
I thought long and hard about possible solutions. Caitlin Tucker offers a quick method to combat learned helplessness in the classroom. However, changing the culture of what may be several generations of students and teachers is not a battle I am willing to fight. So I chose blended classrooms instead, teaching face to face with the help of eLearning.
Could eLearning help improve resilience in our students?
- eLearning encourages independence. Students work on finding the answers to their questions.
- eLearning includes a struggle to be self-sufficient that when resolved, results to self-confidence.
- eLearning is a great equalizer of age, educational background, gender, and financial status. It doesn’t matter if students have negative perceptions about their abilities. There are no classmates who ‘get’ the topic faster.
- eLearning allows for engagement interactions that keep learners interested.
- eLearning minimizes stress. Students build proficiency by doing the eLearning repeatedly at their own pace, anywhere they want.
I want to think that I did not really give up on myself or on those classes. I just chose educational technology as a solution.
I am currently involved in a project creating a free video series on Learning eLearning. Follow me or eLearning Squared on LinkedIn or Twitter (@l_abad,@elearningfeed) to be notified when a new video is published. Or view the training online on our website at www.eLearningSquared.com.