Sixth and ninth graders on distance learning – there are differences, but nothing too dramatic
(Prague, 4 February 2021) How kids of different ages, their parents and teachers rate distance learning can be seen by comparing the results of an extensive questionnaire survey of 6th and 9th graders.
The recently published survey of almost 4,000 9th graders, their parents and teachers on distance learning, was indirectly followed by the results of a similar survey of 6th graders. The survey of both age groups was conducted by Scio in October to November last year as part of National Testing. Almost 4,000 6th graders, about 800 of their parents and 120 teachers took part in the survey of younger students. Although 6th graders were asked to assess distance learning last spring (the survey of 9th graders focused entirely on the transition to distance learning in autumn), the results proved to be very similar in many respects, but also pointed to certain differences in the perception of online learning and satisfaction with this form of education.
Being at home is nice. But it has its drawbacks
The same four reasons battled for top spot in why students enjoyed distance learning: they could stay at home, they could learn at their own pace, they could learn at the time and in the manner that suited them best. Sixth graders, in contrast to 9th graders who answered because they could stay at home most often (56%), preferred to learn at a time (44%) and pace (44%) that suited them best. Both sixth and ninth graders disliked distance learning the most because they had a large number of assigned tasks (37 and 44%, respectively) and insufficient contact with classmates (both 33%). Their opinions differed on what would help them during distance learning – ninth graders would welcome better communication and coordination with teachers (28%), while sixth graders lacked interaction with classmates during lessons (23%). When they return to school, both sixth and ninth graders would welcome working more often in groups (58% and 53%, respectively) and also with the internet and digital technologies (43% and 39%, respectively). With regard to the time kids spent learning and completing tasks/assignments, both groups chose the option of 3-4 hours every day most often (both 31%).
Older students need minimum help
While the parents of sixth graders considered the fact that children mastered the use of digital technologies (48%) and that they were more independent (42%) as the greatest benefit, the parents of ninth graders rated independence first (52%) and mastering digital technologies second (41%). The parents of both groups unanimously chose insufficient contact with classmates/friends (85% and 79%, respectively) and teachers (59% and 58%, respectively) as the main drawbacks of distance learning, while surprisingly few parents complained about excessive tasks/assignments (26% and 34%, respectively) or not enough peace and quiet to work (19% and 13% respectively).
The biggest difference was mainly seen in the amount of time parents had to spend helping their kids with learning. In the case of sixth graders, parents most often gave their children from 3-4 hours a day (30%) to 2 hours (27%). In contrast, the parents of ninth graders stated that they spent little time helping, or that they did not study with their children regularly every day (54% in total). When asked if they were happy with distance learning, 50% of the parents of sixth graders and 59% of the parents of ninth graders answered yes. Mutual communication with teachers and what they required of students would help both groups of parents the most during distance learning.
Parents of younger students communicate more
According to teachers, communication with parents was significantly better in the case of younger students. The statement most parents communicated with me was ticked by 53% of sixth grade teachers, but only 37% of ninth grade teachers. The response was similar from students themselves (78% and 50%, respectively). When schools reopen, both groups of teachers would most welcome students working independently more often (58% and 63% respectively) and using the internet and digital technologies more often in class (35% and 26% respectively). Both groups of teachers said that training in online tuition at their school, sharing experiences with colleagues from other schools and better communication with parents would help them the most for distance learning.