Some students find success with remote learning

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 8:08 AM EST
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HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - We’re about halfway through the school year and a recently released study from the Agency of Education reports students are still struggling this year. But some have found the odd setup is actually helping them learn.

Students are working under all sorts of formats when they are doing remote school, some in the kitchen, living room or even a bedroom just trying to stay focused on their work.

But not all of it has been chaos. In fact, some students are finding that a remote option with more flexibility is working for them.

“For a lot of students that flexibility has really allowed them to thrive,” said Jennifer Bickel-Hayes, a counselor at Champlain Valley Union High School.

They’re not the majority, but they have made themselves stand out.

“As long as they are doing their work that day, they have the opportunity to do other things,” said Bickel-Hayes.

Bickel-Hayes says students who are thriving are picking up everything from extra courses, college courses, extracurriculars or extra shifts.

“So it’s really allowed some students to find where their strengths are and really make that work for them,” said Bickel-Hayes.

Bickel-Hayes says it’s about the freedom and flexibility and one student agrees that for her, it’s working.

“I feel like I learn just as well in the remote learning model as I do in person,” said Angelique Macie, a sophomore at Spaulding High School.

She has been balancing the remote and hybrid model learning for almost 75% of her high school career so far.

“When you’re at home, when you have remote learning, you can do the work at your own pace, and I find that a lot more helpful because I can spend as much time as I need to on the work to fully understand it,” said Macie.

Macie says has been able to pick up the piano, take two extra classes outside of her high school and put more time into art.

Bickel-Hayes says she’s noticed students who are thriving in a remote settings, like Maci, are finding connection to others in settings that simply aren’t a classroom.

“I think that students are able to find that, but again I think we come back to that motivation piece, and that independence where the students that are thriving, are in a place where they are motivated and they are more independent learners and thinkers. They are able to take advantage of those other pieces to get them that socialization pieces again,” said Bickel-Hayes.

Macie says at times, flexibility has even benefited her grades. Her only issue is minor miscommunication that she says was easily fixed.

Although she says more flexible learning paths were never really on her mind before, now they seem realistic.

“As long as someone can motivate themselves to do their work I think they can learn just as well at home as they can at school,” said Macie.

Now, the counselors did point out Act 77 that was passed in 2013, does require schools to explore alternative learning pathways like remote learning for students. And they say now some students and families may take those alternative options more seriously.

Macie isn’t the only one who says remote learning has been beneficial. A senior at CVU says he has been able to get straight A’s this year and has taken on leadership roles he otherwise never would have.

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