Students Struggle in Language Classes Through Distance Learning

Cons come with learning a language strictly over Zoom calls.

Meghan Molyneaux, Editor

Scholarly students might be failing their French/Spanish class at no fault of their own. It is the first time in history that public schools have switched to online learning. Students have to learn to adjust into this virtual setting. Foreign language classes have never been easy, but this year it seems to be harder than ever before. 

As there is no time deadline and no hard and fast rule to finish the course, one can easily lack discipline” said “It is one of the primary drawbacks of online language learning. In the classical system of pedagogy, one has to follow routine and be consistent with learning a language.”

In the past students would get five days a week inside of a physical classroom. This was crucial to their learning. Having that pressure to know the material in a classroom motivates students to put in the effort. Without that face to face communication, without the ability to turn to one’s partner-the support that was once obtained from the classroom has faded away. Teachers are assigning immense work loads when students are lacking the information to complete it. The education American high schoolers were once getting is not the same.

From freshman Spanish to junior year Spanish I had it all locked down,” said San Pasqual high AP Spanish student, Hana Ibarra. “I was like, ‘I’m going to pass this AP Exam with a 5’, and once Covid hit I immediately started losing all my Spanish skills.” 

Based on many observational studies, technology-enhanced learning has teens’ heads in the clouds. Interactive classes have transformed into lectures. This method does not prove to be beneficial for foreign language learners in particular. High schoolers tend to rely on the internet and Google Translate during class, when this was not an option before. Students are cheating their way through tests and assignments. This approach does not teach much. 

“I feel like our brains went on auto-pilot,” says Ibarra. 

Productivity is at an all time low across the nation. Students are feeling isolated and lost in this virtual world that has been created. Depression rates are increasing, which compounds the already low motivation. Students want to be heard and want things to change. Teachers have been putting their utmost effort into creating a cyberspace that is easy for students. In a pandemic our generation has never seen before, this is the best option for learning even if it is not ideal. 

The cons of virtual language learning have shadowed the mind’s of once optimistic students. 

“Um pros? Hm I don’t know […] there are none” states Ibarra.