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On-site learners happier than online peers, say UAE educators

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Students who attend in-person classes seem happier than their online peers and respond better in classroom activities, various UAE educators have noted.

Online learners may not always be directly interacting with teachers and communication may often be impersonal, they added.

Schools reopened in the UAE on August 30 with many following blended learning models at the institutions.

“Pupils who have been in the classrooms from the start of term are more confident, despite all the changes and safety measures we’ve put in place due to Covid-19. While we support all of our pupils with their personal choice of in-class or distance learning, it has been noticed that children really do respond better to in-classroom activity. It had a profound effect on a positive state of mind,” said Joe Donaghy, head of Pastoral Care at Brighton College Dubai.

Regular attendance in classes help students interact with other individuals of their own age, be better disciplined, follow a regular schedule and improve their overall alertness.

“Schools are naturally social places and students rely on the ability to communicate with each other. We have seen and continue to see the very positive ways students are interacting and communicating through the masks,” Dr Allan Weston, principal, Greenfield International School.

While lessons and classrooms are not the same as pre-Covid-19 times, “opportunities to be physically together and interact far outweigh the difficulties of social distancing and mask-wearing”. While online education infrastructure has been effectively enabled by institutions the social aspect of learning is vastly underrated.

“Students are certainly happier in school with their friends than alone at home, said Andreas Swoboda, Principal, Uptown International School. “It has a positive effect on their ability to learn, to process new information and to develop new skills. Although some online learning tools are amazing, they cannot live up to the benefits of in-class, face-to-face learning,” she added.

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