BATANG MINDANAW: Tackling the Roots: The Need to Return to Face-to-Face Classes


COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/August 27) — How can we solve a problem if we don’t get to its roots? If short-term fixes are used as band-aids in an attempt to fix deep-seated problems, students will inevitably face mental health drain and degraded academic performance.

For the past two years, confinement at home and the impossibility of socially interacting with peers have caused a dilemma that affects major aspects of every student’s life. Due to adverse mental health effects, it is high time for Filipino students to return to full face-to-face classes.

One of the most common issues people experience that drains sanity is “zoom fatigue”. It is the feeling of exhaustion that one feels following a videoconference call. In a recent interview with Dr. Brian Wind, Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, “When we’re on Zoom, the brain has to work overtime to process information. He does not pick up the social signals that he is used to identifying. It stresses the mind and consumes a lot of energy.

Using these technologies to an unhealthy extent has also been linked to developmental delays and has been shown to disrupt the normal sleep routine.

The suspension of physical lessons, the disruption of the regular daily routine and the reduction in the amount of social support received place an additional burden on the mental health of students. The rigorous application of the confinement of children to their homes aggravates an already difficult situation.

Moreover, the online learning environment and home environment also play a major role in the mental health of students during online classes. A study titled “The Hidden Impact of COVID-19 on Children” reported that violence occurred in almost a third (32%) of households. According to UNICEF, the Philippine government also saw a 260% increase in online child abuse reports between March and May.

All of the above-mentioned reasons are contributing factors to mental health burnout in students. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 16.8% of Filipino students between the ages of 13 and 17 attempted suicide at least once in the year preceding the Global Student Health Survey. school of 2015.

There have been two main solutions as part of the response that schools have undertaken, and these are webinars on mental health and the implementation of school breaks. Academic breaks offer students the opportunity to recalibrate from a demanding schedule of school-related responsibilities, and webinars provide important help on how to navigate life during online classes.

Having recognized the fact that the proposed solutions provide temporary relief, they are insufficient and unsustainable to completely eradicate the threats to the mental health of students.

Of all the other interventions, the most effective is the return of face-to-face learning. Inequalities of opportunity between different students are mitigated by face-to-face teaching. It is also beneficial since students have the opportunity to be in classrooms with the primary purpose of gaining knowledge and having direct access to mentors, peers, and resources with fewer distractions.

Learning is also greatly enhanced by social contact, which is more meaningful and effective in face-to-face teaching. As Stanford researchers discovered, “in-person communications make our brains happier.” Having to go to class with a real teacher is more efficient for students and can make them more comfortable interacting and learning from each other in a classroom setting.

Ultimately, rather than giving temporary solutions, bringing classes back to face-to-face is one of the most needed avenues to help us minimize, if not eradicate, the mental exhaustion and heaviness that students already carry around. .

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. Somaiya K. Padilla is a young leader, debater and journalist whose advocacy revolves around poverty reduction, peacebuilding and Youth Empowerment She is the current Associate Editor of “The Twelth Quill”, the official school publication of the Philippine Science High School – Soccskargen Campus). She hopes to use journalism as a tool to reverse the negative stereotypes that have been associated with Muslims and Mindanawons)


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