- Author: Dario Brooks
- BBC News World
Juan Francisco Baldeon is no newcomer to teaching: he has been teaching law for 17 years.
He doesn’t even know online education. For the last three years, he has been lecturing on digital platforms similar to Zoom.
In October, however, Baldeon surprised his students at the Federal University of Peru (UNFV) in Peru by telling them he would leave work.
The bomb that the professor launched through Zoom after his frustration with the lack of student engagement became unbearable.
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“I don’t want to teach you anymore, that’s all. I really have enough,” he tells the students through Zoom.
“You’ll say I didn’t teach you anything. But it’s not … you’re the one who doesn’t read.”
I am considering resigning and leaving, “he said.
Episodes like the one experienced by Baldeon show the difficulties that teachers have with the online courses that academic institutions have turned to in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Baldeon video exploded on social media, with dozens of Latin American channels reporting a “live response.”
“The situation has exceeded my limits and forced me to say enough,” the professor told the BBC.
But after meeting with Baldeon, university administrators announced that the professor would continue his mining law courses.
Baldeon tells the BBC the four challenges teachers face – which can lead to frustrating situations like the one he experienced last month.
1. Disconnect from students
Peru is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic in South America. It is quarantined from April to October, which has caused schools and universities to offer their courses on online platforms.
Mr Baldeon explains that during a UNFV lesson on Zoom on October 26, he found that students had not made the required data for the day.
One of them recorded a moment when the professor complained about his absence. The video was posted on Facebook.
Mr Baldeon says he did not intend to leave all classes, except for those that the students did not show interest in.
“Students seem to be locked up because of the pandemic. And they are not reading,” he says.
The teacher explains that the main problem that teachers face when offering online courses is the breaking of the link between teacher and student, which is vital for the teaching and learning process.
2. Pupils’ non-verbal response is missing.
In online courses at UNFV, students are not required to activate the cameras of their devices, which creates another big problem in Mr. Baldeon’s eyes.
It deprives the teacher of students’ nonverbal reactions.
For him, “the feelings and emotions of the students in explaining the curriculum are visible on their faces.” “We see a smile, anger or anxiety.”
But being in front of a screen, divided into rectangles that have only a title and in some cases a photo, you will lose that feeling.
“At the end of my course, I no longer communicate with my students. Why? The screen went blank,” complains Mr Baldeon that students in virtual classrooms no longer have the opportunity to express their doubts outside the classroom. as they do in traditional classes.
3. There is no group motivation
Mr Baldeon admits that students’ lack of interest in educational reading is also reflected in full-time lessons.
But the collective motivation that occurs in schools is difficult to repeat in online classrooms.
“The learning process is collective,” explains the professor.
Today’s youth are accustomed to reading the news on the Internet: “However, reading in college is completely different. In this case, the student must decide to grasp the knowledge like a sponge.”
According to university administrator Jesús Albert García, those who sent him a video from the class on October 26 told him that the professor had not respected some students in the past, which also limited the reaction.
The professor says he understood their point, but defended his actions.
4. Lack of study space
Mr Baldeon noted that another problem was the lack of reserved study space.
“While they are in their virtual classroom, I hear the ‘market’ in the background,” the professor explains.
The teacher apologizes by explaining that “they are probably not in a particular place of study, room or study environment. They seem to be on the street. And there the teacher can do almost nothing.”
In the face of these challenges, Mr Baldeon acknowledges that it is not just the responsibility of students to have a comprehensive online course. Teachers also need to find strategies to maintain their level of attention and motivate them to study.
The Peruvian says teachers need to be “much more paternal” and need to find communication channels that students like to encourage to study, such as virtual spaces or even WhatsApp groups.