Schools are starting up again. Classes may be online due to the pandemic.
If they are in person, then classroom arrangements reflect the demands of coronavirus prevention. Some schools offer a combination of in-person and online education. Millions are becoming increasingly familiar with technologies that deliver course content through computer screens; these methods have both advantages and disadvantages.
How we assess online education should not be determined by fascination
with screens or alleged economic savings. The essential element in this assessment must be how well the humanity of the student is served. Are students learning in a way that befits their human dignity? Do we as a society
want to educate people or simply to graduate them?
Authentic education requires constructive, empathetic human relationships between teachers and students. This ancient and obvious principle, threatened by a flood of educational fads, needs to be reclaimed. As author and educator Parker Palmer has said, “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”
Essential to the educational task is the identification and support of teachers
able to establish and maintain life-enhancing relationships.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington