Acknowledging the asynchronous learning days controversy

March 29, 2023

Asynchronous days are a somewhat new concept. They began during the pandemic and have stuck around . Going through schooling during a time like the pandemic was very challenging. Because of the way students had been learning previously online and then changing to in person, asynchronous days are beneficial for students everywhere.  

A full week in school can be mentally draining for most students. Asynchronous days are a good way to continue active learning, but give students time to complete missing work. Sometimes, school work adds up and that can be overwhelming. When this happens, students know that the best thing is to just take time and get your work done — asynchronous days give students the opportunity to do so.  

When given a light day of school work and time to get caught up, most students are willing to work harder the next day. Asynchronous days give students the opportunity to reset and get their feet under them so they can come back stronger the next day, ready to learn. Allowing them to come to school feeling prepared and accomplished can generate hard work. Asynchronous days also give students the luxury of learning in an environment comfortable and safe to them. School isn’t always the best place for a kid to be, but it’s necessary for learning. Not having to worry about the things that give you anxiety while at school gives students that headspace to focus further on school work. 

On asynchronous days, students are given flexibility. This gives students the opportunity to build their own schedules, which simulates life in the real world. Asynchronous days help to build time management skills, and how to plan a schedule to be most successful in a day. There won’t always be a supervisor holding your hand telling you everything you need to accomplish. Asynchronous days help to build skills we can use later down the road to continue to be successful.

I think ultimately asynchronous days have the potential to be beneficial for all students, but a balance needs to be found. There needs to be acknowledgment that some students take the day off completely while some students get all their assignments turned in. The effort we, as students, give on these asynchronous days is all up to us. It’s all about finding a balance so everyone can be successful. 

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As a current junior, I feel I have experienced high school in its truest form after being in school through the pandemic, and then relearning how to be a high school student in person. I personally believe that asynchronous days are wonderful, as it provides somewhat of a break for students, but it ultimately takes away from our learning. 

As for most students, asynchronous days tend to turn into a day off. Teachers typically provide a short attendance question, as well as one or two small assignments to be completed that day. A majority of students tend to only answer the attendance question, so they aren’t marked unexcused for the day, while some students don’t answer the question at all. Oftentimes, students take the day off to spend with friends and don’t get much work — if any, done at all. This ends up disrupting learning because when students return to class, learning is staggered and teachers have to spend more time getting students on to the same page in order to move forward as a whole. 

Asynchronous days also provide time for students to work with teachers one on one, and get specialized help for what they are missing in class. Due to the fact that most students mistake asynchronous days for a day off, this opportunity isn’t truly beneficial as students don’t take action as they should. This adds to the issue because students continue to fall behind as they continue moving forward in the classroom, and don’t end up ever receiving the help they need. 

In the end, the point at issue affects the school as a whole. It sets back entire classes, and frustrates teachers. We all know that we don’t accomplish as much when teachers and students are not aligned. When students begin to fall behind — especially after being given a flex day like asynchronous days — I find that teachers become frustrated when the work that is assigned doesn’t get done. They aren’t asking much of students on these days, and it only takes a little effort to go a long way. 

I think that asynchronous days would be more effective if there was an easy way to allow the day to still be a flex day for students, but also force those who need help to receive it. These days may require more effort from staff to reach out to students, but it would benefit everyone in the long run. Previously, the school had provided time for students to go into the building and receive support from teachers they need to collaborate with. If the school implemented a policy with more asynchronous school days, and allowed students to go into the building and complete their work, asynchronous days wouldn’t hinder learning more than it aids.

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