Brainerd public schools: technology and art teachers are concerns for BHS students

Student concerns about technology and a sufficient number of teachers were brought before the Brainerd School Board on Monday, April 22.

Brainerd High School senior Maddie Schuld spoke out at the reunion’s public forum and first spoke about the sometimes overuse of technology in classrooms.

“Google Classroom is a really useful tool. It really helps students connect with teachers when they are away or want additional information,” Schuld said. “But unfortunately I’ve been aware of some threads that show it’s not necessarily as useful as you might think.”

As a free web service, Google Classrooms allows teachers to create paperless homework and students to share their work with teachers online instead of having to print documents.

Schuld told board members that she overheard a student on the phone, presumably with his mother, discussing that he couldn’t hand in an English homework assignment over a long weekend because he would be at his father’s house, where he does not have an Internet connection.

“What I took from that was that even if we have the student device ratio of 1: 1, people will still end up falling through the cracks,” Schuld said, repeatedly noting that these students already feel alienated by their participation in the free program. or reduced lunch program.

According to the online newsletter from the Minnesota Department of Education, about 40% of students in the Brainerd School District are eligible for a free or discounted lunch, and nearly 30% of high school students are eligible for the program.

Despite its usefulness, Schuld felt that Google Classroom is too often used to replace traditional teaching methods, especially, she said, when numerous studies show that writing helps students process and synthesize information. more than typing.

According to a 2014 article in “Psychological Science,” researchers Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer suggest that students who take notes by hand while processing information in class are better than those who use laptops. According to the study, students who type notes tend to transcribe text-based lessons instead of processing the information and rephrasing it in their own words, which can hinder learning.

“So personally, for a lot of my teachers,” Schuld said, “I actually wrote homework instead of typing it in order to learn more of the information.”

Then she spoke about what appears to be a shortage of teachers for some electives, especially art classes.

Schuld said she knew dozens of students, including herself, who signed up for elective art classes but were placed in study rooms instead because he didn’t There was only one teacher to teach one or two sections of these courses. And the pottery room, she added, sits empty for at least an hour a day.

“I’m sure there is more work below the surface,” Schuld said, noting, however, that it looks like a teacher shortage from a student’s perspective.

She noted his enthusiasm, even as a senior graduate, for the district’s new facilities in the years to come, but reminded council that it’s what’s inside that counts.

“At the end of the day, our schools are as good as the staff we have within them,” said Schuld. “You could have the most expensive and beautiful building possible, but if there are no professors in the rooms, it really doesn’t seem like that serves me, as a student or to others. students, to the best possible needs. “

Board members thanked Schuld for his comments, but did not respond, in accordance with open forum board policy.