The pandemic has taught us all so much. Many continue to uncover deeper meanings to things previously taken for granted: health, relationships, flexibility, and resilience, to name a few.
COVID has also shaken the world of education in ways no one could see coming. Educators around the world have been forced to redefine the very foundations of our systems.
How can we differentiate our supports in providing individualized resources necessary for each student to learn?
What is consistent attendance during a pandemic?
How does time factor into learning?
How can we ensure grades reflect learning?
What can we do to effectively monitor and support student progress in each of the three learning models?
And the question that continues to ring loud and clear-- now more than at any time in public education's history. . .
How can we design learning experiences that are actually engaging for kids?
Looking the Beast in the Eye
The truth is that we should have been asking this question of systems and ourselves long before COVID hit. Until recently, we as educators have--in effect-- been presented with captive audiences. We taught how we chose to teach, and students really didn't have any say in the ways in which we "delivered" instruction.
The focus was on teaching. And teachers for the most part were at liberty to make instructional decisions unilaterally.
Seemingly overnight, the traditional "teacher presence", complete with unspoken rules of learning, classroom routines, and expectations in brick-and-mortar classrooms, all but vanished.
Students were no longer bused to their buildings and shuffled into classrooms at the behest of a bell.
Teachers couldn't see their students in a physical space.