Learning Loss, Life Lessons, and Second Chances
Here we are in the 2021-2022 school year, and educators, students, and their parents have all suffered losses in some way or another while also gaining valuable life experience. This year, we are trying to take what we have learned from the last 18 months and create the most effective learning environment possible.
When the world shut down in March of 2020, and school districts had to come up with a plan for virtual or “at home” learning within days, it is safe to say that we as educators were traveling down a road that had NEVER been taken before.
The phrase “learning loss” is being discussed quite a bit lately, and rightfully so, as it is at the forefront of educator concerns. Many students have not been in a structured or consistent learning environment for over a year now. Several schools across the country have reopened, only to shut back down, reopen again, or switch to a hybrid model for the time being.
With constant change, as we continue to blaze new trails within education, loss of instruction is apparent. Still, there are also other noticeable losses, such as loss of routine or consistency, and for some, a loss of motivation or stamina.
How do we learn from the data we have and combat these losses?
1. Use brief and straightforward assessments often to identify and address COVID-19 learning gaps.
2. Personalize education for students to assist in closing those learning gaps.
3. Prioritize student’s social and emotional needs.
4. Provide a variety of intervention options for students across the board, K-12.
5. Provide problem-based learning through STEM initiatives.
Providing curriculum or resources that are cohesive and consistent in structure and multifunctional in the classroom or at home provides a powerful tool to educators and parents to help their students combat learning loss.
Educators are resilient, and students are resilient. Within these losses lie great opportunities to model one of the greatest lessons of all time; challenges will come and go in life, but with them also comes the opportunity for strength, growth, and inevitably, success.