For over a year, the feeling of loss has run rampant across the educational landscape. The shifts in learning environments, hiring shortages, and unexpected staff exits from the profession ultimately impact the ways teachers teach and students learn. Compounded with irregularities in time and schedules, one can conclude that the future of education can no longer rely entirely on past lessons.
But to what extent has this temporal continuum been severed? For instance, even before COVID-19, educational technology had been a game-changer, and focus on mental well-being ushered in a paradigm shift. So, as educators, parents, politicians, and students contemplate how schools can look back and ahead with a 20/20 vision, it will be essential to be aware of the lenses they are looking through and interpreting the loss.
Getting turned into a school’s educational worldview can happen in many ways. I suggest subscribing to district Twitter accounts and newsletters. Likewise, attending live or watching archived school board meetings provides a treasure trove of information. Finally, arranging a time to talk to school and district leadership allows for dialogue and direct contact for future networking. Regardless of your method for information gathering, it would help if you looked for practices, policies, needs, and silences related to the categories below. To help with that exercise, I have included a sample articulation of each from my system.
People often equate this with academics. That certainly is true. Moreover, how a school views achievement will be essential to know. Other areas of loss relate to social interaction and behavior management, affective and emotional loss, and motivational and resilience decreases.
What positives occurred in the last few school years? Identifying and supporting these “the good” related to instruction, assessment, well-being, and outreach are often forgotten or marginalized. Helping schools coordinate and scale unseen advantages or models from other schools will be well received.
Knowing the systems that exist in schools and the community will reveal challenges. Once this occurs, it will be essential to address these and anticipate others. For example, issues around communication, professional development, and infrastructure were all challenges we have had to address.
Identifying criteria or targets to strive for is challenging to develop. The best indicators are a mix of qualitative and quantitative factors. Moreover, how is the recovery
of loss made – what is in place to make recovery happen. Finally, reporting efforts and updates to stakeholders is vital to recovery efforts.
Underlying all of these categories are topics related to equity. When discussing any educational subject, a generous dose of questions probes the systems, infrastructure, and practices that broaden access to all students. When areas of inequity are revealed, these are additional areas to provide support to schools.
The bard, William Shakespeare, reminds us to “Make not your thoughts your prisons.” But this is more than just a reminder – it is a call to action. In contemporary language, we say, “think outside of the box.” Bringing that disposition to the table opens possibilities and injects optimism into the conversation. Both qualities are needed in education now and in the future.
To learn more about how to supplement learning loss,
contact Agile Education Marketing today.