Virtual School Meanderings

April 7, 2021

Forbes Commentary: Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:03 pm
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Note the remote learning items described below.

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Commentary: Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better
Web Tool: Redesign Schools for Stronger Relationships

Accelerating Learning As We Build
Back Better

After a year of struggling with distance learning and hybrid models, parents, teachers, and policymakers across the country are concerned about student learning and how to recover from the educational effects of the pandemic. While many of us resist the deficit orientation of “learning loss” language, concerns about students’ academic progress are certainly legitimate: As the crisis began, millions of children, particularly those in low-income communities, lacked access to the computers and connectivity that would make remote learning possible, creating even greater equity gaps than those that already existed.

In addition, many low-income communities and communities of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, as well as greater rates of unemployment and housing and food insecurity. These traumatic events, coupled with the ongoing instances of police shootings of unarmed civilians, have led to a growing and ever more visible divide between the haves and the have-nots, with many students encountering barriers to keeping up in school and others disengaging from school altogether.

As we move forward, we must move past remediation and, instead, turn to the research on how people learn. It is critically important to aim for reinvention, write Linda Darling-Hammond and Adam Edgerton in a new Forbes commentary. We must reinvent school in ways that center relationships and are grounded in the science of learning and development.

Beginning this summer and continuing into the next academic year, we should restructure schooling to build trust within supportive classrooms that do not ignore the trauma of the pandemic. We can create time to build capacity among trauma-informed educators, and we can make decisions based on multiple measures of student learning and well-being. If students feel attached and affirmed, and if they receive enriching experiences with targeted supports, they will learn in ways that far exceed the “old normal” and set the norm for a new age in education that builds on how students really learn, rather than working against it.

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Click to tweet: To reopen schools safely & effectively, we must move past remediation and use principles applying brain science & research on how people learn. At the center of this reinvention are relationships & #SEL. @Forbes commentary via @LDH_ed @AdamKirkEdge https://bit.ly/2PIHLTz

Redesign Schools for Stronger Relationships

School closures, social isolation, health concerns, and food and housing insecurity brought about by the pandemic increased trauma for many students and destabilized their support systems. As schools begin to reopen—whether virtually, in person, or in a hybrid model—educators will need to address a wide range of needs, social and emotional as well as academic, and these needs will remain in a future where additional disruptions to schooling are likely.

This section of LPI’s Restarting and Reinventing School web tool examines school designs that promote supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults. These relationships provide the foundation for healthy development and learning and can mitigate the effects of adversity. Authors share guidance focused on relationship-centered cohort designs and discuss what policymakers and educators can do to create the conditions in which students are well known and educators are more able to effectively care for and support students.

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The Learning Policy Institute conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others, the Institute seeks to advance evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the Institute connects policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the education system from preschool through college and career readiness.

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