What have we learned about education from the pandemic?

We are currently in a rough place in education because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In fact. it has been hard to keep up our hope for the future, with all the pressing concerns. How can we expect teachers with little experience to learn to run a digital classroom? How can young children in first and second grade learn suddenly to work online?  Parents might know about technology and use it in their lives, but they probably know very little about learning with technology. Searching for positives I stepped back and took a bigger picture of what we might learn from this difficult period of time.

  1. Technology can do more than we formerly imagined. It is worth investing in research and practice for teaching subjects like mathematics and reading using e-learning.
  2. Parents and Teachers share concerns about their kids. Building models for collaborative support for learning at home would be a good idea. Communication with the student and parent needs to be a foundation for the most meaningful education for the child.
  3. The education that was designed for the industrial age of manufacturing is not very relevant in an age of diversity that requires thinking and decision-making skills for all of our future citizens. Critical thinking skills and persuasive writing need to be skills for all children.
  4. Teachers are extremely valuable and good pedagogy with content and technology needs to be developed by all teachers. Invest in the professional development of teachers in conjunction with recruiting a new and expanded teaching force with a focus on more diversity.
  5. The school is a natural center for the community and locating additional services and opportunities for jobs and learning can help build an educated community.
  6. The traditional system of school boards and citizen governance of schools may be too disconnected from teachers’ wisdom and knowledge as well as the needs of an information age society. Parents may be either further disconnected from schools or demanding something that is the parent’s learning need but not the child’s.

These six ideas suggest a beginning for thinking about how we might want to structure school for the future. Sometimes the best way to create new systems is by observing the breakages in the current system.