Back on April 26, Education Week’s Peter DeWitt found that, “Many teachers, students, and parents are proving to be remarkably resilient during this time when it comes to the effects of the pandemic on schools, education, and student learning. It is not easy to teach in a physical classroom one day and turn it into a virtual classroom the next…”
DeWitt also reminded us that what kids and their teachers experienced was not virtual learning but “pandemic learning.” The difference between the two: “Pandemic learning is when the opportunity for virtual learning is created overnight. The luxury of time to reflect on what works and what doesn’t work is nonexistent.”
In other words, flying by the seat of our collective pants, given no choice but to teach online, often without the requisite skills and/or experience.
Couple that with the fact that 44% of teachers and district leaders reported that most of their students had to share devices with family members, while less than 50% of districts told their teachers to take attendance and/or check in regularly with their students.
As for quality of the instruction, the American Enterprise Institute found that:
Overall, just 20% of schools provided “rigorous” learning experiences via a videoconferencing platform like Zoom, tracked attendance/expected some sort of student participation, and graded the work done to some extent.
40% came in at “perfunctory,” relying on paper instructional packets and “explicitly stating student were not required to participate,” or didn’t provide remote learning information on their websites.
40% fell somewhere in between the two.
More specifically, just 12% of high-poverty districts offered “rigorous” lessons, with 52% of them considered “perfunctory.” For those in the low-poverty category, it was 23% “rigorous” and 35% “perfunctory.”
As for a mom’s perspective on the remoteness of it all, this from Brittany Anthony: “I am an educated, successful, level-headed woman, and I almost cried today trying to help my second and third graders with their schoolwork. I finally gave up and let them play…”
And she, like the rest of us, will find virtual teaching still part of the school day come September; more on that in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
With thanks, Carol