Remote Learning Can Work, We’re Just Doing it Wrong

Hands pointing at a laptop computer; photo credit John Schnobrich, Accessed on 2/22/21

A consensus seems to be emerging around distance learning: it’s not working. Students are disengaged and distracted when trying to learn from a computer. Test scores are dropping. Students are falling behind and won’t be prepared for end of year exams. Mental health is deteriorating. This big experiment in virtual learning has failed.

The critics aren’t wrong. Many students and families are frustrated by the new normal. As a teacher, I was frustrated too — my teaching wasn’t as sharp, my students less engaged. Test scores, undoubtedly, will back up these criticisms.

And yet, I don’t think the remote nature of this experiment is to blame. That is to say, returning to campus won’t fix everything. The standard pedagogy of today — teacher introduces new topic, student does work based on that topic, I-do-we-do-you-do — clearly isn’t working through Zoom, because without the physical presence of a teacher, I-do-we-do-you-do falls apart.

Continue reading at Age of Awareness

That Baseball Study Can’t Tell You How to Teach

To really engage with research into learning, we need to understand what studies can and cannot say.

Interact with a certain subset of educators on the internet, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re directed to something known as the “Baseball Study.”

The baseball study is a 1988 article from the Journal of Educational Psychology by Donna Recht and Lauren Lesliewith the full title “Effect of Prior Knowledge on Good and Poor Readers’ Memory of Text,” and it is frequently cited to support pedagogies based around highly-structured teacher-led classrooms…

Continue reading on Human Restoration Project.

Teachers Are Not the Heroes

I was sitting in the auditorium, waiting for our faculty meeting to begin, when a colleague approached me. I’d met and interacted with this teacher a few times, but we weren’t close.

“Do you have J — — — in your class?” the teacher asked.

I told the teacher that this student had just transferred into my class earlier that week. The teacher responded:

“I hate that kid. Just felt you should know.”

I was shocked, taken aback, at the blatant display of hate and disregard for professional standards. This was not a whisper, but loud and direct. It was not a nuanced heads-up to avoid getting into power struggles with the student, but a simple, unadulterated “I hate that kid.” The only response my shell-shocked brain could summon was a half-hearted “ok,” which I had to repeat two or three times as the teacher expounded on this hate, before the conversation finally concluded…

Continue reading at Human Restoration Project.