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Archive for March, 2021

Whether it is called an “Aha Moment” or ”an Epiphany” educators are seeing many aspects of their profession in a different light over this last year of the pandemic education plan. They are questioning, what was considered normal for centuries, as a system in need of change more than had ever before been realized. The pandemic blew up the existing education system, forcing changes that could never have evolved naturally at such a rapid pace under normal circumstances. Many concepts and assumptions, based on what was “normal” before the pandemic, have been discarded, replaced, adjusted and improved. Many changes have exposed more problems that will require new solutions to these new problems. Twenty-first century technology has both helped and hindered the entire process. AHA! Ironically, tech is both the problem and the solution at this point in this education evolution.

Many of the biggest problems that are being acknowledged in education today are not new. They are however, being magnified to a point where they can no longer be ignored, or denied. Poverty is one great example. Although I do believe the system is riddled with systemic racism, poverty is a separate issue. It knows no bounds of race although many people of color fall within this category; it also includes white kids of urban and rural poverty groups. AHA! One can’t pull him, or herself up by their bootstraps, if they don’t own a pair of boots.

It was always my belief that Tech and online teaching was the direction to take. The pandemic has certainly hit that with a huge monkey wrench. It showed me that it is impossible to educate kids online with more kids in a family than devices in the home to access the Internet. Of course another stumbling block is the Internet itself. AHA! How can we provide online learning when we can’t provide adequate and equitable Internet access to the country?

We are beginning the third decade of the Twenty-First Century. Why haven’t we prioritized and provided Internet access, as we have with water and electricity to the country? We seem to have the technology for this, but not the inclination to provide it. Of course money is at issue here. AHA! Unless we prioritize the Internet into our infrastructure for equitable countrywide access, we will never have the ability to properly implement distance learning.

Of course one of the greatest epiphanies for many educators has been the relationship of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Maslow’s Hierarchy. As educators we are all familiar with Bloom, since his Taxonomy deals with higher order thinking skills and that is directly connected to education. Maslow’s Hierarchy is more nuanced in education. Once we began the pandemic year of education many of the basic needs of Maslow’s pyramid were lost to many more kids: Love and belonging, safety needs, and physiological needs were obliterated for many students. Without the ability to meet these needs for kids, we loose the ability to get them to respond to any of Bloom’s thinking skills. AHA! Without completing the basics of Maslow, there is no room for Bloom.

Probably the greatest of all the AHA moments that educators and parents have had is the role that relationships play in learning. From the beginning of the year of pandemic education, educators have stepped up in reaching out to their students. That has made a big difference in a bad situation for many kids, as well as parents. Now a term that we have all become familiar with is SEL, Social and Emotional Learning. AHA! Strong teacher/student relationships strengthen learning. We must deal with social and emotional needs of kids before we can accurately assess their learning.

My final Aha moment came after I spoke to hundreds of educators about how the year of pandemic education has affected them as educators. I was surprised that after at least a decade of professional development for educators emphasizing technology integration and online learning in education that a majority of educators were totally unprepared for the transition to online teaching. AHA! If we are to better educate our kids, we need first to better educate their educators.

The pandemic education plan that we have all been forced to endure for this last year is not all bad. We need to consider all that we have learned. Yes, many kids do not perform well with distance learning, but there are other kids who are thriving with it. AHA! There is no one method of education that works for every kid. We need to consider what we know to be true and build from there a flexible and evolving education system. We need to encourage and embrace the Aha moments and share these ideas through collaboration with all educators.

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