Superintendent of Schools Delivers His Opinion on Key Education Findings Amid Pandemic
Teachers and students across the country returned to classrooms for in-person instruction just weeks before the end of the school year.
For the 2021-2022 school year, most schools will be doing full in-person learning and are preparing for an uncertain future of learning. The results of a recent survey, conducted by tech company Instructure, identified six key trends in U.S. schools as educators across the country plan for classroom life after a pandemic.
âOverall, we’ve come to (distance learning) more adaptive, open to new approaches and deeply focused on student engagement,â said Trenton Goble, vice president of K-12 strategy. at Instructure. âAt the same time, there is a lot of hard work ahead … We know that technology will remain essential, as the pandemic has shifted its role from an enjoyable service to an essential service that connects teachers, parents. and the students with the whole learning path.
Instructure interviewed 464 teachers and 200 parents across the country. The investigation resulted in six takeaways.
- Investing in teachers is investing in student success.
- The # 1 priority for teachers is student engagement.
- It’s time for a fundamental change in assessment.
- Hybrid teaching and learning is here to stay.
- Technology is essential to keeping teachers, students and parents connected.
- Equitable access is essential to achieve equity in education.
âWhile the pandemic hasn’t created inequity, it definitely exposed it,â Goble said. âSpecifically in the area of ââstudent and teacher access to key technologies that support learning. This is something that will be an ongoing challenge for communities as they strive to address these issues.
What students need
Quality education continues to be recognized as the primary factor contributing to student success. The survey found that 85% of parents considered it the most important factor.
Additionally, when examining socio-emotional factors, educators (99%) and parents (91%) ranked a student’s relationship with teachers as the primary factor.
âA student’s relationship with their teacher is essential,â said Deneen Guss, superintendent of the Monterey County office of education. âWhen a student has a positive relationship with their teacher, they are much more likely to ask for help when they need it. They are much more likely to feel comfortable participating in class discussions and sharing their concerns or needs with their teacher. Students need to feel comfortable, supported and connected for their learning to run smoothly.
After the statewide closures, districts scrambled to find ways to engage students. Teachers relied heavily on technology to bond with students and recreate the classroom experience.
However, low-income households were more than twice as likely to report difficulty helping their children stay engaged, according to the survey.
âThis is probably because they may not have had a parent / guardian at home to support them during distance learning,â Guss said. âIf the student’s parents / guardians worked outside the home, the children would end up with one person looking after a group of children or one sibling watching over another sibling; this situation creates additional challenges for these students. “
The future of education
Investing in technology will be essential to support classroom activities and ensure students stay engaged and parents stay informed, both inside and outside the classroom.
âWe know that blended learning programs provide opportunities for students and teachers to engage in new ways, using digital strategies applied in the real world,â said Guss. “We also know that these same strategies can be applied in both in-person and hybrid learning environments through the use of blended learning techniques.”
Guss believes the majority of students want to return to in-person learning because they feel more connected to their peers and teachers when they are in a classroom.
Access to devices and a reliable internet connection, however, will continue to play a major role in teacher preparation and student engagement.
While the abrupt transition to e-learning has presented many challenges, the tools adopted have kept everyone on the same page and their continued use can have a positive impact on engagement and engagement. communication.
âAs we have seen in this research, people have a more open mind to new learning modalities, which provides more flexible options to support our students and their individual learning needs and styles,â Goble said. . âThe teachers have done an incredible job of moving to e-learning and this will serve as the basis for bringing the students back to the classroom. “
School districts must now find the money to build the infrastructure necessary to maintain this learning model.
âAccess to broadband and its cost remains a major challenge,â said Guss. “… but the question is, what will happen after all this funding is gone?” How do you keep upgrading, replacing and supporting so many new devices? Schools will need ongoing funding solutions going forward to provide ongoing support to the technology support positions needed to maintain digital devices and networks. “
We need to prioritize planning and infrastructure with a lens ready for the future, as digital tools become obsolete so quickly, and daily wear and tear and programming changes create a constant influx of new technological needs.
It is also important to allow teachers and families time to learn new technological platforms, programs and devices.
âTechnology has always been an essential tool used for teaching and learning,â said Guss. âHowever, it should not be seen as a replacement for teachers or schools. Technology is a tool that allows teachers to support their teaching in many ways. Going forward, I believe that technology will continue to be one of the many tools that education uses to support teaching. “
A fundamental change
The pandemic has changed the way teachers monitor student progress.
According to the survey, about half of educators and parents believe students have fallen significantly behind due to school closures linked to COVID-19.
Because of the learning loss, keeping each student on track to meet grade level standards will require a “hands-on assessment approach that is part of the regular education cycle,” according to Instructure’s findings.
Which could take some time, Goble said.
“Research shows us that formative assessment is most effective, giving teachers the actionable data they need to adjust teaching and personalize learning in the moment,” he said. “We are seeing a continued decline in the perceived importance of end-of-level testing, which will hopefully lead to districts and states adopting innovative assessment models that truly have academic impact.”
In terms of measuring student achievement, respondents perceive standardized test scores as the least important among 14 factors, at just 29%.
To check students’ understanding during the pandemic, 76% of educators conducted formative assessments during distance learning. Almost 30% of educators say that the reception of assessment data is a little or much later than necessary.
âAssessment for learning has always been the best practice,â said Guss. âIt’s not a new concept. In order for educators to know what students are proficient in and where they have gaps in their understanding of certain concepts, good educators have always used formative assessments … These are common, as opposed to a summative assessment usually given to the end of time. “
To learn more about Instructure, you can visit their website at www.instructure.com.
David Rodriguez is the educational reporter and staff photographer at The Salinas Californian. For any advice or story ideas, you can contact him at (831) 269-9363 or [email protected] Subscribe to support local journalism.