Back to School
Figuring Out How to Bring Students up to Speed May be Wrong Question for Fall
- By Dian Schaffhauser
to predict where we're headed in education for the fall? According to
one long-time educator in Wisconsin, if your thinking is focused on
how to catch students up to where they should be, "you are
asking the wrong question." Diana Laufenberg serves as the
executive director of Inquiry
an organization that works with districts and schools to transform
their approach to learning. She's also in the midst of a long-term
substitute teaching job.
month, Laufenberg posted a
set of seven tweets
examining questions to ask about remote teaching and learning for the
next go-around now that the initial shock of being dumped into the
deep end of the pool is waning. To further understand what she was
proposing, KQED recently talked with Laufenberg to offer "seven
distance learning priorities to consider before reopening schools."
an article by Senior Editor Ki Sung, Laufenberg suggested that
improving learning for the next disruption needs to start at the
physical layer: making sure students have devices and internet
there, teachers and administrators need to pause and give some
thought to what's most important. It's possible, Laufenberg said,
that remote learning is a good time "to teach kids the skills
they need to be more self-reliant," such as time management and
how to ask for help when they're struggling.
also important to scale back "expectations of teachers and
students," she asserted. People are "beating themselves up"
because they're not being as productive or efficient as they'd like.
Distance learning is "not going to be as good; that's a fact,"
she said. "You will make it as good as it possibly can be under
the circumstances, under what we are functioning under. But it will
not be as effective as what we were doing in school."
also advised that extending school into the summer or restarting it
earlier in the year may not be the best idea, since that suggests
that somehow teachers need to keep doing what they're already doing.
[remote learning] happens again, how will we enter this space with
more grace and intentionality than this last round afforded us?"
Laufenberg tweeted. "What supplies, protocols & procedures
will we implement to be better poised to handle something like this
in the future?"
full article is openly available on
the KQED website.
Laufenberg's Apr. 14, 2020 tweets are available on
her Twitter account.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.