Learning gap or learning gift?
Updated: Oct 3
What educators can learn from the pandemic
Finally, we are back to school: no more masks, school closings, or massive reshufflings of the teaching staff. The last 18 months have severely depleted our reserves of flexibility, cooperativeness and perseverance and we are all ready for calm and recognizable school days. We’re champing at t
he bit for return of schedules, predictable syllabuses, and lots of indoor schooling, just like in the good old days before the pandemic.
But from time to time, business as usual can feel a bit flat. On the one hand we are so used to being on high alert that it can be difficult to exhale, relax and get back to the humdrum of routine. On the other hand, many of us have gotten better at flexing some muscles that we were neglecting in that daily humdrum. Muscles we may have gotten a taste for exercising more frequently!
It WAS challenging to be so flexible and adaptable, and it WAS hard at times to stay patient and focus on the big picture, in the onslaught of changing guidelines and teaching conditions. But educators of all stripes from management to teacher’s aides succeeded. And even when things went pear-shaped, the margin for error was wider, because we were all in the same boat. Schools succeeded in maintaining the contact from schools to children, were able to do a lot of teaching (by
hook or by crook), and the most vulnerable were protected and the curve flattened.
There is no reason to let those competencies to go waste! Although the pandemic crisis is over (for now), it makes sense to hold onto the good things we did and learned along the way. Things like outdoor schooling – which in addition to requiring new ways of working with children demands both teacher cooperation across disciplines and scheduling flexibility. And also inner competencies like adaptability and letting go of our one-eyed focus on errors and deficiencies.
There are several advantages to seizing this opportunity to ask what the pandemic has taught us – such as the knowledge that we all have and can develop the competencies we need in a crisis. And the understanding that these many months of struggle are not wasted or lost, precisely because we have found or learned and practiced these competencies. And finally, the insight that the competencies we sharpened during the pandemic are exactly the ones we need – both adults and children – to navigate learning and working in a world that gets more changeable and unpredictable every day.
We can change the so-called learning loss to a learning gift by focusing on what exactly each of us has learned. Have a chat over lunch or at your weekly meetings or conferences; or contact Snail Academy and we’ll be happy to facilitate such a conversation for you.