If you have been a part of the Educational Industry within the past year and a half, you know that it has been filled with constant change and uncertainty. Many school leaders like Superintendents, Principals, and other decision makers were put into no-win situations when they had to decide between fully remote learning or hybrid learning. Many teachers were forced into tough decisions on whether they would risk their own personal health to stay in the classroom or risk learning loss with potentially working remotely. All in all, it is safe to say that no school staff member ever wants to go through another 2020 ever again.
So now that we are preparing for a new school year with restrictions and guidelines being lifted, what can we expect this upcoming school year to look like? There are a couple of things that we can expect schools to focus on to ensure that our kids are getting back to the proven methods of 21st Century Learning that had been taking the world by storm before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social and Emotional Well-Being
Schools are the perfect place to support the social and emotional well-being of the younger generation. Schools can offer resources and opportunities that can help develop many skills to not only help improve academic outcomes but also provide a better and healthier life for kids. There are a variety of different tactics that school leaders can use, but here are a few initiatives that some schools across the country are already implementing:
- Include assignments and tasks into the curriculum that require the student to be fully present and aware. While being away for a year, students may try to find shortcuts to getting to the end result. Make sure that you require students to be fully active once they return back to the classroom so that we ease our way back into collaborative environments.
- Utilize visualization techniques to help relieve stress and anxiety. As students visualize certain scenarios, they take in the positive message and cultivate it into relaxation.
Perhaps one of the biggest "wins" during the pandemic was technology. We saw software platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom Video Communications, Panopto, Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, and others thrive during the 2020-2021 past school year as administrators and teachers were left scrambling for a solution to conduct at-home learning. While these platforms should still hold some value in the learning experience for children, it is also very important that we get back to what was working - collaborative learning!
A 21st century classroom should foster both solitary and communal work. The furniture and tools within the room should be mobile in order to encourage easy transitions between different styles of teaching and learning. With mobile classroom chairs and desks, students can collaborate and form groups and then quickly switch to independent work when needed. The main objective is to create a learning environment in which each student can actively participate in their own preferred learning style because students are no longer passive recipients of knowledge like traditional lecture-style learning environments promoted.
Visuals Of Post-COVID Learning Environments
Now that restrictions and guidelines are being lifted around the country, it is important that we begin to get our classrooms looking like how they did in 2019. Lecture style seating with minimal opportunities for collaboration are detrimental to a students ability to learn. Here are some images of some classroom spaces for 2021 - a baseline for what our schools should look like this fall!
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Jun 23, 2021