Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Learning Loss?

I don't know about you, but I am getting a little tired of hearing the term "learning loss" in reference to students and school and COVID.

Has the education world (along with the rest of the world) been rocked by the chaos of COVID?  Absolutely.  Have schools flipped to remote, some for more than a year?  Absolutely.  Have kids struggled?  Absolutely.

But learning loss?  

What defines loss?  

If you're thinking about the benchmarks and standards, which are not necessarily appropriate to begin with* then why does there need to be any loss?  I mean, the whole world was impacted, why couldn't there be some sort of standards adjustment to accommodate the different type of learning that has been taking place everywhere.  Every.  Where.

Kids might not have been "in school" in the traditional sense, but there was definitely schooling.  Math might not have been pencil-paper algorithms, but there was still math.  Symmetry, recipes, calculating costs... reading might not have required the regurgitation of a summary, but there was lots of reading, even if it came in the form of cheat codes for video games.  Science?  Gardening.  Chemistry?  Cooking.  Learning.  Is.  Everywhere.

There was SO much learning that happened during this different type of school day.  Some of it may have sucked, especially for kids who were in less than ideal settings, caring for younger siblings, struggling to take care of basic needs.  I'm guessing, though, that many kids in those settings still learned a lot - life lessons and not book lessons, maybe - but still learning.

And the family time?  I know my nieces had family meals every single day during lockdown.  They loved having mom and dad around - walks, games, reading, crafts - so much learning.

So maybe we as adults (especially non-educators) need to think about this situation differently.  Instead of trying to catch kids up from the lost learning, let's look at what they did learn, and build from there.  Let's leverage the 1 to 1 technology that most schools now have to differentiate for kids so they can build upon their individual needs, instead of a one-size blanket lesson.

Let's look on the positive side of this situation.  Change does not have to mean loss.  After all, without change, we'd all still be using typewriters.


*When what used to be considered a first grade skill, is now all of a sudden a kindergarten skill, these standards and benchmarks are messed up.  I mean, kindergarteners brains aren't all of a sudden ready for first grade skills just because someone said so... but that is a whole different post...

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