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Is 'remote learning' going to shift the way we think about education and schooling in the next few weeks and beyond?

As a high school teacher, I'm thinking a lot about what's actually important for students to learn and what roles schools have in this.

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I read an open letter from a teacher in Louisiana to all high school seniors. It was about how unfair it is that they have been "robbed" of their final year experience at school.

For me, it stood out as it didn't tell students what to do, what to think or conveyed any definitive answers - in one sense you could say it wasn't a 'source of information'. But rather it was a 'source of empathy, care and emotion' which spoke to me as information in a much more powerful way. 

The teacher acknowledged the wide range of feelings the students must be feeling now - he didn't try to minimise it, he didn't try to assure them everything would be ok and he didn't tell them what to do about these feelings. 

The most important part of the letter to me was that he also empowered the students to make the most of this situation. He told them that educators were working hard to come up with answers but at this stage, didn't have any. I think this was very effective as it was honest. Furthermore, as this situation evolves hour to hour, minute to minute, so many sources of information become redundant, yet this letter acknowledged no clear answers, but ensured the students that they're all in it together and urged them to come up with solutions too.

I found the message to be uplifting, empowering and real. 

He also didn't mention academics in it once.


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https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/17/you-were-robbed-teacher-writes-open-letter-high-school-seniors-missing-their-last-semester-because-coronavirus-crisis/

Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

Two ways:

1. It encouraged me to think more about what students are going to miss beyond just the obvious academics and school events. The lack of small everyday rituals and the wider school experience that students are missing out on are the biggest challenges we need to address - not whether students are going to fully grasp Newton's Three Laws.

2. As a dean to seniors, this letter made me write my own (far less eloquent!) version to my students. And I also shared the original to show them what I was trying to get at!

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

I shared it with my colleagues and my students,

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • News: Digital
  • Social Media
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • Word of Mouth

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

I'm getting glimpses of how communities around the world are handling this via social media. But I'd like to know more about people's personal stories - both the good and the bad. 

As a Brit living in the US, I also don't feel like I'm getting impartial non-politicised reliable information. I miss BBC News (yes not totally impartial) but it ain't bad.

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

I think there is a certain level of understanding of science and healthcare being assumed.

Children.

What is your current profession?

High school teacher

In what city are you located?

NYC

In what country are you located?

USA

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