How worried are you about “learning loss”?

Parents and teachers alike are understandably worried about learning loss during the pandemic.

How real is the worry? Is there something else that should worry us more? And what exactly does “learning loss” mean anyway?

John Spencer helps you and me (and the rest of us) think about these questions in his wonderful essay, “Why I’m Not Too Worried About Learning Loss.” I’ll select six of Spencer’s points here, but you should really read the whole essay:

  • “While the school system continues to value speed and accuracy, our students will often need to work more slowly and think outside the box.”
  • “If the goal is curiosity or creativity and they lose a sense of wonder, I’d argue that’s a bigger learning loss than the failure to factor polynomials.”
  • “Is the curriculum sticky?”
  • “My students aren’t turning in their work, which I can handle. But they also give up so easily. They’re not very resilient.”
  • “When students are self-directed, they are self-starters, meaning they can initiate the learning on their own. They can problem-solve challenges that occur. They can begin the day focused on learning even when a teacher isn’t present. Students who are self-directed are also self-managers. They know how to keep track of learning tasks and manage their time. They develop systems to track their progress on projects and assignments without needing frequent reminders of the deadlines.”
  • “The best way to empower students for the future is by empowering them in the present.”

I’m thinking of all of these as I prepare this summer’s curriculum and syllabus.

Stay tuned. Read Spencer’s essay! And remember that both convergent thinking and divergent thinking are necessary:

Categories: Life, Teaching & Learning