What Lesson Did Teachers Learn in 2020? Be Prepared for Anything

The year 2020 presented a number of challenging issues for teachers, administrators and students, including the transition to remote and hybrid learning, the inequities in education exposed by the pandemic and tumultuous political and societal shifts. However, these disruptions also provided important opportunities for educators to learn and grow both professionally and personally.

What Are Educators Learning About Adapting to Disruptive Environments?

Preparation and creativity are key when successfully adapting to changing environments.

While educational technology initiatives have long been widespread, very few systems or users were adequately prepared to go fully remote. Educators, students and parents raced to adapt to the virtual environment. The digital divide revealed inequities in access to digital devices and reliable internet.

While the educational community showed grit and creativity, continuity still suffered. This collective experience highlighted the need for more educational technology resources, proactive professional development and community-wide technology education.

How Else Can Educators Prepare for Hybrid Educational Environments?

District administrators, curriculum and instruction leaders, and teachers must approach technology integration holistically to preserve educational continuity in remote and hybrid learning environments. This involves integrating technologies that can bridge in-person and remote learning.

Other obstacles like the digital divide and food insecurities brought on by school closures must also be addressed head on. Educators in every position are learning they need to be more proactive in preparation by establishing training, community programs, curriculum redesign and contingency plans to meet any crisis or disruption.

How Can We Better Prepare Students for Today’s Challenges?

The modern student needs 21st century skills to be successful in work and life beyond school. Traditional subjects are still important. But less quantifiable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, cultural literacy, communication and digital literacy are also top of mind when educators plan for instruction.

The goal of administrators, curriculum and instructional leaders and teachers is to imbue modern education with content, instructional methods and experiences to foster these attributes in students. Many new initiatives focus on integrating social-emotional development, differentiated instructional methods, cultural competency, civics education and critical thinking into curricula and teaching practices.

Collaborative practices and the inclusion of multicultural content promote the development of cultural literacy and social responsibility. These skill sets will prepare students to navigate and overcome the divisiveness and social justice challenges facing society.

Consideration of the above issues is important when rethinking the fundamentals of curriculum and instruction design and implementation. As these skills are more qualitative in nature, educators are discovering new approaches to instruction that are more holistic in nature, promoting student progress.

Mississippi College (MC) offers an online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) that addresses many of the challenges educators face. By gaining knowledge and experience based on theory and hands-on application, degree candidates can learn how to make education equitable and impactful for students.

Learn more about Mississippi College’s online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction program.


Sources:

Education Week: 6 Classroom Changes Teachers Will Make When Schools Reopen

Harvard Graduate School of Education: What Will We Be Reading This Year?

McKinsey: Back to School: A Framework for Remote and Hybrid Learning Amid COVID-19

The New York Times: What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in 2020 America

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