Education Principles & Practices in a Pandemic

The COV-19 pandemic which brought in-person teaching and learning to a halt in most states set up improbable, if not near-impossible challenges, for educators, particularly front-line teachers. The impact is yet to be realized. A loss of student learning in reading and math is one critical affect while the other is socialization. Daily engagement of teacher-student and student-student are essential in human development and learning.

With the beginning of a new school year and whatever approach a school takes, what considerations do those who manage and lead education need to address to bring about a positive and effective SY2021 and beyond? The health and welfare of students and staff is a given.

  1. Schools open with a commitment to implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) practices to bring everyone together and establish a caring and supportive environment
  2. Use one-to-one engagement and observation to determine individual student performance status (i.e., Zone of Proximal Development) and social/emotional needs
  3. Employ project-based learning with full-class participation to foster early, meaningful learning experiences
  4. Invite students to maintain a journal with research showing that journaling can serve as a protective factor against anxiety and depression
  5. Have grade/subject curriculum prepared in a format (i.e., digitized or on paper) that may be shared with parents who may desire to contribute to their child(ren)’s learning
  6. Implement formative assessment practices on the heels of instruction that run the gamut from quizzes to unit assessments with heightened student engagement
  7. Engage in creative ways to involve parents and families in the educative process

NYS testing in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math have value for administrators and teachers in those grades to acquire a measure of student performance for the current grade and preparation for the next. These tests are standards-based and untimed with the potential of providing teachers with timely data for analysis and action. However, NYS testing results in reading and math must be presented and used in a manner that is not hurtful and damaging to students and staff in this period of the pandemic or otherwise. NYS testing results need to subscribe to the following:

  • State testing results for reading and math in grade 3 through 8 are used strictly for teacher diagnosis of their students’ learning, as well as self-reflection.
  • Schools inform parents of their child(ren)’s learning status and what it means based on the results.
  • Testing should take place later in the school year: mid-May into early June.
  • Student testing will be computer-based (CBT) where practical with clear proctoring guidelines prepared by the SED in advance.
  • Reporting of student testing results are provided to schools prior to the end of the year for teacher review and sharing.
  • American education is currently in a condition not ever seen before. It will require sensitivity and understanding in supporting educators to deal appropriately with the challenges set before them.

Dr. Bruce H. Crowder is a senior researcher for Educational Vistas, Inc. His work is primarily focused on creating pathways for deeper learning for all students through student performance and a dynamic curriculum replete with strategic teaching. Dr. Crowder may be reached at