Appreciating Teachers for Teacher’s Appreciation Week
If there is ever a year that teachers need to be appreciated, it’s this one. If you are a parent that temporarily became a teacher in remote learning, then you deserve appreciation too.
It is often said that it takes a village to educate a child. At my daughters’ elementary school, there are several educators who help ensure my girls stay on-task and learning while feeling safe and supported at school. We wrote thank-you notes and sent gifts to not only their core teachers but also to the specialists and paraprofessionals who support them in their classes.
From navigating new mask and cleaning protocols to quickly upscaling skills to provide learning remotely, teachers around the globe have risen to the challenge of educating in a pandemic.
ABC News has provided a list of 100+ discounts for Teacher’s Appreciation Week and the National PTA has linked sample cards and certificates that can be downloaded and given to a teacher. Good Morning America also has a list of teacher freebies this week.
Take the time to appreciate a teacher and the other professionals who are making school work.
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Education News and Research
North Carolina Passes “Science of Reading” Law
North Carolina recently signed a law mandating that schools use a phonics-based instruction approach to reading. The Excellent Public Schools Act requires teachers to be trained in the “science of reading” and was passed with bipartisan support. Twenty states require, or are considering requiring, measures that mandate a science of reading approach, which is inclusive of teacher training and related teacher PD.
Laws do not always affect classroom practice, and it is difficult for policymakers to truly sway instruction. However, states that are implementing mandated “science of reading” training are at least working to maintain an expectation of how reading instruction is taught based on years of research. Robert Pondiscio reports “policymakers can build and sustain the conditions necessary, most particularly patience, for sound early reading practice to put down deeper roots and become the default setting in public education.”
Secretary Cardona Comments on the Digital Divide
In an interview with A Starting Point, Secretary Miguel Cardona states “We need to close that digital divide across the country once and for all. It’s a finite problem to have, and that’s something that we need to make sure we’re focusing on as we reopen [schools].” One of the most enduring aspects of pandemic education has been the increased focus and awareness of the digital divide in the U.S. Many students do not have access to devices or internet connectivity to participate in remote or hybrid learning. Cardona notes that we must get devices into student’s hands as a device is no longer something students can live without while learning.
The U.S. Spends Billions on Education Technology; So What’s Working?
The University of Virginia’s EdTech Evidence Exchange report notes that the U.S. currently spends between $26 billion and 41 billion per year on education technology. This is an astronomical sum to spend on technology without any clear idea of what is and isn’t working in student learning. The push to utilize technology in teaching is evident in most school districts; however, tools are being developed and used without a clear direction. Even more interesting is that there is no direct evidence as to the amount of money being spent on ed-tech PD. In short, we are using technology by we aren’t sure if and how it’s working to improve outcomes.
In other news:
- A research study in Minnesota found that later school start times correlated with a small boost in grades and a large boost in sleep. Read more at The Hechinger Report
- Teachers are reaching a breaking point in the pandemic with NPR reporting “a need to be nurtured.” Teachers are finding it difficult to engage in self-care and are seeking outlets to mitigate the stress on their mental health.
- Value teachers to mitigate learning loss. Studies have long shown that teacher quality directly influences student outcomes. Torrey Trust and Robert Maloy report “most schools and districts did not focus on creating better support structures, improving working conditions and increasing professional growth opportunities to motivate teachers to stay.”
Professional Learning and Inspiration
Finding the Positives Whilst Teaching During the Pandemic
NPR continues its comic series showcasing different teachers navigating the pandemic with their students. In Episode 5, second-grade teacher, Shameem Patel, seeks to radiate love and positivity by connecting with her students.
How to Design an Inclusive Course to Support Diversity
The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton provides tips to help teachers and professors plan courses to support inclusive teaching strategies. In order to create courses that address the multiperspective of students, it is crucial to start in the planning phase by incorporating diversity in the syllabus. In addition, incorporate a variety of activities that allow students to demonstrate learning through multimodal avenues instead of relying on the traditional type-a paper-and-turn-it-in. Ensure that a feedback loop is implemented so courses can continue to be improved and utilize student-centered teaching practices.
6 Technologies Moving Teaching Forward
Rhea Kelly reports for Campus Technology that there are six key technologies propelling education forward, as reported in the 2021 Horizon Report. Artificial intelligence, open educational resources, learning analytics, hybrid course models, online learning, and microcredentialing are all discussed in Kelly’s article. One of the newer entries to the field of ed-tech is microcredentialing described as “programs of study that “verify, validate, and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved.” Other technologies such as hybrid models will also take the forefront due to the pandemic and the dramatic shifts in remote learning that have taken place as a result.
Professional Learning Resources
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About the Editor
Jennifer Osborne is an experienced educator with graduate degrees in Educational Leadership and Guidance and Counseling. She has taught in five countries across a wide variety of classrooms and schools. Jennifer is passionate about authentic education for students and personalized professional learning for teachers.
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