Starting Over in Schools?

I recently came across an opinion piece in the New York Times by Dr. Jal Mehta, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  In this piece he discusses how schooling might look different (or should look different) when the need for virtual learning goes away and we return to face-to-face learning.  Dr. Mehta specializes in helping schools transition from rote learning to getting students to a deeper level of engagement with their learning and he believes that, “It’s looking as though all schools should be able to open fully in the fall. The pandemic — and the pause in institutionalized schooling — has helped us to see what should change when that happens.”   

Dr. Mehta’s piece is part of a series called Let’s Start Over from the New York Times, which takes a look at what the “new normal” may look like in various sectors and aspects of society.  

I’m going to keep it brief today because I think Dr. Mehta’s piece is much more worthy of reading than anything I could write!  While I don’t agree fully with all of his ideas, there are certainly some very thought provoking points to consider.  I’ll include a few of the highlights (he goes deeper into each of these points) but strongly encourage you to have a look at the whole thing…and then I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on any or all of his ideas!!

“The first lesson that the pandemic has revealed is the limits of one-size-fits-all schooling…When we reopen schools, could we do so in a way that creates different kinds of opportunities for all kinds of students — introverts and extroverts, fast processors and reflective thinkers?”

“A second lesson is the necessity of making schools more human.”

“A third critical issue is that we cannot set the needs of students against the needs of adults.”

“Fourth, there is the question of how to catch students up on what they missed during the pandemic.”

“There has been considerable attention to the health crisis, and some to the economic crisis. But there hasn’t been a serious commitment to the corresponding educational crisis. We need to rebuild and reimagine schools. We now have a chance to do both.”

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