5 Reflections for Educators in a Post-Pandemic World
Updated: May 24, 2022
“How will we teach in a post-pandemic Canada?” asked VoicEd Radio to educators.
Michelle Dittmer, a former high school biology teacher and now Gap Year expert, took intentional time to really think about the how. And in this episode, she’s sharing her insight and framework which answers “what? So what? And now what?”
Here’s her big five takeaways she’s sharing with educators across the country:
Surprises and uncertainty: During unprecedented times, navigating the online world is difficult and we are constantly battling new challenges. This ultimately leads to heightened stress, disorganization and the need for effective communication skills.
Different learners = different modalities of stress: The online space has worked in favour of some, while making things increasingly difficult for others. Moreover, it exposes students to different learning opportunities allowing them to step out of their comfort zone and enhance their unique skills.
Collaboration always wins: Collaboration has always been vital between families and teachers, however, with virtual learning, there is an increased need for collaboration. Hearing the different perspectives from each group has allowed us to pivot our offerings.
Emerging adults are vulnerable: The transition from adolescence to adulthood is incredibly challenging. With a pandemic thrown into the mix, there are so many more obstacles that students have to overcome. Moreover, it is key to remember that adolescence does not equal “mini-adult''. Adolescence is its own formative and development stage that as educators need to support them through.
Old habits are hard to break: In our post-pandemic world, we have the opportunity for innovation rather than making the “new normal” like the “old normal”. This is the perfect time for everyone to take steps to better themselves.
With these 5 takeaways in mind, Michelle describes her DREAM Class of the Future!
Rooted in experiential learning!
Focus on skill and competency over knowledge and embracing the whole child and their relationships
Focus on the individual’s ability to maintain personal wellbeing, help them leverage their state of curiosity and use their gifts and talents to better their future
A future class like this would be incredible, however Michelle recognizes that accomplishing this is difficult through a regular school board because teachers are bound to policies and procedure.
That’s why Michelle continues to create this accessible atmosphere for gap year students (also known as Gappers!).
Wishes for Educators
When designing a new program, experience, test, textbook, curriculum, physical school or whatever your role is, ask yourself the following questions:
How does this inspire students to come up with creative solutions?
How will this coach students to remain curious?
How does this encourage reflection and connect new content to personal values and current ways of knowing? How does it push new ways of thinking?
How will this incorporate a 360 degree and 3D sphere of students' existence including their relationships, their identity and their environment?
Framing our teaching with these types of questions, we will move forward with the education system. This will give them the space to be innovators and problem solvers while encouraging them to apply their talents and interests to better the world around them.