My grand daughter gobbles down her PBN (peanut butter and Nutella) sandwich and runs to be on time for school, well, she slides over to the computer, puts on her earphones and joins her class.
I interview her. She misses her classmates; she says it’s hard to concentrate. What does she like best: soccer practice in the evening, following a video of practicing her dribbling skills, and, she complains, “I’m bored.”
How often have you heard that from your kids?
For the last few weeks parents have been in a unique position; they have been able to both observe the behavior of their children: their mood swings, frustration, anger, the impact of remote learning and “sheltering in place.”
Websites are offering advice on how to assist your kids and yourself in this new world (See NYTimes article here.)
Down the road researchers and journalists will be taking a deep dive into this unparalleled piece of history.
Some of the research is straightforward, comparing data from 2019 and 2021,
- Grades 3-8 standardized test scores
- Grades on Regents Examinations, SAT, ACT
- Number of students who logged in per day
- Availability of online devices
At the end of the day I suspect the data points, those above and others will expose what we already know: you can track student achievement by parent income and education, although schools with similar levels of poverty indices may experience differing levels of success. What did they do differently from similar schools?
At the teacher side of the teaching/learning continuum
- Age of the teacher
- Experience of the teacher
Are younger teachers, who we expect to be more facile with technology more effective? Are experienced teachers better able to connect with students?
When the “all clear” sounds remote learning or whatever we choose to call it will not disappear, schools will begin to embed a continuum of traditional classroom instruction with iterations of remote learning.
Research should not be based solely on data points; parents are participant-observers in the process.
In the field of sociology the term participant-observer means a method in which the observer participates in the daily life of the people under study. Parents are not sociologists or researchers; however, they are participating intimately with the subjects of the students: their children.
While kids are bored parents are frustrated, combining work from home and “participating” in remote learning is overwhelming.
This is really hard.
What’s amazing to me is how consistent this struggle is among every parent I talk to. The texts and social media posts bouncing around my circle all echo each other. We feel like we’re failing at both. Our kids don’t just need us — they need more of us. Our kids are acting out; abandoning the routines they already had, dropping naps, sleeping less, doing less — except for jumping on top of their parents, which is happening much more. We’re letting them watch far greater amounts of screen time than we ever thought we’d tolerate. Forget homeschooling success — most of us are struggling to get our kids to do the basics that would have accounted for a Saturday-morning routine before this pandemic.
Are some parents more effective in merging work and their child’s remote learning?
While it’s only been three or so weeks why haven’t so many parents been able to merge work and school?
What’s working and not working?
Are you able to connect and share with other parents?
Are the remote lessons from your child’ school effective? What suggestions would you make to make the lessons more engaging for your children?
As a parent: what are you learning?
The journalists and researchers shouldn’t base their studies solely on data points; they must include parents, who are fully engaged in the process.
If we are to learn from crises we have to move foreword, not return to the past, and parents must play a role in shaping the future of teaching and learning in school and remotely.