The COVID-19 pandemic has caused quite the disruption in educational practices across the world, keeping students out of classrooms for the better part of a year and leaving students, faculty, and staff unsure when they’d return. Thankfully, schools have recently seen some normalcy, with students finally returning to in-person classes. But now school administration must deal with the consequences of the pandemic on students’ education.
Learning loss has become an issue that many students have had to face with their return to class. From understanding essential concepts to developing organizational habits and skills, many students have fallen behind. According to McKinsey & Company, the pandemic has left K-12 students “on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year.”
The Biden administration distributed $122 billion in relief aid which aims to help schools bounce back from the closures and stay open during the pandemic. As many classrooms return to normal practices, schools find themselves deciding how to use the COVID relief aid given to them. Through services compiled from Burbio, FutureEd examined the plans of 2,500 school districts to determine common spending goals.
FutureEd discovered that, in the Northeast and the South, “summer learning was a top priority” while better ventilation systems are the top in the West. According to the pandemic relief act, 20 percent of the funds must be spent on addressing learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. The question that most schools are now asking is what are the best ways to address this learning loss?
Many schools are choosing to focus on after school instruction, instructional materials, and tutoring options. However, addressing students’ social and emotional needs should be the main focus since those needs directly impact student success. In a time where students are struggling academically, encouraging social emotional learning is essential.
Within the classroom, teachers should concentrate on creating an environment that allows students to learn at their own pace and encourages them to make positive academic choices. Implementing tools that will make organization and learning easier for your students should take priority. The easiest ways to obtain this organization is using student planners, implementing social emotional learning (SEL) programs, and keeping a sustainable pace.
Planners keep your students on track with what they are learning. When your students write down their tasks, they are more likely to remember what was learned and retain that information for their work at home. When buying student planners, look for one that is not only easy for your students to use but also encourages positive changes and important habits that will help students even when they’re outside of the classroom. At School Datebooks, we have a planner that does exactly that. Check out our Foundations planner for primary, elementary, middle and high school!
SEL programs are another important way to get your students organized in the classroom and ready to address academic work. Before focusing on academics, first focus on your students’ social-emotional health. Your students have just returned from a year of uncertainties and concentrating on their academics will be difficult. According to National University, “… the skills learned within an SEL program have been shown to help students better cope with emotional stress, solve problems, and avoid peer pressure to engage in harmful activities.” Developing relationships with your students and encouraging them to do the same with their classmates will make them feel more at ease when addressing any learning anxieties.
Don’t rush your students
Maintaining a sustainable pace is crucial for your students. Don’t rush them. Whether they’re aware or not, they are most likely months behind where they would be had the pandemic not occurred. Take the time to assess where your students are academically and teach at each student’s pace. This will keep your students from feeling overwhelmed and will aid in developing your relationship with them. Utilize their planners to keep track of what’s been taught in class and what they’re going to be working on in the future.