As educators all over the United States grapple with the back-to-school models that inevitably include simultaneous preparation for “face-to-face” learning and distance learning, there is an understandable sense of overwhelm. Teachers are faced with preparing for two different (or hybrid) and complicated learning environments. Not knowing which model will finally play out adds a distressing element of uncertainty.
Perhaps, however, shifting our mental model can help. We can reframe the two options --”face-to-face” vs. remote learning-- as variations of distance learning, rather than as two completely different models. Then, we can find commonalities between them and start our planning there. Rather than thinking of back-to-school as either face-to-face or at-a-distance, in actuality, everything is going to be distance learning, even when students are in classrooms and “face-to-face.”
As I’ve been thinking through what fall instruction can look like, it has been helpful to stop thinking of it as two different options, and to frame both options as variations of the same theme. Both are distance learning, with one six feet apart and the other miles apart. So I can plan for instruction that helps me with both at once. Here are some examples:
There aren’t easy answers to the complexities of back-to-school 2020, and the overwhelm we are all feeling is warranted. For me, however, as I think about how to support the teachers with whom I work, things became a bit unstuck when I stopped thinking about the home learning and school learning options as separate. It is all distance learning, friends, so perhaps we can begin planning accordingly.
7/19/2020 08:31:43 am
This is actually very sensible and comforting- thank you!
7/20/2020 09:18:07 am
Thank you, Erika. :)
7/22/2020 12:16:22 pm
Another great set of ideas. SO HELPFUL. I share these with my faculty. Such great advice! Thank you!
7/22/2020 01:02:16 pm
I am so glad you found it helpful, Joanne!
7/25/2020 12:50:56 pm
If we are going to make videos for in class "long distance" why not put this time and effort into creating enough to support full time out of class instruction. I'd like to see teachers return to the classroom but teach vitually by video, zoom, google classroom, or any other platform so students can remain at home.
7/28/2020 12:11:46 pm
You have put my thoughts into words and I thank you for that. I love the pool noodle idea as well.
7/29/2020 01:13:15 pm
Positioning f2f and online learning as both "distance learning" or "remote learning" during this pandemic makes a lot of sense to me and lowers my anxiety about returning to school. Great ideas here to think about. Thank you!
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Dr. Jan Burkins is a full-time writer, consultant, and professional development provider.