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student outcomes don't change until adult behaviors change


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Everything Has Changed... Except This


Below, I posit nine different instructional models that school systems might choose to pursue while their school buildings are temporarily closed.



Enrichment

learner expected to lead their own learning using educator provided tools/materials
Homeschool

parent expected to lead their student's learning using educator provided tools/materials
School

educator expected to lead their students' learning using educator provided tools/materials
Offline

less than 25% of instruction occurs in real time between learner and educator
Option 1
Option 4
Option 7
Blended

26-74% of instruction occurs in real time between learner and educator
Option 2
Option 5
Option 8
Online

more than 75% of instruction occurs in real time between learner and educator
Option 3
Option 6
Option 9

Pop Quiz:
  • Which of these nine options describe the most ideal instructional model your school system wants to pursue while buildings are closed?
  • Which of these nine instructional models most describes where your school system is today?
  • If your answers to the above are different, what are the most significant barriers between the two that need to be overcome?

As I've visited with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members nationwide over the past month, I hear a nation's worth of people working hard and working collaboratively to confront the daily realities imposed by a global pandemic. In that regard, almost everything that we know to be normal about school systems has operationally changed. But in those same conversations, what I have yet to hear is anyone make a strong argument for why our aspirations for our students should be any lower today than they were two months ago. While everything circumstantially has changed, our collective desire to see improvements in student outcomes has not. Our collective expectations for what our students should know and be able to do at the culmination of their PreK-12 experience remain unaltered.

I take from these conversations two things (shared in reverse order).

Second, the next big challenge for school systems will be about how best to prepare for and make appropriate modifications for the return to in-school instruction. There will likely need to be significant changes made and planning for that should be ongoing right now. There are opportunities for innovation here; the future need not look like the past.

But first and more immediately, school leaders need to confront that how they address instruction today largely determines the circumstances their return to in-school instruction will face. And that if your ideal or realized instructional model today is anything other than blended schooling (option 8) or online schooling (option 9), you are likely setting your students up to fail because they will lose relational time with their teaches and will have already fallen so far behind in their studies.

Unfortunately, most of what I'm seeing right now looks more like offline enrichment/homeschooling (options 1 and 4).

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