The unexpectedness of a global pandemic has caused severe losses to all facets of human life—be it businesses, industries, personal lives, economies, or education. Now, two years into it, the next step is planning to recover from all the losses post-pandemic.
Students, for instance, have been suffering an insurmountable amount of learning loss in the face of the pandemic. It is vital that educators and students strategize to cope with these losses. It is impossible to bring the past two years back; however, we can work on coping with all the education and other learning losses that remain after the pandemic is behind us.
Learning loss in pandemic: An overview
As much as the online learning scenario has improved since the beginning of the pandemic, nothing can substitute the actual thing. Whilst online classes has its own pros and cons, it is impossible to compensate through the computer screens, the loss of experience and learning that the students are facing.
It is, however, essential to note, that all sections of students are facing learning loss due to the pandemic. But those who got into the pandemic with previous disadvantages have especially lost their educational footing in such times. For recovering from these losses, an immediate sanction for progressive remedies is a must.
Determining students based on their learning loss
Students of every grade have faced varying amounts of learning losses in these two years of the pandemic. What is important, however, is to determine these losses and classify them on the basis of that. Special groups are dedicated to acknowledging different learning problems of students. For younger grades, the observations point towards basic deficits in Mathematics and Language reading. Such students require extra assistance for them to recoup themselves for being at par in the senior classes.
While a group of students might’ve been taught the same curriculum, not everyone would’ve taken to it the same way. Given the online nature of the classes, these students could be given a reforming chance to do better. If, given that, their loss happened due to change in the medium of teaching.
It is important to note that staunchly isolating them from their peers or holding such students back for a grade might have adverse long-term effects. Sensitivity in dealing with them must be the primary concern. Hence, a system of diluting the current curriculum, for everyone who might’ve been held back to catch up with the rest, can be a good step.
Identifying the type of Learning loss: Social, Emotional and Academic
School is undoubtedly the precipice of a person’s life. The schooling years, from age 3 to 17, are what shape and define the essence of a person. Therefore, school undoubtedly is not responsible only for the academic development of students. It also gives out major contributions in shaping a child socially and emotionally.
The pandemic has posed a learning loss in all these facets contributing towards the overall development of a student. Students learn a sense of society, interacting with their peers, and developing alongside emotionally through schools. Therefore, educators and policymakers need to acknowledge these deficits in the emotional and social learning of students.
Learning loss in a pandemic has multiple facets to it and needs addressing accordingly. Students need to make up for much of the two years, and a systematic method of rebuilding their lost time is the priority. A vast variety of institutes and other organizations have tried to take it upon themselves to come up with guides and toolkits for educational institutes and schools to recover from the learning loss in pandemics.
One such extremely thorough guide is Cleveland Metro Schools’ Toolkit to Overcome Learning Loss. It discusses the various social, emotional, and academic facets of a student’s education. It outlines strategies to address ways of coping with all these issues with the aid of teachers.
Listening to students’ opinions
It is important to realize that ultimately, students are what matters. Their opinions, problems, and difficulties need to be addressed; only then will we be able to find the most useful method of dealing with the learning loss in the wake of the pandemic. Every student might’ve faced a challenge unique to them. While it is difficult to address all these problems on the educator’s side, it helps a lot to know about them.
It is clear that the pandemic has become the cause of irreversible changes in the system and prevailing methods of education. Now, with the onslaught of new and innovative ways to deal with the post-pandemic period, it is only progressive to get students more involved. The age-old pattern of teachers being the initiators and students being the consumers can be finally changed.
It is high time that the millennial and Gen-Z generation is taken into consideration. The current generation is maturing too soon, with their early exposure to the world through the internet and ultra-fast-paced lifestyle. Perhaps it is a sign that their system of receiving education also needs to catch up with this speed, and soon. Lest its relevance will soon be lost amongst them.
It’s 2021, and the pandemic is certainly not over yet. But, we can safely assume that we are at a place right now, where we can coexist with the pandemic. Education, as a pillar of shaping society, is certainly at the forefront of our concerns.
Educators and policymakers have certainly acknowledged the unpredictable nature of the world. That being said, it also is high time to modify the existing methods of teaching. Recouping the learning loss left amidst the pandemic is not that difficult. That is if a systematic approach is put to use.
There is no single standard for all educational institutions, countries, or people. Determining who needs what strategy to overcome the loss of the past two years is amidst the burning concerns of today’s revolutionaries. Online classes will soon be past us, schools will open up, and physical classes will begin. Then will the actual reality check happen, for teachers, students and educators altogether.