What Are Schools For? Thoughts on Virtual Teaching & Learning*
Linda Belans, EdD.
Focus on fostering the love of life-long learning as the driving force. This seems to be an essential first step since we're in this for the long haul and want to keep students – and teachers – engaged over time.
Coach students to engage in peer teaching and learning, with students as teachers. This helps create a sense of belonging and offers a path to leadership for them. (I have seen my 6-year-old twin grandsons participate in self-directed peer teaching and learning.)
View teaching and learning as an opportunity to nurture students' inner lives, to help them discover and develop what has meaning to them, and to view this and extracurricular work as future careers/professions. (Over a lifetime of coaching leaders across work arenas, I have discovered that what fired them up in childhood, is what fuels their fulfilling paid careers.)
We want to help families focus on fostering the love of life-long learning as the driving force. This seems to be an essential first step since we’re in this for the long haul and want to keep students, families, and teachers engaged over time.
Schools should offer the first week(s) of school to parents/guardians to teach them how to support online learning for their children.
Help parents/guardians know how to set up their child’s learning space, make schedules, talk about the importance of movement and screen breaks.
Teach parents how to coach to their children’s strengths, how to be curious, how to encourage them.
It also seems essential that neuroscientists, teaching and learning researchers, child development scholars and practitioners, equity scholars and practitioners, tech experts, artists, students, and parents should be part of an ongoing forum in the near future.