Surprising educational discoveries during the pandemic
And, logically, also in the necessary rethinking of education, where appropriate. Surprising educational discoveries during the pandemic.
In these weeks of global confinement due to COVID-19, there has been an accelerated reflection on the meaning of life in almost all areas of human endeavor. And, logically, also in the necessary rethinking of education, where appropriate. Surprising educational discoveries during the pandemic.
If it is affirmed, with good reason, that the virus changed everything, how is it not going to change the school? How is it going to remain unresponsive to the new situations facing humanity?
The experience of families
Families have had the opportunity to learn more and better what their children learn in the educational system or, more precisely, what that system tries to teach them. On some occasions they have valued it positively, but on others they do not understand why their child has to receive certain knowledge that he does not understand, that he will forget immediately and that, moreover, is not functional or will be of almost no use to him. Throughout his life.
The teaching staff and skills
On the other hand, teachers have also realized what is important and what really has to take a back seat. Why? Because for the last quarter of the course you have had to select the learning that is essential to be able to continue the next course without major problems.
And, in effect, you have â€œcut outâ€ a lot of knowledge that you will be able to acquire later if, in truth, you have acquired the necessary skills to do so.
The subjects least valued by the system
On the other hand, we have discovered that the least valued materials in the system have become the most important to survive during the days of confinement.
In other words, music, plastic arts, dramatization, sports-physical education, cooking, literature, cinema or theater are contributing positively to the personal development of children and adults, to the achievement of new learning and skills up to now institutionally neglected and cooperation as the basis of family coexistence.
The diversity of talents is widely valued and, therefore, it is confirmed in daily practice that the educational model is not based only on mathematics and language, but on many other facets of life that are theoretically in the curriculum, but that are not taken care of properly.
Teachers and professors are discovering skills in their students that are hitherto unknown and, therefore, not valued because they are not formally reflected in the official curriculum. The interventions made by boys and girls by videoconference to demonstrate the completion of the tasks commissioned leave parents and teachers in general astonished by the ease, interest, commitment, and seriousness with which they do them.
Oral communication skills, artistic expression, visual appreciation, digital mastery, basic for today's life, are now evident, although the system has not considered them essential to get the necessary approvals and move on. As they are not evaluated in written exams, nobody has cared until now that they are mastered or not, that the person is enriched with their contributions.
What change should be made?
Consequently, given the educational discoveries that we are making, it seems essential to rethink what education we want for the generations that are currently in training processes, so that the competences, objectives and content are appropriate for today's world, in view of the uncertainties enlarged that are presented to us in the future.
All this implies new work strategies in the classroom (cooperative, motivating methodologies, focused on current challenges and problems) and, of course, diversified evaluation models.
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Everything that our students do right now at home, can it be evaluated with a written exam? Families, education administrators and teachers must assume that this is not the appropriate format to assess the many interesting learning that takes place in the stages of compulsory schooling.
Proposals for the future
Some proposals to continue moving towards a more reasonable system could be:
- Balance the development of the set of areas / subjects of the curricular design so that they are appreciated in the fair value that corresponds to them for their importance for life.
- Incorporate new learning, discovered as fundamental, to institutional education.
- Prioritize the curricular approach by competences, over which it gives preference to knowledge that, in many cases, is forgotten and only memorized to expose in exams.
- Foster creativity, critical thinking, autonomy, the capacity for discernment, the spirit of effort and the attitude of lifelong learning.
- Promote the treatment of emotional competence, personality balance, affective and caring development, socialization, as essential content in an uncertain society.
- Develop resilient schools that promote self-improvement and personal growth in critical situations.
- Establish methodological strategies consistent with the tasks that, at present, are required to work in society.
- Apply the continuous and formative assessment model in a generalized way, which, although it is legally implemented, continues to not be a reality in educational centers.
- Train teachers in media literacy and in all the aforementioned approaches, to assume the functions required by today's education and society.
- Encourage the collaboration of the family with the centers, in view of the excellent role it is playing in times of crisis.
It might seem difficult to launch this profound innovation in education, but we must be optimistic about the unfolding of the same that is taking place at this time, without prior notice or preparation of the agents involved in it. Some (the teachers) with accelerated updating sessions and others (the families) assuming their role as the first educators of their children, and even supporting the work of teachers as effective collaborators in teaching.
Adaptation to the new reality
We are in times of change, we have important contributions from psych pedagogy, neurosciences, science and many other valid approaches to face a more sustainable future and more in line with reality.
We must take advantage of circumstances, even adverse ones, such as the current situation, to improve citizens' preparation for the future of society, each day more uncertain and unknown.