The last two years have forced us to think differently about educating students. When we created online and blended learning models in response to the pandemic, we could see what was possible on a much larger scale than piloting a new delivery model in a single classroom or grade level. Some flourished while others floundered. We had to break any thinking trap that prevented us from creating a different education model.
It’s easy to fall into thinking traps about ourselves, our work, and other people. It may take a new experience, perspective, or vision to get out of those traps, to change how we see the world around us. However, just like the traditional education model doesn’t work for every student, the change to online or blended learning models doesn’t work for every student either. It’s about providing several options for students and families.
Students, families, and educators are started to demand options because their perspectives have changed from the experiences of the last two years. Some ask why we can’t offer online options for students who want them. Why can’t we provide flexible work schedules for teachers and administrators who wish to offer scheduling options for students? Again, perspectives have changed, which has led to discussions about what significant, systemic changes are possible for education.
I work in a Career Technical Education district, and when the pandemic first hit, we, like all schools, created a schedule to cope with the sudden disruption of forced closer. We scrambled to keep learning relevant. Students were used to spending half their day in their Career Tech Labs. We struggled to transition those types of experiences to an online environment. Quite frankly, it was impossible.
When the 2020-2021 school year started, we were committed to getting our students back on campus. We discussed various scheduling options and the logistics to make them a reality. Our perspective was focused on allowing students to experience relevant hands-on learning in an environment set up for those experiences to happen. We had to get our students back on campus.
After a few weeks, we brought students back on a hybrid schedule where they came for lab only and completed their academics online. It was not ideal, but we made it work, and our students responded well to it. We were intentional about it and took several iterations to find something that worked for the most part.
Often, this takes some intentionality, but it could happen after a little happy accident (Bob Ross!). Watch the video below to see what happens when an ostrich accidentally trips into a new vision, which ultimately creates new possibilities for the entire flock. As you watch it, I encourage you to think about the following questions:
What new opportunities will you create for yourself and others around you with a bit of change in perspective?
What intentional steps can you take this week to broader your perspective to meet the changing needs of students and staff?