IOWA Magazine | 09-11-2020

Post-Pandemic World: Education

Educators can tailor the classroom experience to meet the needs of individual learners and help bridge the gap for marginalized students.

Educators Will Re-Imagine the Classroom Experience

BY NANCY LANGGUTH (96PhD) Clinical Professor, College of Education

IN EDUCATION, SO MUCH HAS CHANGED in such a short period of time that I think there will be a focus on reviewing and refining those changes to see if they have merit post-pandemic. Examples would include adaptations in academic calendars and delivery of instruction, as well as greater accommodations made for the teaching and learning preferences of students and staff. The pandemic has provided education the need and opportunity to not just focus on returning to the status quo, but to rethink and re-envision our modus operandi. The sudden shift has required that we focus on meeting students where they are and building upon that for all learners. I am convinced we will come through this with new insights on what is possible and with pragmatic evidence of what it will take to get us there.

Let's Bridge the Gap for Marginalized Students

BY AIN GROOMS Assistant Professor, College of Education

WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE DISPARITIES that exist, not only in public schools, but also in society—the ways in which people of color and people in low-income neighborhoods have also been marginalized and disenfranchised in housing, transportation, health care, policing, environmental justice, and employment. Schools are not isolated from what is happening in the communities around them.

It became a perfect storm when schools closed, and we had to figure out how to support students who rely on school lunches, those without Wi-Fi or computers, or those who might feel safer in school than at home. This pandemic is bringing new attention to systemic problems that have existed for decades, so now the question is how we make sure children get the resources they need to be successful, especially once we pivot to virtual learning.

School has looked the same—whether right or wrong—for decades. This is an opportunity to bridge that gap between research, policy, and practice to perhaps change the way schools operate. I'd like to see more conversations, not only about teaching and learning in a virtual landscape, but about how to better support the children, schools, and communities that continue to be marginalized.

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More on Our Post-Pandemic World:

In this video from the Obermann Center's Pandemic Insights series, Ain Grooms discusses how the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted disparities in K-12 education.

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