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Letter: Pandemic requires rethinking education

I fully agree with Weston Auburn of Flossmoor, whose recent letter presented a realistic and responsible risk assessment of a hasty return to in-person learning. In his letter, Mr. Auburn admirably implores the District 161 School Board “…to start seriously thinking about how they can improve the children’s remote learning.”

Is this not the time to scrap the standardized test obsession, table the textbooks [that were not designed for the remote setting] and empower teachers to employ their own creative ways, as professional educators who have been rigorously toiling in the remote classroom milieu, to focus on and reinforce basics skills?

Might not such a pragmatic approach better equip students and teachers to make up for lost time and forge ahead when in-person learning properly and safely resumes?

Why can’t each teacher be assigned an aide who can pull a handful ofstudents from the [20+ student] classrooms throughout the remote learning day and into ‘breakout rooms’ for focused, small-group sessions?

Who knows their classroom and their individual students’ strengths and weaknesses better than the teachers – and can offer the best and most constructive perspective on what is workable and what is not?

Rather than continuing to force the pre-pandemic grade school classroom structure into the remote setting and  thinking in terms of the resumption in-person learning while we are in the midst of a still-raging pandemic, can’t the administration and school board employ or at least encourage new strategies to better the remote learning experience?

Does the administration and school board recognize that ‘the way we’ve always done things’ is unrealistic and that adaptable, flexible strategies are necessary – even more than before now?

As physicist Brian Greene has said, “The boldness in asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers.”

Franco Minasian


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