What did we learn about education this year?

Implementing new models of education for a year 2021, still uncertain, is the dilemma facing schools and teachers today. To do this, and strategically, some schools have chosen to return to classes this 2020, even if only for a couple of weeks, with the aim of testing teaching models that could be used to face next year.

In this dynamic, and looking for possible solutions, some establishments have decided to install cameras in the classrooms so that students who are at home can access the same class as their classmates in the classroom. Doing a general analysis, this could help. However, it is important to consider other factors and impacts as well.

We believe that under this approach, greater anxiety and stress could be generated, both in teachers and students. For teachers, it is like that in a television program, the conduction and direction is done by the same person, and who must also be managing the rating. Everything in parallel. The great value of the teacher goes beyond the transmission of content. What about the human factor, the motivation and emotional connection that are needed to learn the pedagogy and the strategy behind a content?

In the case of students who are at home it is equally complex, most likely they would prefer to be there in the classroom, but instead they are watching passively, on a screen, while some of their classmates share a common space that used to belong to everyone.
To this we can add another difficulty. We know that people have different ways of learning: while some learn by listening, others do it by reading or practicing. What about those who need to interact and practice to learn? The education of the future must be able to embrace this diversity and not continue to perpetuate a pedagogical model that is based on the transmission and reception of information and on standardized content that does not give space to creativity and active learning.

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One of the main mistakes of online education this year was to confuse distance education with live classes, where one of the most characteristic postcards is that of the teacher with dozens of screens with cameras turned off and microphones muted. It is unrealistic to expect in 2021 to continue making similar mistakes. You cannot keep a student, who cannot attend face-to-face classes, now 4 or 5 hours connected daily in front of a computer watching a class in the classroom through the screen.

So what do we propose? Move to a semi-face-to-face education, with teachers prepared to face new challenges, using active learning models and student-centered, asynchronous and personalized teaching-learning processes.

Along these lines, the flipped classroom is shown as one of the alternatives, since it is a model that can be implemented without the need for large technological tools. Under this format – born in the United States in 2007 – the teacher prepares what is known as a pre-class, generating video, audio or reading formats that are then delivered to students to work at home and explain in this way – in a simple way and precise – the contents. In this way, the meeting in the classroom -or video call, depending on the context- will cease to be a one-way expository story from a teacher to a group of students, to become a space for collaboration, discussion, deepening and to resolve doubts, where group work, feedback and formative evaluation gain strength.

The pandemic forever changed the way of educating. If we are able to accept that the traditional system we used to know must begin to change, we will be able to move faster and better to a hybrid or distance year 2021 that invites students to be the protagonists of their own educational process.

  • The content in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of The counter.

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