During these challenging times teachers are going above and beyond to learn new skills to reach their students. Watch CEA members from around Connecticut describe teachers’ role during this health emergency.
Teachers are taking on the challenge of educating during a pandemic and are innovating to keep their students learning, CEA President Jeff Leake told WTIC Radio during a recent interview.
“I’ve been a teacher for over forty years in Connecticut, and clearly nothing has ever been in front of me like what’s in front of our teachers right now,” Leake said. “They are rising to the challenge and really stepping up.”
He continued, “I am so admiring of the effort, the intensity, that teachers are putting into this—trying to make sure that, though we can’t replicate the classroom environment, we’re out there trying to make sure that kids are still learning.”
Addressing Governor Lamont’s executive order requiring school districts to continue to pay school staff during the pandemic, Leake said, “Our teachers recognize that schools are education communities. It’s not just about the teachers or the paraprofessionals, it’s about everyone who contributes to the learning of our students.”
Listen to the full interview.
Stratford physics teacher Kristen Record after a morning video conference with her AP students.
As learning has moved online in many districts, especially among secondary students, there has been a learning curve for both students and teachers. Video conferencing tools can enhance student-teacher interactions, but only if proper steps are taken to manage security issues and make sure students know how to use the platform appropriately.
Stratford teacher Kristen Record, a physics teacher at Bunnell High School, says she has found video conferencing to be a great teaching tool, given the circumstances, at the high school level. “I get to see my kids’ expressions and have real-time interactions and discussions. It’s also really important for students’ emotional well-being to have time with their class community.”
Video conferencing has been so successful for the 2011 Connecticut Teacher of the Year partly because, before launching into her first online lesson, she made a point to teach students both how to use the platform and the proper etiquette for video conferencing. Read more
In a press conference this afternoon Governor Ned Lamont announced that the earliest Connecticut schools will be allowed to re-open is April 20.
To support students who are out of school for an extended time, the governor said that the state is working to get laptops and internet access for more children.
The Partnership for Connecticut has pledged as many as 60,000 laptops to high school students in Alliance Districts, saying the laptops will be prioritized for students in the most need. The Partnership will work with the state Department of Education and school districts to get the computers in students’ hands as soon as possible. Laptops will belong to districts, which will retain ownership once students return to school.
The governor also said that the state is working with internet service providers to expand WiFi access to families who do not currently have internet access.
It’s not news to teachers, but a new study is reinforcing what educators already know: Digital learning is not the panacea some have claimed it to be. A report from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) has found that digital learning is neither necessarily cheaper nor more effective than more traditional methods of instruction.
Schools are experimenting with many different digital learning initiatives, yet for many programs, there’s little research to indicate whether or not they work. The NEPC study found that the programs most likely to benefit students are blended instruction programs — ones that complement traditional classroom teaching with online components. However, doing blended learning well is more expensive than traditional education.
The report’s author, Noel Enyedy, associate professor of education and information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, said, “It may be that we need to turn to new ways of conceptualizing the role of technology in the classroom — conceptualizations that do not assume the computer will provide direct instruction to students, but instead will serve to create new opportunities for both learning and teaching.”
Read more from NPR.