Most of all, we are considering how to keep community.
Here are a few questions to consider.
- How do we do this if all assignments are asynchronous?
- How long do we hold classes if we do synchronous meetings? Is it appropriate to maintain classes for the same length of time? Some of us have smaller graduate classes where we might imagine trying to do this.
- How can we continue to promote reading while social distancing?
- Is it now time to teach our students about OVERDRIVE and LIBBY so they can access books if libraries close?
- Do we acknowledge and deal with internet deserts?
- Can students in YA classes do more projects and self-selected reading around certain topics?
- Is it a time to reinvent book clubs in virtual spaces?
- Can we catch up with our reading by reading books from award lists that we missed in the past?
- What about starting a book club with your children--those at home or those who have moved away?
This morning I read a short piece by Antero Garcia. I have known for awhile that he is smart than I am. He gave voice to some of the concerns I have with more clarity. You should check it out. Perhaps, instead of just canceling school, we should cancel instruction, tests, and the short sighted perceived goals.
My university has spring break from March 16 through the 22nd. We are to be prepared for online instruction of some kind on the 23rd. (Some flexibility to forego Monday and Tuesday classes). I emailed my faculty senator, my deans, and our college faculty chair. I suggested that they are implying that we work and forget our spring break. I asked if there had been any consideration for having students take two weeks while faculty take one week to care for ourselves and our families during this time social unrest. Then, let us have a week to prepare our course work. No, that hadn't been considered that they indicated. Essentially, they agree, but implied that we soldier on, that we do our best, that we think about our students.
Well, I think my suggestion does that. In fact, as educators we should stand up for correct pedagogy and for stepping back instead of rushing forward.
My labor union instincts what to rise up. Those who manage teachers always want us to do what they deem to be correct even when we might think otherwise. Let's remind ourselves how much testing schools have slipped into and how we use it to measure the quality of schools instead of considering "real" growth of students. For example. students might be behind at the beginning of the school year by several grade levels in reading. Then the teacher makes several levels of progress, but doesn't quite reach grade level. Has the teacher been successful? Of course, but by the results of the tests, the school and the teacher will still indicate a failure and receive an inadequate rating. Thus while the student, the teacher, and the school have experienced success the report will indicated that they have not.
Are we in danger of trying to maintain a false educational experience to keep things normal, especially when they clearly are not?
I offer the following ten past posts from contributors to Dr. Bickmore's YA Wednesday. Perhaps, they will help answer some of the questions I have posed and perhaps others that you have been asking as well.
Ten Post to Reconsider
Expanding Options as We Teach and Advise from a Distance
Reading Word and World… with Diverse YA Literature
Beyond How We Were Taught: Using "Book Love" to teach YA Literature Methods
Between the Bookends: YA and Critical Collaboration
Discovering (Rediscovering) Karen Hesse’s Witness and Its Multi-genre Potential
Before the Dust Settles!
Lisa Scherff Explains the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
Current Young Adult British Literature: Student Choice and Engagements
The Sometimes-Forgotten Genres in Literature Written for Adolescents and Young Adults: Short Stories, Essays, and Poetry
30+ MG/YA Verse Novels for National Poetry Month: Engaging Reluctant Readers, Enriching Enthusiastic Readers, and Appreciating Story, Form, & Language by Lesley Roessing
Learning History through Story by Lesley Roessing
Until next time.