We’re all struggling right now. School closures have reminded us of how important community, mentors, learning, play, and relationships are to our health and personal growth.
When Governor Newsom announced (1) that schools would begin fully-distanced, he also underscored, “Learning is non-negotiable.” The plan, as introduced in the press release, “centers on rigorous instruction for students even when schools are physically closed.”
This seems unrealistic considering the parameters set forth in district plans across our community. One of the defining points in the traditional education framework is control. Students are funneled through learning with tools like rewards, punishments, grades, discipline, and standardization. Distance Learning, online, does not support the constant supervision of being inside a classroom with goals. In this model, parents, at-home, are tasked with “re-creating” the classroom environment and this is impossible to standardize and implement.
Student experiences with distance learning are all along the continuum. Some students have reported success! (2) This should be signal to educators and parents – one size does not fit all and it is time to move on from that model. At TKG, we consider our environment “learner centered” (3) because it frames our environment to be academic yet flexible. Learning is expected and, as in real life, we hold space for students to plan, adjust, reflect, and play. Students should be practicing how to own their learning, solve problems in a group, and trust their instincts as part of their academic learning. We believe that this type of environment supports social justice learning and the hands-on experience to solve problems and learn to work with people who may have different opinions or perspectives than our own.
The research, in support of less standardization and a more responsive classroom has been pouring in since – forever. You can look to Sudbury Valley School (1968), or Sir Ken Robinson’s mindblowing RSA Animate (2010), Edutopia’s endless case studies, or the hundreds of articles and books that support TKG’s tenets. During this biggest disruption to education in modern history, we have an opportunity to stop trying to fit the old peg in the non-existent hole and create ways to meet the needs of learners, families, and communities from a more collaborative lens.
TKG is exploring how to serve local school-districts by opening pod and enrichment programming. If you are interested in sponsoring and collaborating, please contact us.