How do we help students succeed during distance learning?
I am fortunate to be a community member in one of Daniel Bauer's masterminds. Most of Danny's masterminds serve school leaders, but our particular group is a collective of educators who are also doing business in the field of education. We call ourselves "edupreneurs." We meet as professional development for one another, by one another. It works. On our weekly meetup last week one of our members, TJ Vari, my favorite no-nonsense assistant superintendent, author, and consultant, said something that resonated with me. We were discussing the need to support parents as they facilitate their child's education while doing school from home. He said, "We want our kids to be successful but we don't teach them how to be successful."
TJ was referring to the fact that most students make their way through their K12 journey with little instruction on how to be successful at school and beyond. Furthermore, the skills and habits that are the hallmarks of effective learners are the same that we employ later in life to be successful in the workplace. Yet they often get overlooked in the classroom. These executive functions, or noncognitive skills, are even more important for students to practice while doing school at home! If they are often overlooked in the classroom, it's a tall order to put it on parents to incorporate them into their at-home school day.
It has always perplexed me how schools seem to focus more on "content" (aka the curriculum, content standards, assessments, etc.) but seem to pay little attention to the modeling of the skills and habits students must employ to be successful at it. Paradoxically, when students get daily practice using and honing these skills, they are far more likely to succeed at the content. I think we know clearly, in this case, which is the chicken and which is the egg.
It has been proven that these skills and habits help students succeed. The parents we are hearing from at Organized Binder are asking for resources that will empower them to successfully facilitate their child's learning at home. Anxieties are running high as families try to sort how they are going to work from home and facilitate their child's schooling.
Organized Binder can truly help quell these anxieties. Our program equips parents with a resource to structure the school day at home while giving students practice with the skills and habits that are the hallmarks of successful learners. Put plainly, we give parents the resources and routines that the most effective classrooms employ on a daily basis.
As TJ said, if we want students to be successful in the classroom, we have to teach them how to be successful. If you want your child to be successful while doing school at home, you have to teach them to be successful. If we want parents to be successful facilitating their child's education at home, we need to provide them with the tools to do so. Remember that old saying, "you can give a man a fish or you can..."
Educators, tell the families you serve about Organized Binder! Parents, give yourself the assuredness of a daily structure that will help you facilitate schooling at home, and, as a byproduct, you will help your child develop the skills and habits needed to be successful in school and beyond.