The school year runs for approximately ten months and at the end of that time teachers are charged with the responsibility to provide a mark or some form of final grade. However, the learning (or , the for some the learning loss) continues after the teacher-student relationship has ended for that school year. What are the impacts for educators in this scenario?
First, students will return after each break at different places on the learning continuum. Some will have returned from environments where their learning is enhanced and enriched by additional experiences. Others will return having lost the gains they achieved with you and may be further behind in their peer group than previously. There are numerous articles that speak to summer learning loss (http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/8057/) that impacts our neediest learners.
Second, learning is not static. Opportunities to learn exist all around our students, and the extensions they make from the information we share in our instruction, varies from student to student.
Third, we are not the only contributors to the knowledge gained by our students. This is even more pronounced with all of the advances on the technology front. A generation ago teachers held the knowledge and shared out a new packet daily. That was life B.G. – before google. Today, access to knowledge is ubiquitous.
Fourth, the end of the year (or course) can’t be simply viewed as an all or nothing result. What about the gains made by the student during the time they were with you? Where do we reflect those gains made despite the standard not being achieved?
The active learning our students engage in occurs both in and out of a place called school. How we acknowledge, recognize, and validate this learning is part of the challenge. The Chinese proverb that resonates with me as I wrestle with recognizing the learning that occurs beyond my ten month window with students is this: