ACE It Together

Insights from ACE Students, Alumni and Faculty

Why Education Can’t and Shouldn’t Go Back to “Normal”

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Grandma's precious teacup with blue flowers and a gold rim is fractured. Fortunately, she has glue to repair the cup.

Education today is like the teacup – it’s fractured. In 2021, education was transformed in ways never seen before. Teachers who were not prepared to teach with technology were abruptly thrust into a virtual classroom. Students with little or no technology at home suddenly had to learn online and collaborate with tools foreign to them.

Does our education system have the glue to repair its cracks? Can we re-educate our teachers to teach modern competencies like digital literacy? Do state standards and testing need to be addressed in new ways?

I don't want to return to the "normal" classroom with one teacher and 25-30 students. Education must be redesigned to move with the 21st century. Teachers must weave the technology they are given with the content they teach.

Students also need to adapt to researching and producing rather than consuming information. The role of the 2021 teacher needs to be that of facilitator.

The pre-COVID system was based on decades-old practices. Common elements like the academic calendar, testing procedures, textbooks and technology were decided by small groups who may or may not have possessed the knowledge necessary to make those choices. Parents were seldom consulted, as they saw these decisions as outside their expertise.

Once the pandemic hit, parents were forced to get involved in educational decisions. Many had to learn along with their children. Others had to purchase technology they lacked knowledge about or find ways to bring the internet home. Assumptions about where, when and how students learn have changed.

As the COVID crisis wanes, there will be pressures in two directions: One to put the old arrangements back into place just as they were before the pandemic hit, and the other to keep the adaptations that have evolved over the past year.

I don't want to return to the "normal" of pre-pandemic. I want to hear the voices of parents, teachers and students. I want technology to be a teaching tool, both in the classroom and at home. I want to see education repaired just like the fractured teacup, ready to meet the needs of the students of today.

As technology becomes an increasingly important part of education, American College of Education's fully online programs will help ensure you have the skills to fully support your students. Explore our education programs.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.

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