Looking Back: 2020 Reflections
Educators are always learning and adapting. It is what we do. It is what we believe in - personal growth. We meet students where they are, scaffold, encourage, re-teach, and extend learning. We believe that every individual has the potential to learn new things. Ironically, that is exactly what this year was -- for us -- the educators! With our profession turned inside out, we became the learners! Here are two key take-aways I observed in 2020 in regards to our own adult learning.
First of all, learning looks (and feels) different for everyone. In October we had a chance to offer a keynote for the Fall CUE Conference. In a matter of minutes, we collected hundreds of responses from educators around the globe and captured the various learning that had taken place. I was in awe at the creativity and growth captured. Take a look at this Padlet to see what fun and meaningful ways that educators have reimagined teaching and learning. From webtools to reinvented spaces to new recipes, it was apparent that we take care of ourselves, our families, and our communities.
I love to especially analyze HOW we have learned these things -- was it from YouTube videos, colleagues, trial and error, or from a student? This study of adult learning is an important reminder that we must consider what learning looks like for students as well. We are not the only teacher in ‘the room.’ This article by Understood.org points out the distinction between learning and schooling. Learning doesn’t have to happen ‘in school.’ One final thought on adult learning observed in 2020 that I am eager to explore further in the new year is the idea that learning styles will always vary. I found myself often listening to a podcast while doing dishes, or actively participating in some video chats, while reading the comments of others at times. I noticed myself rewatching webinars, taking notes on a Doc, and sometimes even texting friends during an online class to process together. Also, I was reminded of how messy learning can be. I love the variable ways learning can look.
Another takeaway is that community is essential. Although we may not be face to face with students, families, and colleagues there are still ways to build community. It was abundantly clear this past year that we need each other more than ever. Here are some of the ways I witnessed community happening:
- Live chat discussions (and even heckling!)
- Unmuting to share stories
- After party for the sessions
- Online Book Clubs
- Genuinely wanting to share best practices -- the collective thinking!
- Our Facebook Community has been supportive with tech logistics and creative practices.
We still get ideas from one another, and that has revolutionized education in 2020. I want to extend a deep appreciation to some influential educators that inspired me this past year. Give these dynamic people a follow:
- Amanda Sandoval - She is always sharing creative ways to inspire collaboration with older students
- Nyree Clark - This educator will put a smile on your face always! She has reached so many with her speaking circuit in 2020, and I hope she continues to put her voice out there!
- Susan Stewart - She always models that spirit of sharing + maintains rigor for young learners
- Knikole Taylor - One of the most productive educators I know, Knikole is moving teachers to reflect on the cultural relevance of their lessons.
- Nadine Gilkison - I love how she is following her passion to bring awareness and concrete strategies for students with dyslexia
- Jenna Hewitt King and Nadia Razi Mosh - These two dynamic educators are constantly advocating for ALL students and rights for ALL humans. Their advocacy is inspiring in their classrooms, at their school sites, and in the greater community.
- Darren Hudgins - Advocating for more media literacy in schools to help students and educators process themselves and the world around them.
I’m curious, in what ways have you experienced a sense of community during pandemic schooling? Who is someone new you have met or followed? What did you learn from them? Comment below.
Written by Sarah Landis