As I sat with a couple of learners this morning during extra help sessions, I realized once again how valuable small group and one-to-one time is for effective learning. Classroom teachers with traditional schedules rarely have this kind of time, and that's a problem when it comes to effective teaching and learning.
What can schools do?
Program, Staffing, and Task Assessment
First of all schools need to assess what people are doing and how effective that work is. I believe that some events, while glitzy and great for public relations, don't translate into effective learning while other events that are much less showy are actually very powerful learning events. I think this may be true for staffing too--some job tasks may result in amazing learning while other tasks may result in little true learning growth and development. Analysis of this situation has to be accurate. Often analyses used to determine impact of programming is often not accurate--there are many reasons for this.
Re-Look at Scheduling
I provide a few targeted extra study sessions each week. Those sessions result in amazing help because I am able to deeply attend to each student's questioning and see exactly where they need help. I don't think we make enough time for this kind of deep diagnoses and help in school. This is one reason why students who fall at the higher economic income level often do better than students with less family income. Families with more money generally can support greater one-to-one support for their children's academics.
Assess Tech Supports
When it comes to tech supports, there are incredible programs out there, and when those programs are used well, students profit from using them as the "intelligent assistants" that they are.
Good Decision Making Relies on Direct Work with Students
There are too many people out there making decisions for educators that rarely to never work with students or come near classrooms. Often the advice and direction of these people is ineffective and out of touch. This has to change.
We can do better in schools, and attention to apt staffing, scheduling, and work with students will make a significant difference.