Teaching Tuesday: How Does The Learning Surplus Impact Future Learning Formats?

By Tracy Vasquez, Emily Farkas, Dusty Sanchez and Marjaneh Gilpatrick, faculty

male teacher in front of chalkboard teaching students

In considering the learning opportunities that took place over the last year, the learning surplus can be associated with the growth mindset as an asset-based approach. Let us take a closer look at the applications of some of the new learning formats that we have been introduced to. Transformative teaching, has changed the way teaching and learning occurs. By empowering students, educators and families, we can create better learning opportunities for students.

Empowering Students

Thoughtful implementation of technology tools can support students’ autonomy and engagement. For example, as the teacher, you can record short video modules to clarify content or provide step-by-step instructional tutorials. This format allows you to scaffold instruction in unique ways for individuals and groups of students. In addition, it can support social and emotional needs of your students. It can serve as a safe space for students to engage in regular reflection on their learning progress.

Incorporating more breaks in the school schedule and allowing time for one-on-one meetings between you and student will help students feel valued and important. In those meetings, encourage your student to share not only academic needs and goals, but also to share what is going on with their social and emotional needs. This caring approach can satisfy the needs of some struggling students who are seeking attention, respect and support.

Empowering Educators

As an educator using this new format, you have opportunities to get to know your students in innovative ways. A personal approach can calm student anxieties and give educators more avenues of reaching students via virtual access. Educators are encouraged to think differently in ensuring each student is learning, utilizing innovative technology and participating in cooperative projects and presentations. This allows you to gather data to compare with other educators, both within your school and within other schools across the country.

This fosters teacher-to-teacher networks and collaboration. There are many apps and technologies available that provide by-the-minute data, allowing educators to make adjustments to their instruction immediately. Through technology we can increase the reach of our individual teacher impacts and improve educational outcomes for all students.

Empowering Families and Communities

As families and guardians are an important partner in students’ education, we can use advances in technology and innovations to increase the ways families can engage in their student’s academics. Informed families help teachers broaden students’ minds to consider global perspectives and to apply learned content to students’ daily lives and environments.

We can support innovations such as project-based learning, home extensions and community members integration into the classroom. Be mindful to provide equitable learning opportunities for all of your students with varying access to technology and internet outside of the classroom. For students and families who do not have access to technology, consider allowing for students to check out materials, sending home weekly materials or creating a check-out process utilizing a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Our 21st century learners have experienced an unprecedented approach to learning via virtual or hybrid environments. Just as we use the growth mindset to consider students’ opportunities over the last year as learning surplus, we can also look at the new learning formats as an opportunity to provide enhance quality teaching and student comprehension.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. To learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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