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Educators Are Concerned About COVID Slide: What Is It And What You Can Do
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  • Summer is usually the time to relax, unwind and enjoy. With the COVID-19 pandemic, family escapades or vacations will be different from previous years. We also had such an unusual year of learning, parents, teachers, and even some students are a bit anxious about how things will be when school starts up again.

    For many years, we’ve heard about what teachers call “summer slide.” The assumption is when students go on their two-month break, some lessons, especially in subjects like Math and Reading, are forgotten. When classes resume, it takes a while for the students to retrieve all “lost” lessons.

    In a 2019 article written by Youki Tedara for Edutopia called “New Research Cast Doubt on the Summer Slide,” Tedara explained it was a 1980 study and common sense that supported the idea of summer slide.

    However, a 2019 study by von Hippel pointed out that the 1980 results may have been distorted. Tedara asserts, “While summer learning can help close individual gaps...taking a break does not amplify achievement gaps across student populations more generally.”

    So does that mean we can relax now?

    What is the COVID slide?

    Hold on. Today, parents and educators are shifting their concern to what has been coined as the “COVID slide.” It suggests that a gap in learning has occurred because of school closures, extended breaks, and even modified lessons due to the challenges of online learning.

    Rowie Mattie, the founder of the Galileo Enrichment programs, asserts, “Students faced various forms of challenges to an online setting.”

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    Mattie identifies three major adjustments students continue to make with online learning.

    • How to cope with synchronous (learning happens in real-time) and asynchronous (self-guided learning) environments
    • How to thrive in an online group setting
    • How to maximize the time spent per subject in school, especially in Math and English

    It’s undeniable that teachers had to modify their curriculum for online classes to provide a healthy balance between student’s abilities to receive and understand lessons through screens or modules while staying motivated and engaged.

    How to address learning loss due to COVID

    We have to consider that there could be a learning gap between what students are learning online versus what they would have learned in a regular classroom.

    Some parents who feel their kids need a bit more help in learning are turning to creative solutions. They are letting their kids use their free time to join classes that may not be labeled Math, Reading, or academic, but they actually help enhance skills in these subjects.

    What are these classes? Coding workshops, book clubs, writing seminars, art classes. Other parents use this time to make their kids break from screens and instead learn from real-life experiences.

    Parents teach kids about the value of money by making them do chores for their summer allowance or help plan budgets weekly. Kids learn about measurements from baking or cooking. They read books and watch films and then have family discussions to compare and contrast.

    The takeaway for parents is even though there may be such a thing as the COVID slide, there are various solutions available that fit different family lifestyles so children can successfully close any learning gap.

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    Barbara Server-Veloso is known as Teacher Thumby in her preschool, Toddlers Unlimited, and Ms. Thumby in her grade school, Thinkers Unlimited, Alabang. She is also a partner in Spark Discovery Center in Jupiter Street, Makati, where she teaches the Baby and Me Class. Teacher Thumby has a Master’s degree from the University of the Philippines in Family Life and Child Development. She has been teaching since 1993. She is also the mother of Lucas and Verena.

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