Different Classrooms, Different Challenges

It is imperative to comprehend the differences in subject matters when allowing for a better understanding of pandemic education. Whether students are learning remotely or in some sort of hybrid learning environment it is crucial to consider how the content of what they are learning impacts the way in which they comprehend. Today I will be discussing the various impacts that different subjects in school have on our new form of learning. 

STEM courses are much more content-driven, and it is necessary to make it through specific units to obtain the desired set of knowledge. Guidelines must be set in order to achieve the standards the school or state has put in place. The goals are based on information and acquiring the information is vital to success in the coming years within the subject. Math and science courses need to learn equations and sets of knowledge that allow for them to gain what they need from the course. Last spring was particularly difficult for many of these courses in the abrupt change to remote learning for most of the population. Even now it may become more difficult to make it through the quantity of information that the course may have in the past.

Courses that are not as content-driven allow for the ability to adapt to different circumstances, like remote learning. English teachers can remove a book or story and still achieve the skills that are needed within the course. It is not always the actual literature that they are benefitting from, but the thought process and concepts behind them, therefore they can still hope to acquire the same skills with less content. While that aspect of it makes for a smoother transition, there is a lack of ability to have the discussions needed in this type of course over Zoom, especially for younger kids. Whereas the STEM courses have the opposite issue in that they are forced to stay on track, yet they don’t necessarily need the group discussions that a less content-driven course may need.

There is also the additional aspect of the pandemic intertwining with subjects and the decision on whether to implement aspects of the pandemic into the curriculum. Some teachers I spoke to said it naturally came up within their courses, but they didn’t make any intentional changes to the prior curriculum. Many teachers that I have interacted with, expressed that they do not have any desire to intentionally add it into the curriculum because of how much space it is already taking up in students’ reality. The pandemic never truly escapes anyone’s mind and creating a lesson around only exacerbates the issue. However, allowing it to be incorporated organically can be extremely beneficial to students and their comprehension. Utilizing this global challenge in allowing for a greater comprehension of the subject matter can create a long-lasting sense of knowledge. This can be true in science courses, obviously, but also in other courses such as English or social studies. In allowing for these current events to seep into their classrooms naturally teachers can successfully convey the necessary skills. 

While each type, of course, has its challenges in order to understand remote learning it is important to acknowledge the shortcomings as well as the benefits of teaching a specific subject amidst a pandemic. Remote learning and teaching is not a “one size fits all” type of job. Each subject has its own set of obstacles, but their differences can also allow for a set of unexpected strengths. This is not to say that one subject is easier to teach during a pandemic, only that in exploring the different challenges within each course we can understand education during the pandemic as a whole.  

Thank you for taking the time to read and please leave any thoughts below!

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