It's An Opportunity - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1718654

It’s An Opportunity

Until scientifically approved COVID-19 practices are mandated by our leaders, or a miracle cure presents itself, we can achieve our kids’ educational goals without risking jeopardy. Let’s go back to the old days, with a little technical assistance.

Let’s name our plan “Let’s Pretend,” the title of a CBS kids’ radio series that ran for 20 years.

“Let’s Pretend” that we are a low-tech community instead of a high-tech one.

“Let’s Pretend” our kids can read workbooks at home and can actually write in them with a pencil or pen. The workbooks would reflect what teachers would be teaching in actual classrooms. Assume that families who could afford it, would purchase the workbooks, and those who could not would receive them for free.

Assume teachers would prepare written assignments that would be emailed to the kids so they could do them at the kitchen table or their desks. Even better, the teachers could prepare the term’s assignments and provide them with the workbooks.

Then add a single high-tech step: The kids could use their smartphones to photograph completed assignments, send them to the teacher, and await the teacher’s grading, comments and response to the submitted work.

If a kid is having trouble answering a question or understanding a new concept, he or she could ask the teacher for help, direction, mentoring — and the teacher could respond individually to the kid by telephone, if necessary.

The teacher could assume that if one kid is having difficulty with a particular subject area, others might be experiencing similar difficulty. The teacher could prepare the response to the student in such a way that it could be disseminated to all those in the same class. It’s also possible that the teacher could anticipate which areas might be difficult to comprehend and provide notes along with the assignments.

This is an old-fashioned learning opportunity. We can have direct communication with the teacher via telephone, email, text, photos. The teacher can do his or her job. The kids can do theirs. Learning goes on!

We would need a system to induce students to participate — timely, and with a degree of enthusiasm. Perhaps kids who achieve a certain grade level each day would receive points, which can be redeemed for prizes (a day free from work assignments, or access to games, books, puzzles, etc.). For those who fall behind, teachers or other students could mentor the lagging student and require verbal communication on a daily basis until the student gets up to speed.

“Adapt, adjust and revise,” suggests Alan Alda. “It’s the secret of life.”

We can do it.

Ruth Lerner

Sag Harbor


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