As I continue to teach in person after the pandemic, I realize more and more the unexpected gaps in student learning due to interruptions in school during COVID. As teachers, it is prudent to always have this in the back of our minds – that what we may assume students know something that they do not know e.g., I assume they know that library books are borrowed and come back … Here are some shortfalls in knowledge that I have encountered in the past couple of years.
Procedural: How to line up (even what a line is and that you walk behind the person in front of you), how to run in between lines on a track, how to get a new lock for their locker
Social/Emotional: How to talk with teachers and friends, how to resolve conflict, how to deal with boredom, how to deal with anger
Academic: Basic literacy and numeracy skills, the names of instruments, whole units of knowledge missing from history, health and science
The list goes on and on. The point is that things we expect our students to know, they do not know. When we are having difficulty with our students, it is a good idea to just go back and ask them questions e.g., Did you know if we run out of tissue, you can ask me for more, you don’t have to take used ones out of the garbage? It may be that we are expecting them to be able to do something they have never been taught. They cannot pick which instrument they would like to play if they do not know the names of the instruments. They cannot run in the lines if they do not know what the lines are for. They do not know what they do not know. It is our job to find it out.