The New Learner

Students have changed. We cannot teach the same lessons we did before the pandemic and expect to have the same outcomes. Here are 5 ways in which learners have changed and how to teach them.

  1. Learners are more adept at technology. In fact, their Google Slides presentations are waaaaayyyy better than mine! I could hire some of them to help me! When giving options for final projects for a unit, include at least one that uses technology.
  2. Learners have shorter attention spans. (Teachers too!) Give instruction in short bursts and then give a short activity. Come back and give more instruction in a short burst and another short activity. Key word – short.
  3. Learners are often behind academically. When doing a review of what students should have learned last year at the beginning of a unit, go back 3 years and review that material as well. Start teaching when you get to the place where most of your students have difficulty. You may teach a grade 7 math unit, then the grade 8 unit. The point is to help student learn, not to get through the curriculum. The curriculum is a guide – you are the teacher.
  4. Learners are often behind socially. Their hand eye co-ordination is amazing, and they forget how to walk in line. We often need to spend much more time on conflict resolution or how to make a friend than we have before. Make sure to leave time in the schedule for it.
  5. Learners are (even more) addicted to their phones. Ok, so am I (full disclosure). We need to be sure to have a school policy or a department policy on phones in the classroom and then follow that policy. It is hard work and it is worth it.


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