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Summer 2020

Illustration by Annie Wang

Illustration by Annie Wang

How the Ed School is Supporting the Field

With schools shuttered across the country and in many parts of the world, the unprecedented and fast-changing needs of educators and families are motivating Ed School faculty and students to share resources for bringing learning home. Including: 

Education Now, a new initiative that includes resources for educators, leaders, and families; a webinar series to share insight and guidance on navigating today’s complex landscape; and thought leadership from Harvard faculty about the crisis and opportunity in education.

The school and Associate Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Ed.D.’09, launched a daily children’s book series called Books of Belonging, where Dryden-Peterson reads aloud books that give educators and families a way to help children process feelings and worries that may be relevant today — feelings of belonging, disruption, health, missing friends, and home. The Books of Belonging series is posting daily on Facebook and YouTube.

HGSE faculty have been sharing their perspectives on the crisis: For example, Jal Mehta wrote about deeper learning at home for Education Week; Paul Reville wrote about the need for a whole-child paradigm shift in The 74; and Karen Mapp, Ed.M.’93, Ed.D.’99, began offering a webinar series with Scholastic to help schools partner with parents at this uncertain time.

Lecturer Laura Schifter, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D.’14, shifted much of the remainder of her federal policy class for students to consider the policy response to COVID-19 and come up with proposals to be considered in the wake of the crisis. She also pulled in three students to help her produce a piece for the Century Foundation on the ramifications for special education.

In Associate Professor Karen Brennan’s class, as students were exploring how narratives and creative production can motivate learning, the group’s four student-facilitators designed an instructional activity that was particularly resonant. Students broke into small groups to examine topics related to our current situation, such as managing media consumption, staying physically fit, and fostering mental wellbeing. Each small group developed a visualization to creatively capture advice related to their topic — including the graphic shown here, which was created by Annie Wang, a graduate student in the class who also attends MIT.