In remote or hybrid learning environments where direct, in-person supports aren’t an option, what can teachers do to continue to support students with special needs — and how can that information be widely shared so that other teachers benefit?
According to Khalya Hopkins, an administrator with the New York City Department of Education, and HGSE lecturer Rhonda Bondie, there are plenty of teachers finding good solutions, but leaders and researchers must find ways to encourage them to document their best practices at this time to inform how we teach in the future.
“We need to find out what is going on, and make successful practices more visible in the field,” says Bondie. “We have to recognize that some people are doing really well, and this can help us untangle and represent the complexities of the problem so we can see it and start to adjust.”
Based on feedback they’ve heard so far from teachers in the field, Hopkins and Bondie suggest some immediate instructional responses classroom teachers can implement in remote and hybrid classrooms to create pandemic-safe learning environments that serve all learners.
Design authentic learning assessments that accurately monitor comprehension.
Remote or hybrid learning does present constraints to traditional instruction. Yet it also presents teachers with alternative possibilities to traditional methods that may, in fact, be more accessible and accurate. For example, while assessing and identifying students with special needs is currently best done in-person, a remote or hybrid setting may make it easier to authentically gauge learning.