Trauma Learning in the Pandemic

First, hats off to teachers, but especially parents during this time of "virtual learning". Second, you're wondering why the quotes and the truth is this is actually trauma learning. The new normal of learning specifically for children is unrealistic AF! The expectations for both children and parents are also unrealistic. Children, no matter the age need stability and predictability. When things are unpredictable it creates uncertainty and lack of safety. The lack of flexibility to meet deadlines, perform at baseline, act accordingly as if schools were functioning as normal are all reasons why this is trauma learning.

There are many reasons virtual learning is or will become a systemic issue:

1. While many states and schools have suspended standardized testing, test measures should be re-standardized to account for the learning curves and challenges that will likely be seen in response to virtual learning. If not, we can expect a significant increase of clinical issues and difficulties with adjustment due to the shift in learning method. We already know standardized testing is biased toward Black and Brown children to begin with.

2. Virtual learning significantly impacts the household. Not all parents/caregivers have flexible work schedules to provide the level of attention needed to assist children in navigating virtual learning.

3. Not all families have the resources to effectively participate in virtual learning including appropriate electronic devices, an environment that promotes learning, caregivers with appropriate levels of education to assist their children (this has always been an issue btw), etc. Believe it or not, not all schools are providing laptops either. Oh, and most libraries haven't reopened.

4. In the event children are having poor experiences with virtual learning, it is understandable if kids develop negative beliefs about school and/or their capabilities.

5. How ironic that school districts that report lacking resources have suddenly been able to identify resources when forced to engage in virtual learning. When school's decide learning is a priority is when the agenda and sense of urgency shifts.

5. Research discusses the negative impact of children viewing content for prolonged periods of time on electronic devices. Now children are forced to sit in front of an electronic device of some sort to have their educational needs met. Make it make sense.

6. Tax dollars are being used for...?

Who will likely be responsible to address these issues? You guessed correctly. Parents and caregivers.

While this is not an exhaustive list and barely touches the surface there are blessings in disguise. We are able to see the strength and resiliency that we possess. These are barriers and challenges that have been longstanding, but are coming to the forefront. I find peace in the overt transparency that is being displayed from this chaos that will allow people to voice concerns and direct energy to the appropriate places and people. Though frustrating at times, virtual learning creates opportunities to closely assess children's needs in the learning environment and observe the child-teacher relationship/interaction.

Hang in there! Do what is needed to take care of yourselves and the children. No one's opinions matter outside of our household about the decision to homeschool, send children to school, or virtually learn. Save the energy explaining and answering to folks! Be flexible and think outside of the box. The end goal is to ensure the children's educational needs are met. That's it. That's all. Nothing more or less despite benchmarks that should be met from the system perspective. Let's not reinforce the trauma that's already occurring.

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