Professor discusses unconventional learning settings in response to COVID-19
While universities across the globe prepare for online or face-to-face learning during COVID-19, Stephanie Jones, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s department of educational theory and practice, says there is a lack of thought in the all-or-nothing approach to teaching.
Jones, who specializes in literacy, social class and poverty and their effects on education and social justice education, has long been interested in unconventional learning settings. Coffee shops, barber shops and other locations are all within her vision for community-based schooling. She says the downside of online learning is that many young people are not given the equal educational experience that face-to-face provides.
“The choices of “fully online” and “fully in-person” lack any possibility for nuance, for being responsive to local needs, and for taking seriously the importance of stable and relatively predictable learning environments that teachers and students need to feel safe and be productive,” Jones said.
In her essay, published in the Washington Post, Jones advocates for community-embedded learning under four conditions:
- Small circles of educators and young people
- Meeting in community-embedded places
- With open and relevant curriculum that supports social and emotional well-being and draws upon the integration of life, the arts, and all the traditional content areas
- Ongoing negotiations of consent about everyone's comfort level regarding the viral spread and their own personal safety