Contributing Editor: Ina Pannell-SaintSurin, Special Education Teacher and Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher
In graduate school, while studying education, I remember taking a course titled “Critical Issues in Education.” Certainly, education in the United States has historically seen many critical issues—lack of government funding, class sizes too large, No Child Left Behind, inadequate and harmful disciplinary policies, segregation, standardized testing, poverty, safety issues, and the achievement gap, to name a few. Now, in the year 2021, we are experiencing a global pandemic that is impacting education in a critical way and exposes all of the above issues that one simple solution cannot resolve. The global pandemic encompasses and magnifies all of them.
As we face the new challenges of hybrid and distance learning, we must take this opportunity to promote, embrace, and provide social-emotional learning strategies in our instruction. We need to think even more thought-fully about how to create classrooms and schools where children feel safe, valued, validated, and challenged academically, and can experience the joy of learning.
The contributors in this issue offer strategies and opportunities to expand the ways that we think of fostering social-emotional skills in our school communities during the pandemic. Be prepared to have your thinking pushed outside the box and to reimagine the possibilities to lift up our students, families, and each other with these suggestions and strategies. This is how we will meet with success as we deal with the current critical issues in education. And remember to add some grace, too.View digital journal