In a matter of just two weeks, the educational norms and structures we have always known have shifted dramatically. With millions impacted by school closures related to COVID-19, classroom teachers around the nation are approaching the students they love, and the standards on which they focus their instruction, in new ways.
Those who know our addalingua program models know how hard our partner school teachers work to ensure that all students experience a high-quality Spanish-speaking immersion environment every day at school. So, what happens when schools close? In times like these, parents might find themselves asking:
- I love immersion for my child, but how can I help her now? I don’t know Spanish.
- What if the teacher assigns something to my child online and he struggles?
- Should I go out and buy English versions of all books, workbooks and assignments?
To answer these questions, we’ll simply say: BREATHE.
As the school closures began to roll in, we encouraged our partners to form their plans with two actions in mind: communicate and support. Schools and districts have different philosophies, practices, and guidelines about the quantity of work to be done at home during these trying times. But, no matter those differences, the need to communicate with and support one other is critical.
Teachers should still be in communication with parents, and vice versa! To keep things as “normal” as possible, we encourage teachers to still update their classroom websites or newsletters so information can easily be found.
- newsletter notifications should include:
- expectations for engagement (with a touch of calm and patience — everyone is navigating something new)
- learning goals for the week (overarching themes and ideas)
- assignments (with expectations and general descriptions that parents can understand – no need for a full translation)
- list of options for “what to do” if your child doesn’t understand something or needs additional support
- expectations for when and how to submit evidence
By keeping all information housed in one spot and by date, everyone works together to continue the learning! The bonus? When the lines of communication are open, it’s far less likely that anyone will feel the urge to find full-on translations. In fact, when program guidelines have been faithfully implemented and sufficient support and access to the teacher are provided, addalingua program students demonstrate that they’re fully capable and confident in getting their questions answered in Spanish!
The teacher is still the teacher, and the parent is still the parent. We’re all in this together! When new concepts are introduced online, it’s important that students can rewatch it. To ensure that all students learn the lesson’s content, it’ll be important for teachers to be able to touch base with their students periodically.
Setting up office hours online for open windows is a great way to go! It allows students to stay in Spanish as they ask questions, gain answers, and stay connected! Having a Zoom link “open” where the teacher is present for a set window of time allows students (or parents!) to come and go as they please. An example of this might look like:
- Monday – mini-lessons are sent via video for the week with a schedule for the week/accompanying links (and when to view them)
- Wednesday open office hours – 11am-1pm
- Thursday open office hours – 6-8pm
Remember, we’ll get through this. Together. Juntos.
As our partner schools continue to adapt the way they teach and support students online, we will continue to compile important questions and publish blog posts with answers. Stay tuned for more to come! If you have any pressing questions or concerns, we would love to help you in any way we can — in two languages! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.