What Research and Experience Tell Us About Extended Learning


I can proudly say that I have been in education for more than thirty years.  I was a classroom teacher for considerably of that time, but also spent quite a few years as a private tutor in my neighborhood.  At very first, the massive draw for acquiring my services was simply because I was a bilingual educator.  In my neighborhood college district, there had been huge Spanish immersion and dual language applications.  Many parents felt inadequate to assistance their children’s education as they did not speak Spanish so they would ask me to invest an hour or two a week assisting with homework.  These possibilities then led to summers working with young children to preserve their Spanish abilities although they had been out of college.  Word of my services spread, and I was quickly working with Kindergarteners by way of sixth graders who had been struggling with math, reading and other academic troubles in Spanish or English.  Fast forward to more current occasions, and I was bombarded with calls to assistance young children who had been not thriving due to virtual studying scenarios.  Parents wanted me to come to their properties and provide in-particular person instruction simply because on-line studying was not working for their kid.

What I didn’t consider about was that these experiences had been a kind of extended or expanded studying, a present hot subject in the planet of education.  As issues rise concerning unfinished studying, studying loss, achievement gaps, studying gaps, or what ever term you select from the list, elevated focus has been placed on how to get students back on track.  Extended or expanded studying time refers to “any educational program or strategy intended to increase the amount of time students are learning” and can come in quite a few types in addition to tutoring:  lengthening the college year, week, or day growing instructional time for the duration of a college day, college break, or ahead of- and right after-college applications and on-line studying alternatives.  As I believed about this, I realized more than my vast profession I have been involved in quite a few of these scenarios.

For quite a few years, I was a summer season college instructor.  In a lot of states, summer season college is presented for the most at-threat students.  Of course, for teachers, it is an chance to supplement revenue, but for the students it is a likelihood to add more instructional time to their college year.  Many schools might also present studying applications for the duration of winter sessions or other college breaks to maximize studying time for the duration of the college year for these who have fallen behind or struggle to meet anticipated studying requirements inside the typical college calendar year.

My other expertise as a provider of extended studying was as a complete-day Kindergarten teacher.  I had taught half-day Kindergarten for a couple of years, but then moved to a further element of the nation exactly where they offered a complete-day plan.  I never ever regarded this expanded studying at the time but envision how considerably more could be taught for the duration of a six-hour day versus a 3-hour day.  We now see quite a few states or districts across the U.S. expanding half-day Kindergarten to complete-day or even creating optional Kindergarten mandatory as a indicates of offering extra instructional time.

Research says we need to have particular criteria for any type of expanded studying chance to make a distinction.  This involves aspects such as higher-high quality instructors, smaller class sizes, a adequate quantity of time, and alignment with curriculum.  Research also says the most successful applications happen for the duration of the college year and for the duration of the college day.

There are some other finest practices that make expanded studying precious.  First, teachers in these applications need to have to be intentional.  Any lesson, game, or activity they provide will have to be planned and purposeful.  Getting to know students and differentiating for them as considerably as feasible is essential.  For instance, if a student adores horses, play vocabulary games or produce writing activities about this location of interest.  If a kid is obsessed with Legos but hates to study, produce written directions to make secret Lego creations.  By reading the written directions, the kid reveals the creation without having even realizing he or she was really reading in the method.

Second, a teacher will have to continually assess exactly where young children are at to program for exactly where they need to have to go and discern how to get them there.  Often assessment is informal, but even by just observing and listening the teacher can collect the essential info to guarantee instruction will be successful.  If a young learner struggles with identifying alphabet letters, play games utilizing the child’s name as this will have the most which means for him or her.  Once constant mastery of the letters in the very first name is evident, activities can be introduced utilizing the letters in his or her final name.

Third, make studying exciting.  No matter the age level of the students, appear for games and activities that make the content engaging, hands-on, and meaningful.  Incorporate movement to get young children actively involved hopping syllables in a word or tossing a bean bag to brainstorm antonyms are just two examples.  Children will not only find out the essential ideas and abilities, but will have a pleasant, memorable time performing it.

Therefore, as we appear for techniques to fill gaps for students and make up for lost time, we see there are quite a few alternatives to present students who need to have further studying time.  However, we will have to heed the investigation about what operates finest to make the most of these possibilities.  Finally, let us not overlook to be intentional, use our assessment info wisely, and make studying enjoyable if we want extended studying to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Jennifer Fernandez

Jennifer’s education background is diverse. She taught PreK–6
for 22 years, served on district and regional instructional committees. She holds Texas
Teaching Certificates in Elementary Self Contained, Early Childhood, &amp Bilingual/ESL, plus
Minnesota Elementary Education. Jennifer has served for 7 years as a qualified studying
specialist, and is in demand as a presenter to regional, state, and neighborhood conferences.
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Originally published in blog.schoolspecialty.com