Turning Covid into Teachable Moments

After a year of remote learning during a year of Covid-19, it will come as no surprise that some students are going to find it difficult to go back into classrooms this year.

Some teachers have decided that one way to help students make that transition is to give them opportunities to process the experience of the last year by journaling, creating videos, and engaging in other forms of creative self-expression.

We certainly think that is a good idea. But we also believe that using various aspects of the pandemic to teach different skills will be positive. Students who can consider parts of their pandemic experience using different disciplines could well adjust more quickly to being back in school.

Here are some suggestions we found in “Innovative Ways to Make Coronavirus a Teachable Moment,” an article that Sarah Genser published on Edutopia.com on April 3, 2020.

Analyze the Math Behind the Pandemic

How many people were affected by the pandemic? How quickly did Covid spread, and where, and in what numbers? How and where did the number of cases begin to drop? And what were the statistics behind the development and use of vaccines?

Tragic and horrible as it was, Covid-19 offers many opportunities for statistical analysis.

Analyze the Virology and Biology of the Pandemic

How quickly did the virus spread? How were people affected, and how are they recovering?

Questions like those can help students discover fields like epidemiology and medicine and can spark their interest in health-related fields.

Write about Personal Experiences

Encouraging students to write journals and articles about their pandemic experiences can open their eyes to journalism and writing of all kinds. It can also help them process their experiences during the pandemic.

Take a Historical Approach

Students can write histories of the pandemic or write about pandemics and health trends of prior ages. Doing so can help bring to life what it means to be a historian. Why? Because students are now living through one of the most calamitous periods ever.

Consider Ethics

The pandemic raised a number of ethical questions that can form the basis for discussion in classrooms. How were decisions made about providing medical care and vaccinations, for example? And now, what ethical decisions are being made about getting, or not getting, vaccinated against the virus?

Media Studies

How well, and how poorly, was the pandemic covered in the news? Were the right issues presented, and how? How well, or how poorly, were statistics used in reporting about the pandemic? Discussions about these topics could help students better understand their own experiences, and possibly build interest in journalism as a career.

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