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Mind The Gap: The problems inherent in ‘catching-up’ With Alex Fairlamb

When we look back at the last year of various lockdowns, it’s easy to see why the usual amount of course content hasn’t been taught. And, with the best will in the world – and heroic teacher efforts across the board – there’s no way that remote learning could be a substitute for being in a classroom. Of course, it follows then that some learning hasn’t been as effective amongst students as you’d normally expect. While it’s clear there’s no fault here, the impact is being acutely felt by our young people. They are expected to not only pick up where they left off but “catch-up” to where they should be. In the immortalised words of teens everywhere: isn’t that “so unfair”?

This week we’re looking at how best to deal with the issue of post-Covid catch-up.

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Nathan McGurl, Founder of The Study Buddy is joined by Alex Fairlamb. Alex is an Assistant Headteacher and Teacher of History for a Secondary school in the North East of England. Alex regularly writes for a variety of publications and has designed learning resources for national distribution. Alex’s teaching interests and research are focused upon creative Teaching and Learning strategies and resources; including recently how best to motivate and manage student’s learning post-lockdown.

There is absolutely no escaping the fact that our students have not covered as much of the curriculum as they would have done if the pandemic hadn’t stuck. Our teens are acutely – if not crushingly – aware of it. However, each of them feels that they have been working hard and doing what was asked. That makes the idea of “catching-up” especially unjust.

In this episode we consider:

  • Whether we are undermining our teens’ confidence with the language we’re using?
  • Is there going to be a lasting impact on their prospects?
  • The impact of that language of “catch up” and learning loss.
  • How to identify what areas students should be focusing on
  • Are there other more important elements such as social skills our children might have missed out on?
  • What practically should be done about covering ‘gaps’


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