COVID-19 is a Teachable Moment
Abstract ideas are much more difficult to teach than concrete and tangible subjects. It’s easier to understand the ecosystem as a whole because you can sit in it—you can gather data through your five senses. Cells on the other hand are a more difficult concept to grasp. There is no where to turn our eyes, ears, or sense of touch. Intangible ideas require students to Think Flexibly.
Thinking Flexibly, one of the 16 Habits of Mind, is a habit that we are all working overtime to develop during the COVID-19 pandemic. For most people, our ways of living and working changed overnight. Our thinking must remain flexible so that we can develop or maintain a positive attitude.
Students may need some help in developing their ability to Think Flexibly at this time as well—adults aren’t the only ones navigating new waters.
The key to remember is that we want students to be able to think flexibly, not to completely change their way of thinking. This means the more constants you can have the better. Maintaining a base understanding of expectations is a good practice when things change so drastically.
After watching the Habits of Mind animation on Thinking Flexibly, talk with your students about the changes that they are experiencing, what positive things can come from it, or what they have already learned. This is a good place for you to build relationships too! By giving some insight into your life and positive aspects of teaching and working from home, you can build trust with your students.