March 3, 2024

From Learning Loss to a Liberatory Mindset

2 min read

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Understanding loss indicates learners, not units, need to be “preset,” which misses the more vital challenge: equity. In the new concern of Instructional Leadership, training researcher Sonja Cherry-Paul states educators need to replace a deficit frame of mind with a liberatory one particular by centering culturally responsive pedagogies and emphasizing scholar strengths.

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Source url Recent research has suggested that students have experienced learning loss as a direct result of the pandemic. As a consequence, many educators are actively looking for ways to mitigate potential setbacks and assure their students’ success moving forward. Rather than relying solely on traditional instructive methods, a number of progressive educators are embracing a liberatory mindset to foster academic achievement in the long-term.

A liberatory mindset is an approach to education that focuses on nourishing students’ social, emotional and mental well-being. This approach inherently focuses on students first and allows them the space to make connections between their lived experiences and the topics being discussed. Fundamental aspects of this mindset include failing forward and critically looking beyond surface level learning, understanding power dynamics and challenging inequality.

Rather than suggesting that pandemic-related learning loss can be reversed by leaning into more traditional forms of instruction, a liberatory mindset allows educators to create a supportive and healthy learning environment. This space encourages honest dialogue and open communication and enables students to take ownership of their learning. The process, which has traditionally been teacher-focused, is driven largely by student exploration and questioning. Educators should actively provide access to resources and encourage students to engage in learning autonomously.

Nobody is expecting educators to have all the answers when it comes to lifting students up after the pandemic. Instead, it is a team effort that requires courage and skill to effectively integrate a liberatory mindset into the instruction of a particular subject. It is an approach, however, that is proving beneficial in classrooms around the world that are acutely dealing with the circumstances resulting from the pandemic.

The journey of transitioning to a liberatory mindset and providing students the scaffolding necessary to be self-motivated learners will look different for each and every classroom setting. It may include regularly revisiting topics that students have yet to master, embedding social and emotional learning into instruction, and allowing for conversations about racism and other oppressive norms. Change does not happen overnight, but by exploring evidence-based approaches and leaning into a liberatory mindset, educators can start to move away from the rebuilding process resultant from learning loss and instead, foster meaningful, lifelong learning experiences.