ANOKA – (June 10, 2021) – After the most unusual school year in recent memory, Anoka-Hennepin administrators are getting some feedback from students. They started the year in a hybrid learning mode and later went to full distance learning before students ended the year back in class, wearing masks.
As he has done every year since becoming superintendent, David Law held round-table discussions with high school students recently to hear about what worked and what didn’t. He said they liked having the ability to pause a class on a computer and come back to it, or review something they didn’t understand the first time. But he says they could do without online learning for hours at a time.
Law says this is what students told him:
“If I didn’t get it the first time through, I’d take a break, I’d have lunch, I’d come back at 2:30, I’d re-watch my chemistry lesson, and now I have the a-ha moment. They loved that,” Law said. “What they didn’t like is the inability to easily interact with peers, and they missed the ability to in real time talk with their classmates about, ‘what are we learning.'”
Law says discussing social justice issues in the classroom also came up at every roundtable. Students told him it worked better in some classrooms than others.
“Students appreciated the opportunity in class to have a civil discussion. And they really acknowledge there are some teachers that do a great job when a student comes in and says, ‘I really want to talk about this,’ creating a safe space for that conversation,” said Law. “Then they acknowledged there are some other teachers that couldn’t create that space and just went on.”
One bit of feedback is not related to the pandemic or social justice issues. Law says many students are asking for a class called, “ready for life.” It would include things like paying taxes, planning for retirement and how insurance and student loans work. Law says creating a class like that is something they are definitely looking into.