The COVID-19 crisis is magnifying the cracks in the education systems. Starting this week, most Kenyan parents are strategizing and making decisions in regards to the children’s education in the new term/year. A majority of schools will suffer major losses as parents are moving to Home-Schooling; other parents prefer to hire private tutors/teachers instead of enrolling their children to school ,other parents prefer to enrol their children for weekend or after online-school tutoring, other parents will teach their children both for economic and quality reasons.
So, how will we make sure all students learn deeply in the new term?
When school resumes, students deserve to spend most of their time engaged in knowledge-rich, grade-level learning, even if instruction takes different forms. But that will mean going deep with content, not going back or covering more. If we teach children to think, rather than just remember, all of their academic performance will improve.
If parents/teachers and schools overemphasize basic skills to the detriment of higher-order thinking skills such as creativity, information processing, interpretation, and modelling, then most students will continue struggling in school work and not improve their HOTS skills.
In math, students still need opportunities to make sense of problems, debate thinking with others, and choose appropriate strategies from many options.
Literacy instruction should enable students to draw meaning from diverse texts by using evidence and to build knowledge and vocabulary at the same time.
Not only do these learning experiences encourage deeper learning, but they are also the precise skills that students will need in order to be prepared for 21st century workforce.
Every student deserves lessons that provide deep learning and that build critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Think about the difference of asking students, "Why does it rain?" rather than lecturing about the phases of the water cycle. When teachers/parents provide challenging opportunities for students to make meaning, they shape who will have the best chance to make future discoveries.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) move students’ thought processes beyond just memorising information.