INCLUDEnyc Voices

Online vs. Classroom Learning

Teachers, students, and families are currently embarking on a journey into uncharted territory. Many INCLUDEnyc educators are also parents and are front line participants learning new things, shouldering new responsibilities, and starting new practices. Here's what we've been thinking about: 

Will students with disabilities receive the direct, differentiated instruction they need? Can online learning be direct instruction? Will the instruction be responsive to students' individual needs? 

We don’t know exactly what remote learning will look like, but here are some factors to consider:

  • Technology: Getting started with remote learning will depend on having a device, like an iPad, strength of Internet connection, and work space, among other factors. Schools will choose different platforms and teaching techniques. Some schools have already been using technology, like Google Classroom, while others are just now learning about remote learning strategies. 
  • Structuring the day: Remote learning may include teaching the class in a video conference. Students can participate and teachers can respond and individualize their instruction based on student understanding. Students may even break into small groups, so they can collaborate with each other or work with the teacher one-on-one. In this case, the teacher can work directly with students based on their needs just as they would do in the classroom. Teachers also may pre-record lessons. In some cases, especially with older students, teachers may provide reading assignments and videos to watch with questions to answer on their own schedule.
  • Working independently: This uncertain period may be a unique opportunity for some families to learn about or participate in their child’s learning, depending on work schedules and ability to remain at home. At times, teachers may assign independent work for students and remain online to answer questions. Just like in the classroom, there are times during remote learning where students will be working on their own and building independence with a skill or concept.
  • Teaching style: The degree of direct or individualized instruction may vary based on the teacher’s instructional methods under normal circumstances. Teachers have varying instructional styles and degrees of differentiation, meaning how much they individualize their teaching for each child, which will likely be reflected in their remote teaching style.

All in all, this is a lot for families to learn quickly. There will be an adjustment period with technical difficulties, connection issues, and trial and error. We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher and school. If you have additional questions, please call our Help Line at 212-677-4660 or fill out a Help Request Form

—Written by Julianne Toce

- INCLUDEnyc Staff Member