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When Learning Moves to Home

I am a special educator, traveler, meditator and nature lover. I like pauses, newness and change.

I, like many, was in somewhat disbelief of the magnitude of COVID-19. Then I remembered what I have been chatting about with others for years: we need a global time-out. The kind of time-out that young children get when they don't follow the rules; the kind that I got quite frequently as a child. And for as much as I hated sitting on the steps leading from our living room to our second floor, at exactly the step where the open railings ended and the solid wall began, I learned a lot there. I learned a lot being at a distance from the kids who were still playing. I learned a lot knowing that my mother would return and I had better thought up some good understanding and ideas for doing better next time. Although I wanted to keep playing, I also appreciated the quiet and the momentary break.

As a behavior consultant for schools in Washington, DC, I am now working remotely. Most of those schools quickly spun in to distant learning model. During one of my consult calls with a behavior specialist from a school last week, we discussed a student who was having significant challenges during the school days. He would become physically aggressive on a daily basis, refuse to complete work or comply with adult directions. She reported that since the student has been home, he has been completing all his assignments on Google classroom, and even speaking with teaching staff when they call to check in.

It made me think of all the benefits that can come with change. Change of locations, sometimes as close as the steps from my living room, to change in the parts people play in our lives, from a parent to a substitute teacher, can have a profound and positive effect on our behavior. We can often hear, see and accept things in a new way when change happens. And space from others, and scenes which have been difficult for us, can provide us with breath and hope to try again. Change is hard, and it can also be exactly what we need, whether we know it or not.

Special Travelers was founded on the value of learning outside of classrooms. To all those appreciating the change, away from formal education, enjoy learning!

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