Fall 2021      Volume 49, Number 4

Professional Development: Resisting the Return to “Normal”
By Sophie Degener, Adelfio Garcia, Ryan McCarty, and Ivy Sitkoski

Document: Column 

Introductory Paragraph:  As this introduction was being written, we were finishing one of the most challenging years of our careers as educators and looking forward to a much-needed fresh start in the fall. We recently hosted an educational leadership summit where leaders from Chicago (including our own columnist Dr. Adelfio Garcia) and across the country shared their lessons learned about leading for equity through the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the points that these leaders made again and again was that returning to “normal” is not good enough. As scholar Dr. Bettina Love reminds us, our schools were already failing too many Black and Brown children even before the pandemic, and the events of the last year have just made the inequities in our society all the more stark. But efforts to return to normal, or even worse, to simply remediate the effects of “learning loss,” will always fall short. Instead, students need opportunities to learn deeply about issues that matter to them, and space and time to share their thoughts and feelings about all they have experienced. Our reviews this month include ideas like engaging in restorative literacies, harnessing the power of picturebooks for social and emotional learning, planning for guided inquiry, and promoting translanguaging with multilingual readers and writers. Such approaches build upon students’ interests and assets and help create classroom environments where they feel truly seen and heard. We invite you to explore these titles and use their insights to help transform your teaching in the coming year.

DOI:    https://doi.org/10.33600/IRCJ.49.4.2021.53

Page Numbers:   53-57

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