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LLCN Brief

10 EpisodesProduced by Kent ISDWebsite

Literacy leaders and coaches know that routinely developing knowledge and skills models for students that learning is important. Join hosts Mark Raffler (Literacy Consultant) and Sarah Shoemaker (Early Literacy Coach) for five exclusive interviews each school year with local and national literacy ex… read more


Our Kids are not Broken – Addressing Learning Loss with Ron Berger

In this episode, we (Mark Raffler and Sarah Shoemaker) chat with Ron Berger about the increasingly prevalent use of the term “learning loss.”  Ron is the Senior Advisor for Teaching & Learning at EL Education, a nonprofit school improvement organization that partners with public schools across America, leads professional learning, and creates open educational resources. He is a well-known international keynote speaker on the topics of inspiring a commitment to quality, character, and citizenship in students.  Ron also teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  After reading a recent article in which he addressed the use of the term learning loss during this time of pandemic, we connected with Ron.  We quickly realized that Ron’s perspective reaches beyond the current time to address the intentional language educators use as we think about student strengths as a means to empower them as active planners in their own learning endeavors.  Here is a quick unpacking of the conversation:

Mark asks Ron to talk about his perspective on the term “learning loss.”  Ron addresses this by helping us see that learning loss is about the ways in which students are broken and the efforts it takes to sort and remedy the broken parts of student lives.  Through this perspective, he shares that we never actually get around to furthering students’ lives or education.  He delves into an analogy linking our work as educators and the roles of students to that of physical therapy after surgery.  “Schools are not medical facilities.  We’re not there to fix kids...  Physical therapists work with you as to how to grow yourself stronger.” Mark and Ron discuss empowering students to lean into planning their own educational paths.  “Every kid needs a slightly different path.  We can empower kids to lean into their learning.” 

Ron shares that the return to classrooms should be joyous and should be celebrated.  “We should all be seeking ways to challenge and ramp up the learning.”  This starts with an intentional, shared vision.  This is the time to lean into academic challenges through social connections to engage students and set bold goals.  Sarah asks Ron to describe how and where a teacher would know how to start this process with students leading the work.  Ron inspires educators to be prospective.  Ron shares a plethora of open-access resources to support the implementation of having students lead their own learning including lesson plans, student work samples, and videos.  His emphasis is on making learning memorable and powerful when students are invested in their own learning.

When we asked Ron to summarize his advice for schools, educators, and students, he states “This reopening of schools is the perfect time of leaning in together to do the teamwork.”  He delves into the “crew” approach to making classroom learning based on collective efforts - more like the soccer team rather than the individual accomplishments - “a shift that can lift a lot for us this year.”

All resources in this LLCN Brief (and all 2020-2021 podcasts) can be found at:
Please note the audio used as an introduction and in transitions in this podcast is under the Creative Common License and attribution is given as follows:
Medicine by WinnieTheMoog

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