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Letters to the Editor: Teachers desperately need expert help on distance learning now

Distance learning
An employee at Hosler Middle School in Lynwood helps distribute computers that will be used for distance learning on April 23.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: How nice that “educational policy researchers” have decided that distance learning “will require meaningful changes in pratice,” and that it’s here to stay and we ought to get better at doing it.

Absolutely needed from these experts are lesson plans — that is, detailed “how to do it” plans for every grade level and subject. Instead of expecting teachers to reinvent the wheel, we need to give them specific help that they can use.

There are educational experts in every area of education who are capable of developing these plans. We need to identify them (every school district has them) and have them start doing this now.

Yes, we have to change the way we look at how we deliver instruction to students at various grade levels in a new format. But don’t expect the average teacher to be able to do this. They need help, and they needed it yesterday.

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Diana Wolff, Rancho Palos Verdes

The writer is a professor emerita of education at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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To the editor: Distance learning last spring was a loss for many students. The needs of young people who have trouble concentrating cannot be met by having them sit at a computer with little interaction or feedback. Many if not most children lack a non-working parent who happens to have great teaching skills.

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I have a grandson who turned 11 in May. His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 6 and died when he was 8. He has a sister who will be a high school senior and a brother enrolled in college. All three will be participating in the great experiment of distance learning this fall.

The older two children learned study skills before their home lives were turned upside down. They’ll be OK, if not thrilled with online classes. But the little guy, who is younger than his years, was struggling before the virus hit.

He and the thousands of other children who need the comfort and safety of the traditional classroom will be falling further behind. When will they be able to catch up? And how?

Susanna D. Wilson, La Habra Heights

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To the editor: As a teacher, I am disturbed by the comment from one parent of a special needs student that the district should pay her for “doing the teachers’ job.” (“Children with disabilities are regressing. How much is distance learning to blame?” Aug. 7)

Following this reasoning, I should be paid by the parents of misbehaving students for doing their job.

This parent is not doing a teacher’s job, as she does not write lesson plans and does not teach multiple children. Rather, she is partnering with her son’s teacher, and there is a world of difference.

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Leslie Martin, Huntington Beach


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