“Students learn how to behave online”

Minecraft is fun – but it’s also a useful tool for teachers. Swiss teacher Stefan Huber’s students explore complex issues while also reflecting on their online behavior. Caroline Smrstik Gentner: What led you to start using Minecraft in your lessons? Stefan Huber: During the first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020, I felt that we were … Read more

Harnessing hope to improve children’s lives

Hope is more than a warm and fuzzy feeling. During our darkest days, hope allows us to imagine a brighter future for ourselves and helps us cope with difficulties and uncertainty. Hope is a source of psychological strength that appears to have concrete benefits. In a seminal paper on hope, researchers noted that high levels … Read more

Studying family life may offer insights into personalised learning

Personalised learning has been hailed as a way of helping all children reach similar levels of attainment. With much still to be learned about how teachers might individualise instruction, could studying family life provide some new insights? Writing in the Nature partner journal Science of Learning, researchers Sophie von Stumm and Jasmin Wertz recently suggested … Read more

“Good teaching means being open to adventure”

Swiss secondary school teacher Stella Stejskal-Blum’s English learners dive into the world of digital entrepreneurship. Caroline Smrstik Gentner: What prompted you to have your English class explore ideas for a start-up business? Stella Stejskal-Blum: In 2019, I was working with students who had dropped out of school or were homeschooled, in a bilingual learning group, … Read more

“We’re rediscovering how versatile teaching can be”

CSG: Reorganizing the standard curriculum requires huge adjustments on the part of both students and teachers. How are they handling it so far? WS: All 25 teachers have been working on this project for the past two years, and they have made a commitment to see it through. In the past, school development has always … Read more

Has the COVID-19 crisis affected reading development?

“Hello reader! Go ahead and read this sentence aloud. And maybe this one too.” Did you, by any chance, time yourself? If so, you have measured your “oral reading fluency.” This simple measure—the number of words read aloud correctly divided by the length of time it took—is used to chart the development of reading skills … Read more

Learning gains and equity during COVID-19 school closures

A dramatic decrease in learning gains While primary-school students made some progress while schools were closed, their learning gains were only half as large as they had been during regular in-person instruction in the preceding eight-week period. This is hardly surprising, given the fact that schools were required to move quickly to ad-hoc distance learning … Read more