At the start of the school year last August, I spent several days visiting a first-grade classroom in Austin, Texas, to see how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting teaching and learning after nearly two years of disruption. The academic impact was exactly what experts predicted: students were all over the map in their reading abilities. But I was struck by some less widely reported trends their teacher shared with me, like the pandemic’s impact on non-academic skills, including social-emotional, fine and gross motor skills. Many students were struggling with things like being able to use scissors, work independently and resolve conflicts.

As the pandemic trudges on, here are three strategies experts recommend to address student (and teacher) needs, a prerequisite for closing academic gaps:

  1. Acknowledge the trauma students have faced
  2. Explicitly teach children conflict resolution and other skills, even those they are already expected to know
  3. Support the emotional needs of teachers

Read the full article about easing trauma for students and educators by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report.