Joel Rose Explains How COVID-19 Has Disrupted Math Education and How Teach to One Can Help

Teach to One can provide continuity in math education during this challenging period.

In fall, the nation was delighted to see children return to classrooms following weeks of lockdown. However, as the second wave of COVID-19 rises, many schools have now been forced to close again. As New York and other major cities face the second wave, many parents worry about the gaps that will likely surface in their children’s education. Here, Joel Rose, co-founder of New Classrooms, explains the main problems that educators are tackling as some schools continue to educate children virtually while others teach face-to-face once again. Rose also highlights exactly how Teach to One’s learning solutions can help overcome learning loss and disruption to children’s educational routines.

The Learning Loss Challenge That Schools Must Face

At the heart of the education sector’s challenge, schools have had to balance welcoming children back to classrooms while taking measures to minimize the spread of coronavirus. However, with so many children in one setting, keeping infection rates to a minimum was always going to be difficult. Nonetheless, ensuring that children continue to receive an education is vital if they are centered in their “zone of proximal development”, thus receiving high quality materials that is neither too easy, nor too hard in service of ultimately achieving grade-level expectations or beyond– especially in a cumulative subject like math.

Rose reminds us that COVID-19 can exacerbate learning loss in math because understanding each concept relies on understanding another that comes before it. Therefore, children need continuous education that helps them understand math concepts one at a time and at their own pace. For example, a child can’t successfully progress to seventh-grade math until they have grasped fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade math.

But because children had already lost up to 332 days of math lessons within the first four months of virtual schooling, catching up is already proving difficult. Therefore, it’s essential that schools don’t just focus on standard, grade-level material. Rose explains that if schools don’t teach the concepts that children have forgotten – or never picked up in the first place – it will become increasingly difficult for these children to catch up as they progress to higher grades.

Here’s how New Classrooms’ transformative Teach to One solution can overcome this problem.

How Teach to One Overcomes Learning Loss

When schools closed in spring, New Classrooms collaborated with its partner schools to transition its math classes into an entirely digital format. This way, children didn’t miss out on their personalized Teach to One 360 lessons, which they could study from home. New Classrooms also granted all parents access to the Teach to One 360 portal so that they could monitor their children’s activity and access resources to help their children prepare for upcoming virtual lessons.

In response to COVID-19, New Classrooms also created its innovative Teach to One Roadmaps suite, which provides more flexibility for students, teachers, and parents when it comes to learning under lockdown. Teach to One Roadmaps Free enables children to take a diagnostic assessment to highlight the math concepts they don’t yet understand or need to brush up on. Meanwhile, Roadmaps Plus combines digital content and assessments in a personalized roadmap for children to follow. While teachers can use Roadmaps in classroom settings, parents can also upgrade to a Home account so that children can access their roadmaps remotely if their school isn’t using this solution. Whether children are learning in school or at home, New Classrooms has covered every eventuality.

“The digital tools are based on the unique knowledge about learning pathways, progression, and learning loss accumulated through Teach to One over the years,” Rose says. “This knowledge was adapted to address the specific disruptions happening in schools right now and to empower teachers and parents to keep students on track to proficiency.”

How Joel Rose’s Teaching Experience Has Shaped Teach to One

When teaching his first fifth-grade math class, Rose soon found that some of the children were at second-grade level, others were at eighth-grade level, and others were anywhere in between. Teaching came with the constant challenge of helping each child progress at their own pace while somehow also covering the assigned grade-level curriculum, a challenge that makes it impossible to meet all children’s educational needs.

As a result, Rose concludes that many children reach middle school with learning gaps from elementary school. These gaps grow and, by the time children reach high school, it’s particularly difficult to go back and address the core concepts that they never grasped. It’s for this reason that Rose targets middle school with the dynamic and innovative Teach to One approach, which ensures that children are ready to approach high school math with confidence and capability.

About Teach to One

In 2009, Joel Rose and Chris Rush founded the school-based learning solution School of One as part of the Department of Education in New York City. School of One blended live, online, and peer learning to tailor math lessons to each child in a class. Within months, Time magazine had highlighted the initiative as one of the best inventions of the year. Two years later, Rose and Rush expanded School of One beyond New York and evolved the educational system to form New Classrooms, the company behind Teach to One 360.

Teach to One 360 employs multiple computer algorithms to create personalized learning plans. The system leverages the most successful lessons from School of One while integrating eight modalities so that children can learn in different ways, instead of remaining in a traditional classroom setting for every lesson. This is key because when children learn the same content from multiple teaching approaches, they can truly deepen their understanding. The range of modalities is also what makes personalization possible; Teach to One combines mini lessons for each student based on their current understanding and the lesson styles that help them learn best.

Both Teach to One 360 and the new Roadmaps suite help children break their math syllabuses into manageable chunks. Math can be a particularly challenging subject, and children often feel immensely proud when they finally master a difficult skill. Giving children ownership of their learning with a personalized plan can help drive motivation and patience.

“I’ve not met one student who said, ‘I really learned a lot from the standardized test that I took at the end of the year to see how I did relative to grade-level standards.’ Those can be extremely important for schools and policymakers in terms of understanding what action should be taken, but for individual students to benefit, it is much more important to give them ownership of their learning,” Rose says.

Learn more about how Teach to One can help overcome learning gaps at www.teachtoone.org.