An increase in online learning during the pandemic has led to new thinking about online instruction that will last far beyond the pandemic. The hurried nature of instructional design as the pandemic shifted teaching and learning from the classroom to the computer may have neglected the need to design lessons using best practices online instead of focusing on content delivery and grading. Practices that are part of successful middle level education including cultivating depth of student understanding, developmental responsiveness, social emotional learning and differentiation to meet young adolescent student needs may have been neglected in pandemic online lesson design. This article suggests that now is the time to pause for reflection on previous online learning design as teachers use a guided process built on successful middle level practices. As teachers reflect on their previous online experiences and begin to ground their thinking, what they know and understand as expert middle level educators, the future of online learning will become more meaningful not only for teachers but for the young adolescent learners they are committed to reach and teach.

Author Bio

Dr. Holly Thornton became a professor of middle level education after becoming a National Board Certified middle school teacher. She now teachers undergraduate and masters level students at Appalachian State University. Holly has served in various leadership roles at the state and national level for middle level associations, including serving on the AMLE Board of Directors. She has published and presented research about theoretical constructs related to numerous contemporary issues in middle level education including publications in the Middle School Journal, Current Issues in Middle Level Education and the AMLE magazine.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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