Teaching is not easy.
Families across the globe were able to see this starting last March when the COVID-19 pandemic became our new normal.
This new normal included the closure of schools and the institution of remote learning – a 21st century response to a crisis not experienced in about a hundred years. Students and their families were now accessing instruction distributed via the internet by their teachers with the best of intentions and a scarcity of know-how.
But what about those without adequate devices or reliable access to the internet? Among other necessary responses, why not turn to an older but reliable staple of children’s education that’s been around for as long as most of us can remember: broadcast television.
It seemed like a good course of action: tap into this kind of media to ensure that children and their trusted adults could tune into instruction each day where all they would need is a television, not even cable! It would not be the same as interactive live instruction, but it would give kids an opportunity to be immersed in reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more while safety precautions required us all to stay home.
And while it isn’t live instruction, we wanted it to feel that way. We titled the show Let’s Learn NYC! because we were in this together – New York City educators, children, and family members. Four months (May to August) and about 70 episodes later, we’ve heard from countless teachers, families, and students how Let’s Learn NYC! has supported their at-home learning, keeping learning playful and fun until we can all gather in classrooms again.
The teaching isn’t fancy. But kids get to see teachers – not necessarily their teachers, but folks they might see in schools every day, providing instruction very similar to how it would be delivered in school. As a result, there is an instant comfort level in the way the show is experienced.
Throughout each show, instructional coaches and teachers provide instruction in a way that pulls back the curtain on best practices for teaching. Family members can use these lessons as models for enhancing the educational work already taking place in the home.
We will continue this work throughout the new school year as a supplement to the blended learning that will be taking place in city schools. Let’s Learn NYC! will air this September on WLIW, Channel 21, starting Tuesday, September 8th at 9:00 A.M. A half-hour family back-to-school special will air in mid-September: on Thirteen, Sunday, September 13th at 9:00 A.M.; on WLIW21, Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 P.M.; and on NJTV, Monday, September 14th at 3:00 P.M. and Wednesday, September 16th at 8:30 P.M.
If you’re already a viewer, we thank you for your participation. If you’re not, please join us. We’re in this together and are better together. Let’s Learn, NYC!