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Lessons from the Pandemic: Evidence-Based Resources for Professional Development Trainers

By Hella Bel Hadj Amor and Steve Klein | November 18, 2021

Hella Bel Hadj Amor
Hella Bel Hadj Amor is an applied research and technical support leader at Education Northwest. She also serves as a REL activity lead in Alaska and co-leads a research-practice partnership of Oregon stakeholders focusing on improving equity in high school and college outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced profound changes to our educational system. The shift to hybrid and remote learning required educators to adopt new technologies to deliver instruction and monitor student learning. Virtual learning environments isolated students from one another and limited sustained contact with their teachers, with lessons often lasting only a few hours per day. While this increased stress levels for many students, it introduced new opportunities for others, who flourished in self-paced, online environments. Now, as students return to classrooms, educators must address a multitude of student learning issues introduced by the pandemic.1,2

To ease the transition back to in-person learning, REL Northwest created two professional development modules that school district facilitators and middle grade and high school teachers can use to prepare for our “new normal.” The modules build upon the REL COVID-19 Evidence-Based Resources, a compilation of resources developed by the 10 RELs across the country to help educators adjust to remote instruction. REL Northwest synthesized information from the hundreds of reports, trainings, tools, and webinars compiled by REL researchers to identify evidence-based practices that support face-to-face instruction as well as hybrid and fully remote teaching.

The professional development modules focus on two topics.

Steve Klein
Steve Klein is a Senior Expert at Education Northwest. He is dedicated to improving the career preparation of youth and adults in collaboration with federal and state education agencies and high school and college administrators and instructors.

Social and Emotional Learning

Due to social distancing protocols, many students had little interaction with their peers during the pandemic. Social and political unrest over the past year also underscored the need to center racial equity and cultural responsiveness in education. This module helps educators understand social and emotional learning and strategies to address issues that surfaced during the pandemic.

Harnessing Remote Learning Tools for In-person Instruction

Many REL resources focused on teaching virtually may easily be adapted to supplement traditional face-to-face instruction. This module helps teachers use remote learning tools and strategies during in-person and hybrid instruction to complement classwork and promote student engagement.

We designed each module as a 90-minute in-person or virtual professional development experience, which may be offered as a single session or two 45-minute sessions. Each module aims to engage teachers through an interactive format, combining content presentations with breakout activities to help participants explore and practice using the materials.

Each module includes a facilitator's guide with customizable agendas and timelines to structure the sessions; self-guided, printable activity sheets for organizing breakout session work; PowerPoint slide decks with speaker notes; and references so participants can access the resources from which the professional development modules were created.

Contact Steve Klein for more information on these professional development modules or download them directly.

1 Dorn, E., Hancock, B., Sarakatsannis, J., & Viruleg, E. (2021, July 27). COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning. McKinsey & Company.
2 U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. (2021). Education in a pandemic: The disparate impacts of COVID-19 on America's students.