This qualitative study explores 25 elementary educators’ experiences after Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) and examines the role of technology and face-to-face (f2f) interactions in the literacy classroom. Teachers in the study found substantial learning lags and extreme difficulty getting students reacclimated back into the classroom postpandemic. While they found technology to be adequate for differentiation and instant feedback, they noted the importance of f2f interaction for building relationships, social and emotional learning (SEL), reading, language, and fine motor skills. Aligned with Duke and Cartwright’s (2021) Active View of Reading Model, the study’s results advocate integrating SEL and literacy instruction, along with purposeful digital tool integration. The paper culminates in eleven recommendations based on the semistructured interviews with 25 teachers. The study’s findings and recommendations showcase teacher resilience and can guide curriculum directors, literacy coaches, and school leaders when sustaining quality instruction and student engagement during and after crises. The study, conducted in Michigan during the early autumn of 2022, contributes valuable perspectives on education’s adaption to postpandemic challenges and transition back to traditional classrooms.

Author Bio

Carol Ann Paul, Ph.D. is the Manager of State and Federal Programs and Special Populations at Wayne RESA. She has two decades of experience in education from elementary to collegiate levels. She has held roles such as Reading Specialist, Executive Director of Student Achievement, and Educational Improvement Consultant. Dr. Paul has served as the past president of the Michigan Reading Association, received two Michigan Literacy awards, and is the author of a children’s book promoting friendship. She can be reached at paulc@resa.net.

Lisa Reason, Ph.D. is a graduate professor, curriculum and instructional designer, researcher, author, and former high school English and journalism teacher. She is the author of several publications including a research initiative on the origins of cyberbullying and a book on best-practice strategies for integrating technology into the classroom. Dr. Reason is passionate about supporting teachers in innovating instruction, assessment, and building social emotional learning skills to support all students. You can view her publications at: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=70PZwlEAAAAJ&hl=en



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