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I have had the privilege of offering instruction in English Literature at the College/University level for over 25 years. During that time, I have encountered a broad range of students, from Community College enrollees trying to satisfy an educational requirement for work or certification, 16-year-old Early College students grappling with new intellectual and physical freedoms, to urban classrooms in New York following the tragic events of 9/11. Our recent COVID crisis is today’s challenge and it has been daunting, especially for a traditional face-to-face teacher like me. Whether teaching in the United States, or during the time I taught graduate students in Ghana, I discovered that contextualization is critical to most, if not all aspects of literature pedagogy in practice.
The Pandemic has had collateral impacts in many areas of student’s lives beyond their health and wellbeing vis a vis the virus itself.Housing and food insecurity for students has grown during this period, at a remarkable rate, as have instances of psychological,physiological, mental health issues andenvironmental stressors.All these factors impact a student’s ability to engage and properly synthesize material introduced during ZOOM classroom sessions impacting their engagement in the learning process.
This paper will explore and discuss strategies utilized to mitigate the impact of these realities on the classroom experience and share methods for successful engagement/learning experience with classroom populations, be they F2F,or synchronous/hybrid/Asynchronous, options in apost-COVID world.
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