The “new normal” in education
- Viewpoints/ Controversies
- Published: 24 November 2020
- Volume 51 , pages 3–14, ( 2021 )
- José Augusto Pacheco ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4623-6898 1
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Effects rippling from the Covid 19 emergency include changes in the personal, social, and economic spheres. Are there continuities as well? Based on a literature review (primarily of UNESCO and OECD publications and their critics), the following question is posed: How can one resist the slide into passive technologization and seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane, and international-transformational approach to education? Technologization, while an ongoing and evidently ever-intensifying tendency, is not without its critics, especially those associated with the humanistic tradition in education. This is more apparent now that curriculum is being conceived as a complicated conversation. In a complex and unequal world, the well-being of students requires diverse and even conflicting visions of the world, its problems, and the forms of knowledge we study to address them.
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From the past, we might find our way to a future unforeclosed by the present (Pinar 2019 , p. 12)
Texts regarding this pandemic’s consequences are appearing at an accelerating pace, with constant coverage by news outlets, as well as philosophical, historical, and sociological reflections by public intellectuals worldwide. Ripples from the current emergency have spread into the personal, social, and economic spheres. But are there continuities as well? Is the pandemic creating a “new normal” in education or simply accenting what has already become normal—an accelerating tendency toward technologization? This tendency presents an important challenge for education, requiring a critical vision of post-Covid-19 curriculum. One must pose an additional question: How can one resist the slide into passive technologization and seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane, and international-transformational approach to education?
The ongoing present
Unpredicted except through science fiction, movie scripts, and novels, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everyday life, caused wide-scale illness and death, and provoked preventive measures like social distancing, confinement, and school closures. It has struck disproportionately at those who provide essential services and those unable to work remotely; in an already precarious marketplace, unemployment is having terrible consequences. The pandemic is now the chief sign of both globalization and deglobalization, as nations close borders and airports sit empty. There are no departures, no delays. Everything has changed, and no one was prepared. The pandemic has disrupted the flow of time and unraveled what was normal. It is the emergence of an event (think of Badiou 2009 ) that restarts time, creates radical ruptures and imbalances, and brings about a contingency that becomes a new necessity (Žižek 2020 ). Such events question the ongoing present.
The pandemic has reshuffled our needs, which are now based on a new order. Whether of short or medium duration, will it end in a return to the “normal” or move us into an unknown future? Žižek contends that “there is no return to normal, the new ‘normal’ will have to be constructed on the ruins of our old lives, or we will find ourselves in a new barbarism whose signs are already clearly discernible” (Žižek 2020 , p. 3).
Despite public health measures, Gil ( 2020 ) observes that the pandemic has so far generated no physical or spiritual upheaval and no universal awareness of the need to change how we live. Techno-capitalism continues to work, though perhaps not as before. Online sales increase and professionals work from home, thereby creating new digital subjectivities and economies. We will not escape the pull of self-preservation, self-regeneration, and the metamorphosis of capitalism, which will continue its permanent revolution (Wells 2020 ). In adapting subjectivities to the recent demands of digital capitalism, the pandemic can catapult us into an even more thoroughly digitalized space, a trend that artificial intelligence will accelerate. These new subjectivities will exhibit increased capacities for voluntary obedience and programmable functioning abilities, leading to a “new normal” benefiting those who are savvy in software-structured social relationships.
The Covid-19 pandemic has submerged us all in the tsunami-like economies of the Cloud. There is an intensification of the allegro rhythm of adaptation to the Internet of Things (Davies, Beauchamp, Davies, and Price 2019 ). For Latour ( 2020 ), the pandemic has become internalized as an ongoing state of emergency preparing us for the next crisis—climate change—for which we will see just how (un)prepared we are. Along with inequality, climate is one of the most pressing issues of our time (OECD 2019a , 2019b ) and therefore its representation in the curriculum is of public, not just private, interest.
Education both reflects what is now and anticipates what is next, recoding private and public responses to crises. Žižek ( 2020 , p. 117) suggests in this regard that “values and beliefs should not be simply ignored: they play an important role and should be treated as a specific mode of assemblage”. As such, education is (post)human and has its (over)determination by beliefs and values, themselves encoded in technology.
Will the pandemic detoxify our addiction to technology, or will it cement that addiction? Pinar ( 2019 , pp. 14–15) suggests that “this idea—that technological advance can overcome cultural, economic, educational crises—has faded into the background. It is our assumption. Our faith prompts the purchase of new technology and assures we can cure climate change”. While waiting for technology to rescue us, we might also remember to look at ourselves. In this way, the pandemic could be a starting point for a more sustainable environment. An intelligent response to climate change, reactivating the humanistic tradition in education, would reaffirm the right to such an education as a global common good (UNESCO 2015a , p. 10):
This approach emphasizes the inclusion of people who are often subject to discrimination – women and girls, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, migrants, the elderly and people living in countries affected by conflict. It requires an open and flexible approach to learning that is both lifelong and life-wide: an approach that provides the opportunity for all to realize their potential for a sustainable future and a life of dignity”.
Pinar ( 2004 , 2009 , 2019 ) concevies of curriculum as a complicated conversation. Central to that complicated conversation is climate change, which drives the need for education for sustainable development and the grooming of new global citizens with sustainable lifestyles and exemplary environmental custodianship (Marope 2017 ).
The new normal
The pandemic ushers in a “new” normal, in which digitization enforces ways of working and learning. It forces education further into technologization, a development already well underway, fueled by commercialism and the reigning market ideology. Daniel ( 2020 , p. 1) notes that “many institutions had plans to make greater use of technology in teaching, but the outbreak of Covid-19 has meant that changes intended to occur over months or years had to be implemented in a few days”.
Is this “new normal” really new or is it a reiteration of the old?
Digital technologies are the visible face of the immediate changes taking place in society—the commercial society—and schools. The immediate solution to the closure of schools is distance learning, with platforms proliferating and knowledge demoted to information to be exchanged (Koopman 2019 ), like a product, a phenomenon predicted decades ago by Lyotard ( 1984 , pp. 4-5):
Knowledge is and will be produced in order to be sold, it is and will be consumed in order to be valued in a new production: in both cases, the goal is exchange. Knowledge ceases to be an end in itself, it loses its use-value.
Digital technologies and economic rationality based on performance are significant determinants of the commercialization of learning. Moving from physical face-to-face presence to virtual contact (synchronous and asynchronous), the learning space becomes disembodied, virtual not actual, impacting both student learning and the organization of schools, which are no longer buildings but websites. Such change is not only coterminous with the pandemic, as the Education 2030 Agenda (UNESCO 2015b ) testified; preceding that was the Delors Report (Delors 1996 ), which recoded education as lifelong learning that included learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together.
Transnational organizations have specified competences for the 21st century and, in the process, have defined disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge that encourages global citizenship, through “the supra curriculum at the global, regional, or international comparative level” (Marope 2017 , p. 10). According to UNESCO ( 2017 ):
While the world may be increasingly interconnected, human rights violations, inequality and poverty still threaten peace and sustainability. Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is UNESCO’s response to these challenges. It works by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies.
These transnational initiatives have not only acknowledged traditional school subjects but have also shifted the curriculum toward timely topics dedicated to understanding the emergencies of the day (Spiller 2017 ). However, for the OECD ( 2019a ), the “new normal” accentuates two ideas: competence-based education, which includes the knowledges identified in the Delors Report , and a new learning framework structured by digital technologies. The Covid-19 pandemic does not change this logic. Indeed, the interdisciplinary skills framework, content and standardized testing associated with the Programme for International Student Assessment of the OECD has become the most powerful tool for prescribing the curriculum. Educationally, “the universal homogenous ‘state’ exists already. Globalization of standardized testing—the most prominent instance of threatening to restructure schools into technological sites of political socialization, conditioning children for compliance to a universal homogeneous state of mind” (Pinar 2019 , p. 2).
In addition to cognitive and practical skills, this “homogenous state of mind” rests on so-called social and emotional skills in the service of learning to live together, affirming global citizenship, and presumably returning agency to students and teachers (OECD 2019a ). According to Marope ( 2017 , p. 22), “this calls for higher flexibility in curriculum development, and for the need to leave space for curricula interpretation, contextualization, and creativity at the micro level of teachers and classrooms”. Heterogeneity is thus enlisted in the service of both economic homogeneity and disciplinary knowledge. Disciplinary knowledge is presented as universal and endowed with social, moral, and cognitive authority. Operational and effective knowledge becomes central, due to the influence of financial lobbies, thereby ensuring that the logic of the market is brought into the practices of schools. As Pestre ( 2013 , p. 21) observed, “the nature of this knowledge is new: what matters is that it makes hic et nunc the action, its effect and not its understanding”. Its functionality follows (presumably) data and evidence-based management.
A new language is thus imposed on education and the curriculum. Such enforced installation of performative language and Big Data lead to effective and profitable operations in a vast market concerned with competence in operational skills (Lyotard 1984 ). This “new normal” curriculum is said to be more horizontal and less hierarchical and radically polycentric with problem-solving produced through social networks, NGOs, transnational organizations, and think tanks (Pestre 2013 ; Williamson 2013 , 2017 ). Untouched by the pandemic, the “new (old) normal” remains based on disciplinary knowledge and enmeshed in the discourse of standards and accountability in education.
Such enforced commercialism reflects and reinforces economic globalization. Pinar ( 2011 , p. 30) worries that “the globalization of instrumental rationality in education threatens the very existence of education itself”. In his theory, commercialism and the technical instrumentality by which homogenization advances erase education as an embodied experience and the curriculum as a humanistic project. It is a time in which the humanities are devalued as well, as acknowledged by Pinar ( 2019 , p. 19): “In the United States [and in the world] not only does economics replace education—STEM replace the liberal arts as central to the curriculum—there are even politicians who attack the liberal arts as subversive and irrelevant…it can be more precisely characterized as reckless rhetoric of a know-nothing populism”. Replacing in-person dialogical encounters and the educational cultivation of the person (via Bildung and currere ), digital technologies are creating uniformity of learning spaces, in spite of their individualistic tendencies. Of course, education occurs outside schools—and on occasion in schools—but this causal displacement of the centrality of the school implies a devaluation of academic knowledge in the name of diversification of learning spaces.
In society, education, and specifically in the curriculum, the pandemic has brought nothing new but rather has accelerated already existing trends that can be summarized as technologization. Those who can work “remotely” exercise their privilege, since they can exploit an increasingly digital society. They themselves are changed in the process, as their own subjectivities are digitalized, thus predisposing them to a “curriculum of things” (a term coined by Laist ( 2016 ) to describe an object-oriented pedagogical approach), which is organized not around knowledge but information (Koopman 2019 ; Couldry and Mejias 2019 ). This (old) “new normal” was advanced by the OECD, among other international organizations, thus precipitating what some see as “a dynamic and transformative articulation of collective expectations of the purpose, quality, and relevance of education and learning to holistic, inclusive, just, peaceful, and sustainable development, and to the well-being and fulfilment of current and future generations” (Marope 2017 , p. 13). Covid-19, illiberal democracy, economic nationalism, and inaction on climate change, all upend this promise.
Understanding the psychological and cultural complexity of the curriculum is crucial. Without appreciating the infinity of responses students have to what they study, one cannot engage in the complicated conversation that is the curriculum. There must be an affirmation of “not only the individualism of a person’s experience but [of what is] underlining the significance of a person’s response to a course of study that has been designed to ignore individuality in order to buttress nation, religion, ethnicity, family, and gender” (Grumet 2017 , p. 77). Rather than promoting neuroscience as the answer to the problems of curriculum and pedagogy, it is long-past time for rethinking curriculum development and addressing the canonical curriculum question: What knowledge is of most worth from a humanistic perspective that is structured by complicated conversation (UNESCO 2015a ; Pinar 2004 , 2019 )? It promotes respect for diversity and rejection of all forms of (cultural) hegemony, stereotypes, and biases (Pacheco 2009 , 2017 ).
Revisiting the curriculum in the Covid-19 era then expresses the fallacy of the “new normal” but also represents a particular opportunity to promote a different path forward.
Looking to the post-Covid-19 curriculum
Based on the notion of curriculum as a complicated conversation, as proposed by Pinar ( 2004 ), the post-Covid-19 curriculum can seize the possibility of achieving a responsive, ethical, humane education, one which requires a humanistic and internationally aware reconceptualization of curriculum.
While beliefs and values are anchored in social and individual practices (Pinar 2019 , p. 15), education extracts them for critique and reconsideration. For example, freedom and tolerance are not neutral but normative practices, however ideology-free policymakers imagine them to be.
That same sleight-of-hand—value neutrality in the service of a certain normativity—is evident in a digital concept of society as a relationship between humans and non-humans (or posthumans), a relationship not only mediated by but encapsulated within technology: machines interfacing with other machines. This is not merely a technological change, as if it were a quarantined domain severed from society. Technologization is a totalizing digitalization of human experience that includes the structures of society. It is less social than economic, with social bonds now recoded as financial transactions sutured by software. Now that subjectivity is digitalized, the human face has become an exclusively economic one that fabricates the fantasy of rational and free agents—always self-interested—operating in supposedly free markets. Oddly enough, there is no place for a vision of humanistic and internationally aware change. The technological dimension of curriculum is assumed to be the primary area of change, which has been deeply and totally imposed by global standards. The worldwide pandemic supports arguments for imposing forms of control (Žižek 2020 ), including the geolocation of infected people and the suspension—in a state of exception—of civil liberties.
By destroying democracy, the technology of control leads to totalitarianism and barbarism, ending tolerance, difference, and diversity. Remembrance and memory are needed so that historical fascisms (Eley 2020 ) are not repeated, albeit in new disguises (Adorno 2011 ). Technologized education enhances efficiency and ensures uniformity, while presuming objectivity to the detriment of human reflection and singularity. It imposes the running data of the Curriculum of Things and eschews intellectual endeavor, critical attitude, and self-reflexivity.
For those who advocate the primacy of technology and the so-called “free market”, the pandemic represents opportunities not only for profit but also for confirmation of the pervasiveness of human error and proof of the efficiency of the non-human, i.e., the inhuman technology. What may possibly protect children from this inhumanity and their commodification, as human capital, is a humane or humanistic education that contradicts their commodification.
The decontextualized technical vocabulary in use in a market society produces an undifferentiated image in which people are blinded to nuance, distinction, and subtlety. For Pestre, concepts associated with efficiency convey the primacy of economic activity to the exclusion, for instance, of ethics, since those concepts devalue historic (if unrealized) commitments to equality and fraternity by instead emphasizing economic freedom and the autonomy of self-interested individuals. Constructing education as solely economic and technological constitutes a movement toward total efficiency through the installation of uniformity of behavior, devaluing diversity and human creativity.
Erased from the screen is any image of public education as a space of freedom, or as Macdonald ( 1995 , p. 38) holds, any image or concept of “the dignity and integrity of each human”. Instead, what we face is the post-human and the undisputed reign of instrumental reality, where the ends justify the means and human realization is reduced to the consumption of goods and experiences. As Pinar ( 2019 , p. 7) observes: “In the private sphere…. freedom is recast as a choice of consumer goods; in the public sphere, it converts to control and the demand that freedom flourish, so that whatever is profitable can be pursued”. Such “negative” freedom—freedom from constraint—ignores “positive” freedom, which requires us to contemplate—in ethical and spiritual terms—what that freedom is for. To contemplate what freedom is for requires “critical and comprehensive knowledge” (Pestre 2013 , p. 39) not only instrumental and technical knowledge. The humanities and the arts would reoccupy the center of such a curriculum and not be related to its margins (Westbury 2008 ), acknowledging that what is studied within schools is a complicated conversation among those present—including oneself, one’s ancestors, and those yet to be born (Pinar 2004 ).
In an era of unconstrained technologization, the challenge facing the curriculum is coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with technology dislodging those subjects related to the human. This is not a classical curriculum (although it could be) but one focused on the emergencies of the moment–namely, climate change, the pandemic, mass migration, right-wing populism, and economic inequality. These timely topics, which in secondary school could be taught as short courses and at the elementary level as thematic units, would be informed by the traditional school subjects (yes, including STEM). Such a reorganization of the curriculum would allow students to see how academic knowledge enables them to understand what is happening to them and their parents in their own regions and globally. Such a cosmopolitan curriculum would prepare children to become citizens not only of their own nations but of the world. This citizenship would simultaneously be subjective and social, singular and universal (Marope 2020 ). Pinar ( 2019 , p. 5) reminds us that “the division between private and public was first blurred then erased by technology”:
No longer public, let alone sacred, morality becomes a matter of privately held values, sometimes monetized as commodities, statements of personal preference, often ornamental, sometimes self-servingly instrumental. Whatever their function, values were to be confined to the private sphere. The public sphere was no longer the civic square but rather, the marketplace, the site where one purchased whatever one valued.
New technological spaces are the universal center for (in)human values. The civic square is now Amazon, Alibaba, Twitter, WeChat, and other global online corporations. The facts of our human condition—a century-old phrase uncanny in its echoes today—can be studied in schools as an interdisciplinary complicated conversation about public issues that eclipse private ones (Pinar 2019 ), including social injustice, inequality, democracy, climate change, refugees, immigrants, and minority groups. Understood as a responsive, ethical, humane and transformational international educational approach, such a post-Covid-19 curriculum could be a “force for social equity, justice, cohesion, stability, and peace” (Marope 2017 , p. 32). “Unchosen” is certainly the adjective describing our obligations now, as we are surrounded by death and dying and threatened by privation or even starvation, as economies collapse and food-supply chains are broken. The pandemic may not mean deglobalization, but it surely accentuates it, as national borders are closed, international travel is suspended, and international trade is impacted by the accompanying economic crisis. On the other hand, economic globalization could return even stronger, as could the globalization of education systems. The “new normal” in education is the technological order—a passive technologization—and its expansion continues uncontested and even accelerated by the pandemic.
Two Greek concepts, kronos and kairos , allow a discussion of contrasts between the quantitative and the qualitative in education. Echoing the ancient notion of kronos are the technologically structured curriculum values of quantity and performance, which are always assessed by a standardized accountability system enforcing an “ideology of achievement”. “While kronos refers to chronological or sequential time, kairos refers to time that might require waiting patiently for a long time or immediate and rapid action; which course of action one chooses will depend on the particular situation” (Lahtinen 2009 , p. 252).
For Macdonald ( 1995 , p. 51), “the central ideology of the schools is the ideology of achievement …[It] is a quantitative ideology, for even to attempt to assess quality must be quantified under this ideology, and the educational process is perceived as a technically monitored quality control process”.
Self-evaluation subjectively internalizes what is useful and in conformity with the techno-economy and its so-called standards, increasingly enforcing technical (software) forms. If recoded as the Internet of Things, this remains a curriculum in allegiance with “order and control” (Doll 2013 , p. 314) School knowledge is reduced to an instrument for economic success, employing compulsory collaboration to ensure group think and conformity. Intertwined with the Internet of Things, technological subjectivity becomes embedded in software, redesigned for effectiveness, i.e., or use-value (as Lyotard predicted).
The Curriculum of Things dominates the Internet, which is simultaneously an object and a thing (see Heidegger 1967 , 1971 , 1977 ), a powerful “technological tool for the process of knowledge building” (Means 2008 , p. 137). Online learning occupies the subjective zone between the “curriculum-as-planned” and the “curriculum-as-lived” (Pinar 2019 , p. 23). The world of the curriculum-as-lived fades, as the screen shifts and children are enmeshed in an ocularcentric system of accountability and instrumentality.
In contrast to kronos , the Greek concept of kairos implies lived time or even slow time (Koepnick 2014 ), time that is “self-reflective” (Macdonald 1995 , p. 103) and autobiographical (Pinar 2009 , 2004), thus inspiring “curriculum improvisation” (Aoki 2011 , p. 375), while emphasizing “the plurality of subjectivities” (Grumet 2017 , p. 80). Kairos emphasizes singularity and acknowledges particularities; it is skeptical of similarities. For Shew ( 2013 , p. 48), “ kairos is that which opens an originary experience—of the divine, perhaps, but also of life or being. Thought as such, kairos as a formative happening—an opportune moment, crisis, circumstance, event—imposes its own sense of measure on time”. So conceived, curriculum can become a complicated conversation that occurs not in chronological time but in its own time. Such dialogue is not neutral, apolitical, or timeless. It focuses on the present and is intrinsically subjective, even in public space, as Pinar ( 2019 , p. 12) writes: “its site is subjectivity as one attunes oneself to what one is experiencing, yes to its immediacy and specificity but also to its situatedness, relatedness, including to what lies beyond it and not only spatially but temporally”.
Kairos is, then, the uniqueness of time that converts curriculum into a complicated conversation, one that includes the subjective reconstruction of learning as a consciousness of everyday life, encouraging the inner activism of quietude and disquietude. Writing about eternity, as an orientation towards the future, Pinar ( 2019 , p. 2) argues that “the second side [the first is contemplation] of such consciousness is immersion in daily life, the activism of quietude – for example, ethical engagement with others”. We add disquietude now, following the work of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Disquietude is a moment of eternity: “Sometimes I think I’ll never leave ‘Douradores’ Street. And having written this, it seems to me eternity. Neither pleasure, nor glory, nor power. Freedom, only freedom” (Pesssoa 1991 ).
The disquietude conversation is simultaneously individual and public. It establishes an international space both deglobalized and autonomous, a source of responsive, ethical, and humane encounter. No longer entranced by the distracting dynamic stasis of image-after-image on the screen, the student can face what is his or her emplacement in the physical and natural world, as well as the technological world. The student can become present as a person, here and now, simultaneously historical and timeless.
Slow down and linger should be our motto now. A slogan yes, but it also represents a political, as well as a psychological resistance to the acceleration of time (Berg and Seeber 2016 )—an acceleration that the pandemic has intensified. Covid-19 has moved curriculum online, forcing children physically apart from each other and from their teachers and especially from the in-person dialogical encounters that classrooms can provide. The public space disappears into the pre-designed screen space that software allows, and the machine now becomes the material basis for a curriculum of things, not persons. Like the virus, the pandemic curriculum becomes embedded in devices that technologize our children.
Although one hundred years old, the images created in Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin return, less humorous this time than emblematic of our intensifying subjection to technological necessity. It “would seem to leave us as cogs in the machine, ourselves like moving parts, we keep functioning efficiently, increasing productivity calculating the creative destruction of what is, the human now materialized (de)vices ensnaring us in convenience, connectivity, calculation” (Pinar 2019 , p. 9). Post-human, as many would say.
Technology supports standardized testing and enforces software-designed conformity and never-ending self-evaluation, while all the time erasing lived, embodied experience and intellectual independence. Ignoring the evidence, others are sure that technology can function differently: “Given the potential of information and communication technologies, the teacher should now be a guide who enables learners, from early childhood throughout their learning trajectories, to develop and advance through the constantly expanding maze of knowledge” (UNESCO 2015a , p. 51). Would that it were so.
The canonical question—What knowledge is of most worth?—is open-ended and contentious. In a technologized world, providing for the well-being of children is not obvious, as well-being is embedded in ancient, non-neoliberal visions of the world. “Education is everybody’s business”, Pinar ( 2019 , p. 2) points out, as it fosters “responsible citizenship and solidarity in a global world” (UNESCO 2015a , p. 66), resisting inequality and the exclusion, for example, of migrant groups, refugees, and even those who live below or on the edge of poverty.
In this fast-moving digital world, education needs to be inclusive but not conformist. As the United Nations ( 2015 ) declares, education should ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. “The coming years will be a vital period to save the planet and to achieve sustainable, inclusive human development” (United Nations 2019 , p. 64). Is such sustainable, inclusive human development achievable through technologization? Can technology succeed where religion has failed?
Despite its contradictions and economic emphases, public education has one clear obligation—to create embodied encounters of learning through curriculum conceived as a complicated conversation. Such a conception acknowledges the worldliness of a cosmopolitan curriculum as it affirms the personification of the individual (Pinar 2011 ). As noted by Grumet ( 2017 , p. 89), “as a form of ethics, there is a responsibility to participate in conversation”. Certainly, it is necessary to ask over and over again the canonical curriculum question: What knowledge is of most worth?
If time, technology and teaching are moving images of eternity, curriculum and pedagogy are also, both ‘moving’ and ‘images’ but not an explicit, empirical, or exact representation of eternity…if reality is an endless series of ‘moving images’, the canonical curriculum question—What knowledge is of most worth?—cannot be settled for all time by declaring one set of subjects eternally important” (Pinar 2019 , p. 12).
In a complicated conversation, the curriculum is not a fixed image sliding into a passive technologization. As a “moving image”, the curriculum constitutes a politics of presence, an ongoing expression of subjectivity (Grumet 2017 ) that affirms the infinity of reality: “Shifting one’s attitude from ‘reducing’ complexity to ‘embracing’ what is always already present in relations and interactions may lead to thinking complexly, abiding happily with mystery” (Doll 2012 , p. 172). Describing the dialogical encounter characterizing conceived curriculum, as a complicated conversation, Pinar explains that this moment of dialogue “is not only place-sensitive (perhaps classroom centered) but also within oneself”, because “the educational significance of subject matter is that it enables the student to learn from actual embodied experience, an outcome that cannot always be engineered” (Pinar 2019 , pp. 12–13). Lived experience is not technological. So, “the curriculum of the future is not just a matter of defining content and official knowledge. It is about creating, sculpting, and finessing minds, mentalities, and identities, promoting style of thought about humans, or ‘mashing up’ and ‘making up’ the future of people” (Williamson 2013 , p. 113).
Yes, we need to linger and take time to contemplate the curriculum question. Only in this way will we share what is common and distinctive in our experience of the current pandemic by changing our time and our learning to foreclose on our future. Curriculum conceived as a complicated conversation restarts historical not screen time; it enacts the private and public as distinguishable, not fused in a computer screen. That is the “new normal”.
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Research Centre on Education (CIEd), Institute of Education, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057, Braga, Portugal
José Augusto Pacheco
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My thanks to William F. Pinar. Friendship is another moving image of eternity. I am grateful to the anonymous reviewer. This work is financed by national funds through the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project PTDC / CED-EDG / 30410/2017, Centre for Research in Education, Institute of Education, University of Minho.
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Pacheco, J.A. The “new normal” in education. Prospects 51 , 3–14 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09521-x
Accepted : 23 September 2020
Published : 24 November 2020
Issue Date : October 2021
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09521-x
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Adapting to the culture of ‘new normal’: an emerging response to COVID-19
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Jeff Clyde G Corpuz, Adapting to the culture of ‘new normal’: an emerging response to COVID-19, Journal of Public Health , Volume 43, Issue 2, June 2021, Pages e344–e345, https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdab057
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A year after COVID-19 pandemic has emerged, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’: work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shields in public. For many, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. Ripples from the current situation have spread into the personal, social, economic and spiritual spheres. Is this new normal really new or is it a reiteration of the old? A recent correspondence published in this journal rightly pointed out the involvement of a ‘supportive’ government, ‘creative’ church and an ‘adaptive’ public in the so-called culture. However, I argue that adapting to the ‘new normal’ can greatly affect the future. I would carefully suggest that we examine the context and the location of culture in which adaptations are needed.
To live in the world is to adapt constantly. A year after COVID-19 pandemic has emerged, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’: work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shields in public. For many, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. 1 Ripples from the current situation have spread into the personal, social, economic and spiritual spheres. Is this new normal really new or is it a reiteration of the old? A recent correspondence published in this journal rightly pointed out the involvement of a ‘supportive’ government, ‘creative’ church and an ‘adaptive’ public in the so-called culture. 2 However, I argue that adapting to the ‘new normal’ can greatly affect the future. I would carefully suggest that we examine the context and the location of culture in which adaptations are needed.
The term ‘new normal’ first appeared during the 2008 financial crisis to refer to the dramatic economic, cultural and social transformations that caused precariousness and social unrest, impacting collective perceptions and individual lifestyles. 3 This term has been used again during the COVID-19 pandemic to point out how it has transformed essential aspects of human life. Cultural theorists argue that there is an interplay between culture and both personal feelings (powerlessness) and information consumption (conspiracy theories) during times of crisis. 4 Nonetheless, it is up to us to adapt to the challenges of current pandemic and similar crises, and whether we respond positively or negatively can greatly affect our personal and social lives. Indeed, there are many lessons we can learn from this crisis that can be used in building a better society. How we open to change will depend our capacity to adapt, to manage resilience in the face of adversity, flexibility and creativity without forcing us to make changes. As long as the world has not found a safe and effective vaccine, we may have to adjust to a new normal as people get back to work, school and a more normal life. As such, ‘we have reached the end of the beginning. New conventions, rituals, images and narratives will no doubt emerge, so there will be more work for cultural sociology before we get to the beginning of the end’. 5
Now, a year after COVID-19, we are starting to see a way to restore health, economies and societies together despite the new coronavirus strain. In the face of global crisis, we need to improvise, adapt and overcome. The new normal is still emerging, so I think that our immediate focus should be to tackle the complex problems that have emerged from the pandemic by highlighting resilience, recovery and restructuring (the new three Rs). The World Health Organization states that ‘recognizing that the virus will be with us for a long time, governments should also use this opportunity to invest in health systems, which can benefit all populations beyond COVID-19, as well as prepare for future public health emergencies’. 6 There may be little to gain from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is important that the public should keep in mind that no one is being left behind. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the best of our new normal will survive to enrich our lives and our work in the future.
No funding was received for this paper.
UNESCO . A year after coronavirus: an inclusive ‘new normal’. https://en.unesco.org/news/year-after-coronavirus-inclusive-new-normal . (12 February 2021, date last accessed) .
Cordero DA . To stop or not to stop ‘culture’: determining the essential behavior of the government, church and public in fighting against COVID-19 . J Public Health (Oxf) 2021 . doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab026 .
El-Erian MA . Navigating the New Normal in Industrial Countries . Washington, D.C. : International Monetary Fund , 2010 .
Alexander JC , Smith P . COVID-19 and symbolic action: global pandemic as code, narrative, and cultural performance . Am J Cult Sociol 2020 ; 8 : 263 – 9 .
Biddlestone M , Green R , Douglas KM . Cultural orientation, power, belief in conspiracy theories, and intentions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 . Br J Soc Psychol 2020 ; 59 ( 3 ): 663 – 73 .
World Health Organization . From the “new normal” to a “new future”: A sustainable response to COVID-19. 13 October 2020 . https: // www.who.int/westernpacific/news/commentaries/detail-hq/from-the-new-normal-to-a-new-future-a-sustainable-response-to-covid-19 . (12 February 2021, date last accessed) .
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Life before and after COVID-19: The 'New Normal' Benefits the Regularity of Daily Sleep and Eating Routines among College Students
- 1 Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Gastronomy, Food Science Torribera Campus, University of Barcelona, 08921 Barcelona, Spain.
- 2 Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute, INSA-UB, 08921 Barcelona, Spain.
- PMID: 35057529
- PMCID: PMC8777903
- DOI: 10.3390/nu14020351
After the COVID-19 lockdown, a 'new normal' was established, involving a hybrid lifestyle that combined face-to-face with virtual activity. We investigated, in a case-control study, the impact of the 'new normal' on daily sleep and eating routines, compared with pre-pandemic conditions. To do this, we propose using social and eating jet lag as markers of the regularity in daily routines. Additionally, we studied whether the 'new normal' had an impact on the body mass index (BMI), diet quality, and other health-related variables. This study included 71 subjects in the pre-pandemic group, and 68 in the 'new normal' group (20-30 years). For all participants, we evaluated social and eating jet lag, BMI, diet and sleep quality, eating behaviors, physical activity, and well-being. General linear models were used to compare outcome variables between pre-pandemic and 'new normal' groups. The results revealed that the 'new normal' was associated with greater regularity in daily sleep and eating routines (-0.7 h of social jet lag (95% CI: -1.0, -0.4), and -0.3 h of eating jet lag (95% CI: -0.5, -0.1)), longer sleep duration on weekdays (1.8 h (95% CI: 1.5, 2.2)), and lower sleep debt (-1.3 h (95% CI: -1.7, -0.9)). Regarding BMI and other health-related variables, we observed that these variables were similar between 'new normal' and pre-pandemic groups. These findings indicate that the 'new normal' had a positive impact on daily sleep and eating routines. Additionally, our results indicated that the 'new normal' offered college students a more sustainable lifestyle, which was associated with more hours of sleep during the week and lower sleep debt. This, in the long run, could have a positive impact on BMI and overall health.
Keywords: COVID-19; daily routines; eating jet lag; meal timing; sleep; social jet lag.
- Body Mass Index
- COVID-19 / prevention & control*
- Case-Control Studies
- Diet / statistics & numerical data*
- Exercise / statistics & numerical data
- Feeding Behavior*
- Linear Models
- Sleep Quality*
- Students / statistics & numerical data*
- Young Adult
Grants and funding
- DOCTORADO BECAS CHILE/2019 - 72200134/Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo
Not a literary magazine for ordinary times, but a journal for an exceptional one. Writing the pandemic, together. Image, Somewhere in Time by Hengki Lee: Instagram @hengki_lee
The New Normal. An essay by Juliet Wilson
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Meeting the Challenges of the New Normal in School Education: An Online Workshop for Policymakers, Teacher Educators, and School Leaders
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had huge disruptive effects on normal life, difficult as it already was in many countries. For schools, students and parents, the impact of closed schools and children stuck at home with little or no access to learning, the effect has been devastating. Experts estimate that a whole year of learning could be lost, meaning a whole cohort of students could be permanently lagging behind in their learning.
The crisis and the response to it has exposed weaknesses in educational systems, while creating opportunities to reshape school education to a new paradigm that is more resilient and robust. This pandemic is not the first, nor will it be the last, to impact countries and schools. Such crises are becoming increasingly likely with climate change, technological disruptions and globalised connectivity.
The solution lies in neither a top-down approach from policymakers, reactive changes to teacher preparation and in-service training, nor temporary makeshift arrangements by under-resourced principals and teachers. All parties need to be involved in developing strategies that can be implemented in the near-term as well as long-term. A dialogue across all levels of education is therefore critical in making informed policy to prepare for the new normal in school education.
There exists now a small window of opportunity to learn from each country and experts and in developing a dialogue of expectations and requirements as we move ahead to the next phase of meeting post-COVID-19 challenges, knowing that the world will never be the same again. It is also an opportunity to address the rigidities in the education system of many countries that were exposed by the pandemic.
ADB and the HEAD Foundation (THF) organized this five-day online workshop for policy makers, teacher trainers and school leaders, led by international education experts, to chart the way forward and address the key issues.
Expected Program Outcomes:
- Commitment to increase the nature and pace of education reform, and to dedicate more resources to education
- Greater awareness of the ‘new normal’ in education, and what it means in terms of new skill sets, technology, and training.
- Greater alignment between policymakers, school leaders, and teacher trainers
- ADB’s and THF’s commitment to support initiatives that turn crises into opportunities to speed up reform, build system resilience, and support decentralization.
Proposed Participant Learning Outcomes:
- Gain a good overview of what countries including Singapore are doing to meet the challenges and opportunities of a post-COVID world in education.
- Examine how decentralization can stimulate innovation as well as flexibility in the delivery of curriculum and assessment, and prepare students better for the future.
- Learn how policymakers can synergize better with school leaders and teacher trainers so that policies specifically pertaining to curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and technology can be reformed in a relevant manner to ensure enhanced support and resources for the ‘new normal’ in school education.
- Create alignment between curriculum, teaching, assessment, and learning in school and non-school environments to meet ‘new normal’ educational challenges.
- Learn how other countries are managing school re-opening and student learning recovery.
- Discover approaches to re-envision the classroom to promote and sustain student-centred and creative pedagogies.
- Master strategies and skills needed to promote hybrid delivery of curriculum.
- Learn ways to empower students and teachers and parents to manage new challenges in ‘new normal’ schooling.
- 04 Oct 2020
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- 12 Oct 2020
Disclaimer The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.
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How to Write an Expository Essay | Structure, Tips & Examples
Published on July 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
“Expository” means “intended to explain or describe something.” An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, just to give a balanced view of its subject matter.
Expository essays are usually short assignments intended to test your composition skills or your understanding of a subject. They tend to involve less research and original arguments than argumentative essays .
Table of contents
When should you write an expository essay, how to approach an expository essay, introducing your essay, writing the body paragraphs, concluding your essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about expository essays.
In school and university, you might have to write expository essays as in-class exercises, exam questions, or coursework assignments.
Sometimes it won’t be directly stated that the assignment is an expository essay, but there are certain keywords that imply expository writing is required. Consider the prompts below.
The word “explain” here is the clue: An essay responding to this prompt should provide an explanation of this historical process—not necessarily an original argument about it.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to define a particular term or concept. This means more than just copying down the dictionary definition; you’ll be expected to explore different ideas surrounding the term, as this prompt emphasizes.
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An expository essay should take an objective approach: It isn’t about your personal opinions or experiences. Instead, your goal is to provide an informative and balanced explanation of your topic. Avoid using the first or second person (“I” or “you”).
The structure of your expository essay will vary according to the scope of your assignment and the demands of your topic. It’s worthwhile to plan out your structure before you start, using an essay outline .
A common structure for a short expository essay consists of five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Like all essays, an expository essay begins with an introduction . This serves to hook the reader’s interest, briefly introduce your topic, and provide a thesis statement summarizing what you’re going to say about it.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
The body of your essay is where you cover your topic in depth. It often consists of three paragraphs, but may be more for a longer essay. This is where you present the details of the process, idea or topic you’re explaining.
It’s important to make sure each paragraph covers its own clearly defined topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Different topics (all related to the overall subject matter of the essay) should be presented in a logical order, with clear transitions between paragraphs.
Hover over different parts of the example paragraph below to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
The conclusion of an expository essay serves to summarize the topic under discussion. It should not present any new information or evidence, but should instead focus on reinforcing the points made so far. Essentially, your conclusion is there to round off the essay in an engaging way.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a conclusion works.
The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.
Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.
You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.
An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.
Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an expository essay?
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
Please note : This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.
The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.
- A bit of creativity!
Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph Essay
A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:
- an introductory paragraph
- three evidentiary body paragraphs
- a conclusion
The New Normal: An Essay
“The new normal.” I hear it on the radio, catch snippets of it at work, and reference it in text messages to friends. “The new normal” in this world is having virtual visits with family members, barring entrance to nursing homes, and discussing what it’s going to be like to have a face mask tan this summer. It’s excitedly planning to dine outside (8 feet apart), and looking forward to actually being able to enter a retail store. It’s also being concerned about when the second wave of COVID outbreaks will hit.
The new normal resembles something from a futuristic, post-apocalyptic novel. The government dishes out state-wide mandates on decorum and policy. Children are educated virtually from their homes. A larger-than-normal amount of people work remotely. Human interaction is an exception and done under extreme caution. Had I been asked six months ago if I’d be waiting in line to enter the grocery store to minimize capacity I would have thought you were paranoid. If someone told me there would be a shortage on items we take for granted (i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, even garden supplies) I would’ve thought a doomsday-prepper lifestyle was trending because of a new tv show. But that’s not the case.
This all may sound somewhat forlorn, and that’s not my intention, but it’s just bonkers to really take a step back from life for a moment. I know I’ve been wrapped up in my own “new normal” for the last few weeks in particular. Recently, I’ve rejoined the work force and that daily grind has forced me to put my head down to keep truckin’. But just for one moment, I’m thinking about how crazy life is. It took a hard left turn three months ago and is just hinting at course correction. By no means are we out of the woods and we won’t be for a while, that’s for sure. However, I think as a world we’re adjusting to a new pace of life and new routines.
Personally, I can’t wait to see my family and friends more regularly. I’ve always been a homebody and somewhat introverted so one might think I would bask in isolation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my quiet, introspective time but I miss my loved ones so much (as many of us do). I’ve missed getting to celebrate one of my closest friends pregnancy. I’ll miss going with another of my closest friends to pick out her wedding dress. Family birthday parties started and finished with warm embraces have been put on pause. There’s probably innumerable events that people have lost out on. Seniors in high school don’t get to walk across the stage to a crowd of proud parents and friends. New parents don’t get to have their infant welcomed by those closest to them. The list goes on and on.
What is noteworthy, though, is that these limitations the last few months have acted as a mental reset for me. We all may have felt stressed, anxious, or depressed; I know I have. But hopefully those linked to this pandemic will dwindle. Also, I can say confidently I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to have the opportunity to socialize with my friends and families; to break out of my comfort zone. Again, as someone that leans towards introversion, being in large groups can be exhausting. Now, I’ve have months to contemplate and I’m ready to get out there! I want to have family members over my house more often. I want to organize dinners with large groups of friends. I want to go to a concert! Seriously, people that know me really well will understand how big of a deal this all is. I’m chomping at the bit to play hostess!
Though I can’t wait to get my Martha Stewart on now, I usually lean towards wanting quiet time at home. On top of that, I’m an over-analyzer. So keeping to myself is very comfortable. In my “new normal” I want to break out of my comfort zone. I’ve dealt with being uncomfortable and anxious so much over the last few months that now the things that used to make me stress out seem so small. Whether it was something like, “Oh will so-and-so like me? Were they offended by something I said? Does this outfit look okay? Did I come off as awkward as I feel?” seems so inconsequential.
The hope for my new normal is to grow and challenge myself. To push myself to embrace change gracefully and compassionately. To frankly reflect on emotional triggers from the past and those in the present, and try to actively process and work through them. I’ve noticed by leaning into the things that have made me feel uncomfortable in the past has given me the chance to grow and move forward. And nothing has forced me to be more uncomfortable than the COVID pandemic. So hopefully in the future if things go back to the old normal or stay as the new, I will endeavor to be a stronger me. A happier, more confident person that recognizes the love and importance of those around her. A woman who remembers when she lost the privilege of being present in a world outside of herself and her home.
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Quick and Easy Guide on How to Write an Expository Essay
Understanding What Is an Expository Essay
If you clicked on this article, then you must have recently been assigned an expository essay homework. There is also a possibility that you are here because you enjoy exploring different ideas and concepts rather than solely scratching the surface. Well, that explains why you decided to research more about expository essay writing. We won't leave you hanging, so let's delve right into the expository essay definition.
It's only reasonable to first give you a clear explanation of what is an expository essay and what this kind of paper tries to accomplish. Simply put, an expository essay presents information on a topic. It explains something about a situation, person, idea, or occurrence and communicates knowledge about it to the reader. It does not attempt to persuade the reader of a certain point of view or present a convincing case. An expository essay depends on facts rather than personal opinion since it aims to inform the reader about a subject.
Expository writing involves anything from sharing your day to outlining a job assignment. Therefore it wouldn't be unfair to say that it is the most popular type of writing in the world.
Expository Essay Topics
Speaking of the above, there must be plenty of options to write your expository paper on, right? You're correct! But one needs a properly worded title that would make great expository essay topics. That's why our research paper service covered some interesting areas below. You can browse myriads of choices and find one that is just right for your endeavor!
Expository Essay Topics About Education
- School Dress Codes: A Physical And Mental Stress
- The Idea Of Free Higher Education
- The Issue With High School Massacres
- The Importance of College Success
- STEM versus STEAM educational approaches
- How literate people differ from uneducated ones
- The advantages of studying foreign languages.
- What changes should be made to the educational system in your nation?
- Does 'educated' have the same connotation as 'smart'?
- Can someone receive a top-notch education at home?
Expository Essay Topics About Mental Health
- Is it true that music impacts our mental and physical health?
- Are acts of heroism and patriotic acts typical in terms of mental health?
- Is there a need to increase mental health benefits under health insurance?
- Comparatively speaking, does the American mental health system lag behind other nations?
- Effects of mental health law
- The connection between antisocial personality disorder and parenting methods
- Learning-disabled kids can benefit greatly from school programs.
- How social anxiety is influenced by digital communication
- Patients with mental illness receiving physical care
- Issues with mental health and grief therapy
Expository Essay Topics About Society
- Advertisements seen via the lens of social science.
- Prejudices towards African Americans.
- The social implications of feminism.
- Global refugee crisis.
- Constructing a wall to separate Mexico and the US.
- The psychology of implicit racial prejudice and discrimination
- The effects of racism at work on the economy and mind.
- Gender roles in society: shifting perspectives and effects on families.
- Who was responsible for the cost of the War on Terror?
- Is peace education receiving enough attention from society?
Expository Essay Topics About Politics
- The connection between politics and religion
- What are the pros and drawbacks of democracy?
- How powerful are NGOs?
- What are the UN's primary responsibilities?
- What are the disadvantages of not having a state?
- Has the US soured relations with its European allies?
- What does the Human Development Index mean?
- Celebrity Influence in political campaigning
- What objectives does the anti-globalization movement seek to achieve?
How to Write an Expository Essay with an Expository Essay Outline
Outlining is one of the most vital steps for knowing how to write an expository essay. Many believe that creating an outline is a waste of time, but in reality, the more complete your expository essay plan is, the fewer hours you will have to devote to research and writing. An expository essay outline divides each paragraph of the essay into various components. By doing so, you may divide a more complex activity into more manageable components and better understand how various pieces of information will work together. Let's go through each section of the expository essay format prepared by our writer.
So, how to start expository essay on a strong note? Consider opening with a bold claim that is related to your topic. After that, go on to briefly describe your subject's significance. Finally, make a statement about your essay's core thesis or objective.
- Background information
- Thesis statement
II. Body Paragraphs
In your first body paragraph. introduce the first major point that backs up your primary statement. Then, support your claim with instances or facts, and then explain how these examples or evidence link to your thesis and support your core notion. Remember to include a transitional sentence that relates to the following paragraph.
If you follow a five paragraph essay format, then feel free to develop three body paragraphs with the similar order.
- Topic sentence
In your concluding paragraph, try restating your thesis statement in a different way to successfully conclude your work. Then put your essay's essential ideas in a brief summary before concluding with a powerful remark that will stay with your readers.
- Restate thesis
- Closing sentence
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How to Write an Expository Essay
Even though you now know a lot about the expository essay format, there are other things to keep in mind as well. In this section, we'll go over the specific steps you should take when figuring out how to write an expository essay.
The absolute first thing you should do when given an expository essay assignment is to carefully go over the guidelines. Make sure you completely understand what is required of you. If it is for class, you may be limited to certain topics and word counts, there may be restrictions on the quality of sources you can use, etc. You might write an incredible essay but get a low grade because you missed out on some small restriction or guideline.
Once you know exactly what you are supposed to do, it's time to think about different concepts you would like to explain. Make sure you are aware of the different types of expository essays so that when you brainstorm topics you have a tentative idea of what type of expository essay would be best suited for that topic.
Think about what has been covered in class, what the teacher might expect, and what you find interesting to try and come up with a list of topics. Do a little bit of research on each topic to figure out whether you can easily find reputable sources and to gain a further understanding of the topic. After keeping all these things in mind, you should end up with an expository essay topic that is appropriate, engaging, and high-scoring.
Fill Up an Outline
Once you have zeroed in on a topic it's time to do research. One of the best ways to plan your writing is to use an expository essay outline to organize interesting information. While conducting research focus on the body paragraphs rather than on the introduction or conclusion. Think about three main ways you can explain the topic and put information that fits into those subtopics under the appropriate body paragraphs.
While conducting research and filling out an outline, think about potential thesis statements. Coming up with a thesis statement too early will restrict your research, so it is better to develop a thesis statement as you find out more and more information. That being said, by the end of the planning stage you should have a finalized thesis statement
Planning out your essay beforehand will give direction to your research, cut down on the amount of time you spend on the assignment, improve the overall flow of the final essay, and make the actual writing process much easier.
Write the First Draft
Now is the time to translate your outline into full sentences. It is often useful to leave the writing of the introduction till the end because after writing the body paragraphs you will have a better idea of what to say in an introduction, but make sure that you write down your thesis statement.
Use the information you have found to create a cohesive analysis of the topic in each body paragraph. Make sure that the information you present is on topic and connects to the other facts around it. Think about what the purpose of each body paragraph is and question whether the information you are presenting fits that purpose or not. Make sure to use transition words within the paragraph and use transition sentences between paragraphs to improve overall comprehensibility and flow.
Finalize Your Draft
Go over the first draft of the essay and focus on whether the different paragraphs make sense or not. Don't be afraid to reorganize sections or completely get rid of some pieces of information. As you write your draft, new ways of expressing the information can come to mind that will make the overall essay more powerful.
Make sure that you are not trying to make a persuasive argument and that you are using facts rather than opinions as evidence.
Go over each sentence to make sure that it is clear and that it fits the purpose of the paragraph it is in. Look at the information you have included and make sure that it is useful and enhances understanding of the topic. It is better to have less information than more if the information is distracting or does not add anything to the essay.
Try and read the paper as if it is the first time you are coming across the topic to see if it makes sense or not. Congratulations, you are just one step away from being able to submit an expository essay!
Editing and Proofreading
Go over the final draft of your essay and check for formatting errors, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc and make sure that it complies with all the guidelines of the assignment. Finally, ask a friend or relative to go over the paper to do the last check. If you feel like you still need to make a lot of changes, don't be disheartened, spend the extra time to make the changes or reach out to expository essay writing service .
Expository Essay Examples
One of the best ways to learn how to write an expository essay is to look at an expository essay example. Looking at expository essay examples can give you a deeper understanding of what is expected as well as how to write an essay that flows well. Make sure that you use any examples you find as inspiration rather than a place to directly source information or text!
Expository Essay Example
The shift from traditional to current methods in treating diseases has improved the quality of many services, products, and processes. However, many regions worldwide are still applying traditional medicines (Stefanov et al., 2020). Therefore, conventional western medicine and alternative Eastern medicine are two recognized approaches to treating multiple diseases. Researchers have developed the foundational differences between these two approaches that have helped establish the pros and cons of each. Each approach has advantages and drawbacks. There have been debates on which approach is cheaper in terms of time and cost of treatment. Also, there is ongoing concern on which approach is safer than the other.
As of 2019, there were over 3.5 billion social media users globally, and this figure still increases by 9% each year. It is impossible to deny that social media has become an important part of many people’s lives. There are various positive effects linked with the platforms, including better connectivity. However, addiction to social media platforms, the increased comparisons between individuals, and the fear of missing out have increased depression and sadness. Social media addiction has become rampant, which has negatively influenced the lives of many individuals in society. Checking and scrolling through the different social media platforms has become increasingly popular over time, leading to excessive and compulsive use.
FAQs on Expository Essay Writing
If the information was not quite enough for you to create an outstanding paper, our college essay writer has yet to supply you with further details about expository essays. Below you'll find the most frequently asked questions on this matter, so you won't have to spend extra time and effort researching any unanswered questions.
What are the Different Types of Expository Essays?
Since expository writing may take various forms, understanding the different sorts of essays will help you pick a topic and organize the essay's general trajectory and framework.
- Process Essays - In a typical process essay, the introduction presents what you will learn, the body paragraphs offer step-by-step instructions, and the conclusion discusses the significance of what you have taken away.
- Compare and Contrast Essays - The purpose of comparing and contrasting is to present facts and allow readers to reach their own conclusions. This is still an expository essay and not an evaluation of one over the other. A contrast essay may highlight differences, similarities, or both.
- Cause and Effect Essays - Cause and effect essays examine the reasons behind events or speculate on possible effects. They can also draw attention to relevant connections or provide details about a cause or consequence.
- Classification Essays - In classification essays, distinct items in the same category are compared, stressing their differences while pointing up the similarities that place them in the same category. Classification essays may be quite intriguing when attempting to classify something into a category it often does not belong to.
- Definition Essays - Apart from an argumentative essay format , the basic objective is to define a topic by providing information. In contrast to just providing the word's dictionary definition, a definition essay also builds on the term's general notion while thoroughly defining it.
What is the Most Important Part of the Expository Essay Structure?
The core of the outline for expository essay is your thesis. It's what your essay's audience will remember. It is critical to select a thesis statement that is both intriguing and provocative yet accurate and true. It is what makes the structure of expository essay powerful and constructive.
What is the Main Idea in Expository Writing?
Identifying the core concept, or the most crucial message the author wishes to convey, is the fundamental objective for all expository papers. The text's main concepts are frequently introduced early, generally in the introductory paragraph.
Using headings, subheadings, and other emphasis techniques, you may further emphasize key ideas. Main concepts, meanwhile, can also be inferred from the text and not explicitly expressed. Occasionally, you must draw the major concept from the text's specifics, assertions, and justifications.
Now that you know whats an expository essay, you must agree that writing an expository essay is a great method to learn how to effectively communicate information while also pursuing an interest of yours. Therefore, there are many ways in which knowing how to convey ideas and explain things will help you both professionally and individually.
And if you ever feel like you need an extra push towards pursuing your dream academic life, consider us your go-to college life partner. We won't criticize you no matter how many times you need essay writing help . The EssayPro team is loyal, always reliable, and never judgmental!
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The new normal in education
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With the start of the new academic year in July just around the corner, educators and policymakers just have to be prepared for the new normal for the 44 plus million students across the country.
In light of the joint ministerial decree by the education minister, religious affairs minister, home minister and health minister announced on June 15, 2020 regarding the school reopening during the pandemic, schooling practices need to be reimagined and reshaped to prevent a possible second outbreak.
Lessons learned during the current school disruption should drive educators to change their perspectives and practices. Reshaping schooling perspectives and practices should deliberate on the why, who, what and how of education.
It is true that the current pandemic and concern over a potential second outbreak have disrupted traditional schooling practices, but the why of creating the new normal should go beyond the current pandemic and delve deeper than fear of illness.
Reimagining anew forms of education may open doors for more equitable quality education for all young Indonesians. Despite all the COVID-19 maladies, the pandemic disruption has brought awareness to new possibilities in reviving our education system and in ushering young Indonesians into the future on a more level playing field.
The impetus for capitalizing on the demographic bonus toward the Indonesia 2045 Vision has collided with the reality of economic and geographical disparities. The current school disruption has amplified education inequities across social economic classes and regions. This prevailing concern can hopefully give rise to renewed initiatives by education stakeholders to transform schooling practices and create equal learning opportunities for all.
First things first, the who of education are entities that need to transform themselves. The learning-from-home mode has abruptly changed the roles of teachers, students and parents. The need for autonomous learning requires that teachers shift to be designers and facilitators of learning instead of the sage on the stage.
Lessons learned from the sudden disappearance of the traditional classroom stage and the isolation of each learner in his or her own space should drive teachers to unlearn old habits and acquire new skills of online learning engagement. Thanks to the pandemic disruption, the online learning execution — no matter how disorderly and inequitable the practices are across the country — has forced teachers to realize that they have to reach out to each student in isolation and examine the effectiveness of their teaching.
Our ongoing research reveals that teachers’ fear of technology has given way to an emerging sense of obligation to master technology and explore ways to integrate it into their pedagogy in order to maintain their professional duties (Anita Lie et al., 2020). This awakened desire can hopefully snowball into concerted efforts to restore the teaching profession.
By the same token, students need to build up a character of interdependence, discipline and responsibility. Along the same lines, the current learning-from-home practices should gear parents to be a beacon of these character values instead of extended academic tutors for their children.
Education experts and researchers have long lamented that one-size-fits-all curriculum does not work for all learners. Unfortunately, this discourse within scholarly forums does not seep through the classroom walls and fails to influence the what of the education system.
In the name of efficiency and system for the masses, the education enterprise found it impossible to meet such diversified needs of the learners. Small-scale initiatives have emerged to customize learning in the forms of homeschooling, elitist schools and alternative schools. While their success stories should be applauded, scaling up the best practices intended for the privileged few to serve the 44 plus million is a utopian endeavor.
The school disruption has compelled all education stakeholders to accept the fact that what matters is not the completion of the written curriculum coverage but the recognition of students’ diverse needs and the discovery of possibilities to meet those needs through resources other than the teachers themselves.
The teachers’ primary task is now to guide students to seek those possibilities. This new normal will hopefully drive education authorities to design a sustainable framework for a needs-based curriculum and provide a repertoire of learning modules. Multiple types of literacy and modalities required to survive and contribute to the 21st century should be included in this curriculum.
With a renewed understanding of the why, who and what of education, the how is a matter of technicality. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “If you understand the why, you can endure any how.” The learning-from-home isolation cannot continue forever. Children and youths need physical interaction with their peers as part of their learning processes. After all that teachers and students have gone through during this disruption, the new normal should be blended learning.
Even if there is no postponement of the start of the academic year in the green zones, rotation models of blended learning can be a way to maintain social distancing in school, especially when classrooms are too cramped.
Despite its promises, Clayton Christensen (2008) warns that effective technology integration requires a focus on pedagogy and practice, rather than an emphasis on technology and tools. He found that, although teachers integrated technology into their classrooms, the technology did not necessarily lead to student-centered learning processes.
One caveat in this new normal is that teachers often use technology to perpetuate existing teacher-centered pedagogy rather than using technology to shift themselves and their teaching to student-centered pedagogy.
Therefore, professional development is a continuing need for teachers not only to learn the skills but also to integrate the newly acquired skills into sound pedagogy.
Professor of Education at Widya Mandala Catholic University Surabaya
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.
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The End of Snow
By Elizabeth Spiers
Ms. Spiers, a contributing Opinion writer, is a journalist and a digital media strategist.
Every Christmas my husband and I pack up ourselves and our now 8-year-old and leave Brooklyn for a visit to either Nebraska (where my in-laws live) or Alabama (where my family lives). If we’re headed to Omaha, we pack heavy layers because the weather is somewhere between Arctic tundra and what it might feel like to live inside an Icee. If it’s a year when we head to Wetumpka, we pack moderate layers but also short sleeves and maybe even shorts, since 60-to-70-degree Christmases are not unheard-of there.
This past year was an Omaha year, and we arrived on the 22nd to find that the weather was very mild — almost 50 degrees — and there was no snow. More unusually, there had been no snow for the entire month of December. Aside from some brief and very sparse flurries, it hadn’t snowed in Brooklyn, either, in November or December. I’m an incorrigible heat seeker, and the phrase “wintry mix” fills me with despair. But even so, the lack of cold and ice in 2023 felt unsettling.
One reason is easy to quantify: Last year’s warmer temperatures happened globally , and they’re a reminder that without significant climate change interventions we could have a future in our lifetimes where higher temperatures are the norm. Another reason — a harder one on the psyche but increasingly omnipresent — is the sense that balmy holidays are a preview of something darker: bigger climate extremes, more natural disasters, the specter not of a world where humans suffer through these things and find ways to survive but where we’ve made the planet so uninhabitable that, in the longer run, the planet survives but we don’t.
I was thinking about this while standing outside a science museum a couple of days ago with a friend. We were talking about the weather but not the kind of small talk when you have nothing else to say. “I’m not sure our grandkids will even know what snow is,” she said, with a wry “I’m kidding, but I’m not” laugh. She and her family were leaving for a ski trip the next week, uncertain whether there would be enough snow.
For superstitious people like me, who believe that if we think through the worst-case scenarios, the products of our imagination will serve as talismans to ward them off, the disappearance of snow is just one unfortunate potential future scenario. Inasmuch as this is not a defect in the personal architecture of my brain, engaging with the idea of a world without humans is what Eugene Thacker, an author and professor who writes about horror and philosophy, calls “cosmic pessimism.”
“Its limit-thought is the idea of absolute nothingness,” writes Mr. Thacker, “unconsciously represented in the many popular media images of nuclear war, natural disasters, global pandemics and the cataclysmic effects of climate change.” Just before we left for Omaha, I had been reading his book, cheerily titled “In the Dust of the Planet,” in which he refers to the human inability to fully confront this “absolute nothingness” as a unique horror, and while he’s not talking about horror movies, per se, it’s easy to imagine an apocalyptic thriller that begins with the sudden disappearance of snow.
We’re accustomed to viewing the world in a human-centric way that says the planet exists for us on some level, and that’s heavily reflected in our culture and religious traditions, including the one I grew up in, where a moody god “so loved the world” that he sacrificed his son to save it. It exists in the techno-optimism of Silicon Valley billionaires who believe that if the planet gets destroyed, they’ll just colonize a new one. But when the weather is doing strange things, it undermines the idea that we are the center of the universe and have potential agency over anything nature can do to us.
About a decade ago, when thoughts of climate apocalypse were further from my mind, I went to see a show at the Hayden Planetarium titled “ Dark Universe .” I like space-related things and other things that can be prefaced with “dark” (chocolate, satire, people who are tall and handsome). As the film took viewers to the deepest corners of space accompanied by the calm, dulcet voice of Neil deGrasse Tyson, I learned about the universe and the much longer list of what wasn’t then known about it. The size and scope of various features of the universe were estimated in relation to the earth and timelines in relation to human’s time on earth.
The scale was a reminder of how tiny and fleeting our existence really is. It was glorious and beautiful, and when I stumbled outside into the light, I had what felt like the beginnings of a panic attack brought on by the realization that we live in a delicate ecosystem that is often hostile and could easily destroy us. Then I went home and probably made a to-do list or contributed to a long social media thread about whether a hot dog is technically a sandwich.
These moments of dread come more frequently these days, as catastrophic climate events unfold both slowly and in great, ghastly bursts of wildfire and tropical storms. It’s not the absolute events but the deviation from the norm that is alarming. If it’s 70 degrees in Alabama on Dec. 25, I don’t really notice it because that’s normal, but a few years ago, when it was in the high 60s in Brooklyn for a few days in January, I wondered if I should increase my anti-anxiety meds.
This past June, Brooklyn was covered in a blanket of smoke from Canadian wildfires. The sky was a muted burnt sienna and the air smelled like a barbecue gone severely wrong. I reassured my son, who had many questions, that the neighborhood was not on fire.
It is my job to make my child feel safe, so I answer questions about scary, calamitous things when he asks, but carefully. He is not a sheltered kid and is probably exposed to more of the adult world than many of his peers; he likes creepy things and scary movies and is generally fearless. He gravitates toward questions about death and has asked me whether I’d rather freeze to death or die in a fire so many times that if I didn’t know him, I might be concerned that he was planning something. But he still experiences extreme weather as a novelty and not a threat. I hope he’s much older before he notices a drastic temperature change or more smoke in the air or the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve and there’s no snow on the ground at home. I believe humans can reverse some of the harm we’ve caused to the environment — we’ve done it before, which is why the state of the ozone layer is no longer a problem on the heels of the Montreal protocol — so I’m not a total pessimist. But I am worried.
It finally snowed a bit in Omaha, on Christmas Day, no less — a bit of temporary relief. I’m not worried that my grandchildren, if they ever materialize, will grow up not knowing what snow is, as my friend suggested. But I wonder if, somewhere down the line, one of my descendants will build the last snowman in Omaha.
Elizabeth Spiers, a contributing Opinion writer, is a journalist and a digital media strategist.
Source photographs by Vladimir Serov and Pete Starman/Getty Images.
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