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Debbie Critchfield on Distance Learning

BYU-Idaho Radio · Distance Learning: An Interview with Debbie Critchfield
School is back in session, and for many students it is a different experience than last year. Schools, parents, teachers, and students all face unique challenges to overcome the barriers caused by distance learning.  

“How [we] continue to foster those relationships, whether someone is in person or whether they are online, is probably one of the biggest challenges our educators and families are going to face during this school year,” said Debbie Critchfield, president of the Idaho State Board of Education.  

Critchfield and others on the State Board of Education recently spoke to the founder of Khan Academy, Salman Khan. Khan Academy is a popular free learning resource for students. Critchfield said she learned the importance of humanizing a child’s learning.  

She said it is important to spend individual time with each child. Critchfield suggested parents spend time helping their child learn. She also suggested smaller class sizes for teachers, to provide more opportunities for students to participate.  

Spending time away from the classroom can be difficult for many students. Time away from class might also be causing more damage to students than we know.  

“We don’t really know what type of learning loss and other emotional and behavioral losses have taken place with the extended time that students have been away from the classroom,” Critchfield said.  “An important part of academic success is making sure that other emotional and behavioral needs are met and so as those connections are made, it further strengthens the student’s ability to achieve academically.” 

More information about what the Idaho State Board of Education is doing to help Idaho students is available online at