Cosmetology Schools and Distance Learning

It's now been about a month since many schools and salons began to shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I think we can all agree that it very quickly became a scary reality that we couldn't go to work or school.

We found ourselves with so many questions that are still unanswered. What does this mean? When will we reopen? WILL we reopen? Will our students lose hundreds of hours that they have to make up? Will they fall behind? How can we make this work for educators and students? How can we best stay engaged? How do we possibly teach them without being in person or actually doing any hair?!

Well, thankfully, as most schools do these days, we already had an online curriculum in place. However they can ONLY do “online” learning at home so that just means when we get back to school, the hands-on work is back in business x100! So be ready!

Online learning is nothing new for cosmetology schools, but not having us educators there to facilitate the information, and do hands-on learning with our students is a whole new can of worms. We may be missing that technical aspect of their program right now, but we have amped up our online education so that our students are still able to participate in the online learning created for them while still gaining a portion of their hours required by the state.

So here’s how it works: When they begin our program with us , they are given an iPad, a workbook, and a “log in” to the school‘s curriculum that they can access anywhere, at any time. That is essentially all they need right now for their “distance-learning”. Our students log in and out of a session each day that they normally would have come to school. In that session they access their modules, power points, videos, tutorials, quizzes, etc. We check their logs daily, and their hours of work are submitted to the state (each state may have different requirements, this is for Rhode Island).

We wanted to make this time worthwhile for their education, while also making it enjoyable. My co worker Day Padua; the creator of our curriculum is super computer savvy, a bomb hairdresser and educator, and a creative all in one. For real, she’s like a pint sized package that can do literally ANYTHING... so here’s what she had to say:

“While we all sat waiting for answers surrounding the cosmetology schools and salon closures, wondering, 'what's next?' I noticed a high demand for Netflix recommendations, and what series to binge on Hulu.

I decided that adding fresh, new modules to the “distance learning” program would make it more interesting for the students to complete required work. I ended up incorporating hair competition videos from YouTube (Shear Genius! Remember that one?!) and having the students recreate the looks. They are able to upload a photo of their work right into the module they are working on, for us to see on our end. I also added a strong docu-series from Netflix, 'Self Made: Madame C.J. Walker'. She was America’s first self-made woman millionaire and hair care entrepreneur and has a very inspiring story. This series really shows the importance of the history, business, and success in our industry. It has been very motivating to our students as well as educational.

The great thing about creating a platform like this to educate and be able to acquire their hours during this shutdown was being able to watch Netflix and YouTube to do it!”

Not being able to see our students every day and assist them personally with their learning, adding things like this into our curriculum during this time has made it much more fun! We stay in touch with our students constantly and are receiving great feedback. Keeping the lines of communication open between students and educators is so important in this time, ensuring everyone stays connected.

Let's use this time to share some methods with each other that have helped us during quarantine, share your responses in the comment box below!

1. If you are a student, how are you feeling about ”distance learning?” What are some pros and cons ?

2. If you are an educator, what are you doing to help make this experience for your students a good one?

3. What tips do you have for other fellow educators trying to navigate this new form of learning?

I know I speak for most of us when I say I can’t wait to get back to our schools and our students! Best of luck to everyone on this new, but temporary journey. Stay home and stay healthy.

Recommended watch list:

Vidal Sassoon The Movie

Documentary style, highlighting Vidal Sassoon‘s life and career, and how he revolutionized the art of haircutting and hairstyling.

Madam C.J. Walker: Self Made

This is an awesome docu-series that just launched on Netflix! Learn about the first female, self made millionaire and how she accomplished it through her entrepreneur approach to hair care.

Good Hair Chris Rock interviews hair dressers in this super informative and entertaining documentary. He also gives an inside look at the famous Bronner Bro’s Hair show in Atlanta .

Happy Learning! -Lauren Billngsley

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