Lately, it doesn’t seem to matter which grade a student is in. Everyone is taking virtual classes this year. Some of these classes are going with online learning for the first time. This makes it difficult for everyone involved. So, how do you (as a parent, student or teacher) adapt to these changes? Here are some quick tips and suggestions to keep you focused and stay motivated throughout this school year.
Students & Online Learning
How can you, as a student, find that focus that will help you stay motivated? Here are several steps to take to make sure you get your work completed and turned in on time.
1. Set Goals
Most people hear this advice throughout their entire lives. So, let’s apply it to this school year as well. Take a look at all the classes and subjects you are currently taking. Now, what needs to happen for you to be able to get the grade you want for these classes? Start by writing down what your end goal is. Then, separate these broad goals into smaller ones.
Dedicate a specific notebook to your goal making. After all, the key to achieving your goals is writing them all down. Once you have them in writing, you can refer to your goals frequently so you know you are taking every step to completing them. Accomplishing your goals requires constant follow-up. And when you write everything down, you can always go back to see where you are in achieving your goals.
2. Keep to a Routine
Many students have a small opportunity to attend classes at least once a week. Going to these physical classes offers a structure that normally doesn’t exist for online classes. Many students find that having that structure, even for one day, is soothing and helps them better focus. It’s the routine of a daily schedule that keeps them motivated.
Develop a plan to stay on task so you can complete your coursework while still allowing time to enjoy the things you like to do. Schedule set times to log in to your course and to study, create reminders of due dates on your calendar or phone, and build in ample breaks to give your mind some time to take in what you’re learning. Having a plan will increase your likelihood of success and will help you reach your goals.
So, find that routine for the other days when you are doing online learning. Sometimes it’s as easy as duplicating that in-person routine while you are at home. For example, study math, English or science at the same time every day. Even if you don’t have homework or an online meeting, pull out your textbook and notes and keep caught up on the class studies.
3. Take Breaks
Just like breaks between classes when you’re on campus, it’s smart to take small breaks to help yourself stay motivated. These breaks can be something as simple as standing up and stretching. Or, make them a bit more interactive with quick activities like three-minute exercise routines.
No matter what break activities you choose, make them a part of your daily routine. In elementary, we all had recess breaks, and it’s important to give our brains a little bit of a distraction instead of always staring at a computer or textbook. Your mind will thank you for taking these breaks.
4. Reward Yourself
From celebrating the little achievements to making a big deal for passing a class, every student should reward themselves for a job well done. Figure out a rewards system for meeting goals; match the reward to the success. Doing something nice for yourself will help with your online learning motivation. So treat yourself for a job well done.
Parents & Online Learning
While it isn’t your education, you are there to help your children accomplish their educational goals. Make sure you take some time to follow these simple steps to ensure that online learning functions well.
1. Stay Healthy
Part of staying healthy focuses on both the parent and the student finding balance with school work. As a parent, you need to work with your student’s online learning to meet both mental and physical needs.
Taking care of [the student’s] mental and physical health can help [their] academic performance. As you build out your schedule, try to work in regular exercise, healthy meals and plenty of rest and relaxation. If you’re not sure where to begin, contact your school’s respective recreation or counseling centers.
2. Create an Inspiring Study Space
Parents, make sure that your student has a dedicated space in which to study. Make this space accessible and free of distractions so that your child has a fighting chance of focusing and staying motivated in their school work.
Something easy to do is to add motivational signs or name plates for the students to see. Also, keep educational tools on hand. Set up a work station that is inviting for your child. Each child may need something different, so make sure you focus on individuality and personalities.
3. Take an Active Roll in Education
Online learning is hard on everyone. Some students can thrive in an online environment, but more often than not, they will need some assistance to stay on track. Listen to your kids for what they need to accomplish their educational goals. And, find ways to actively support those needs.
Once you know what each child needs, help them succeed by taking actions that push them in the right direction. Encourage them and show them that they are not alone in accomplishing their goals. If you let your kids know you have their back, they are guaranteed success in their schooling.
Teachers & Online Learning
As an educator, you understand the importance of keeping students engaged and motivated. Online learning complicates these a bit, so here are a few things you can do to help your students stay on task.
1. Create a Schedule
Help your class stay on task by creating a daily schedule for them. Some students may need a little more guidance than others, and without your in-class help, they may not be able to focus like they need to. With a set daily schedule from their teacher, these students should thrive a little better in an online learning environment.
Schedules will also help you when working with assignments and grading. Ensure you are doing things in a timely manner and making yourself available to help your students when they need it. Writing out daily, weekly and monthly schedules will also help you as the teacher stay motivated so that you can do your job well.
2. Eliminate Distractions
As many of your classes will now communicate via video conferences, make sure your environment does not distract from your lesson plans. While you don’t have to remove everything from your background, make sure things behind you are not taking away from what you are teaching. And add items as needed. Use custom ribbon rolls to help keep the background engaging without distracting.
Maybe you find yourself constantly reminding students to mute their microphones or raise their hands before blurting out answers. Custom signs are the perfect tool to have that as a constant reminder behind you. Pick a color that works with your surroundings and add a message that will help with your teaching style.
3. Stay Connected with Students
One challenge of online learning is that students often feel quite isolated. Consider how you can make direct contact, through emails, instant message and video, to as many learners as possible, helping them see how you are invested in their learning. In addition, encourage ways for learners to see each other as resources through methods like peer feedback and peer review, as well as potentially helping students find peers to study with.
Your students need to know that you are there for them. Make yourself as accessible as you can during days that students may be on campus, and especially on days they are not. Everyone’s educational experience will be better knowing that the teachers will always remain accessible.
Making the Transition to Online
While online learning may be difficult at first, use these ideas to make your transition easier. If you still find that you need help, reach out to other teachers and parents. Your local school district is also a great resource. And keep on learning!