By ALISON COHEN
During this period of social distancing and quarantine, students around the United States and the world are logging on to computers, tablets, and phones to begin today’s remote learning assignments or join a real-time class via Zoom. The hope is that from the safety of their own homes, they will maintain a strong sense of connection to teachers and peers, and continue to meaningfully engage in the learning process.
Yet in addition to their schoolwork, many of our students are also juggling other important responsibilities — helping younger siblings with their homework as parents head off to fulfill essential roles as healthcare professionals and sanitation workers; cooking dinner as their guardian works from home; or, for the significant percentage of our students who rely on breakfast and lunch at school for their daily nutrition, waiting in line at a nearby school to pick up lunches for family members and themselves. Depending on the structure of the remote learning, this will likely mean that some students will struggle to keep up with the work.
Classroom settings, whether in-person or online, constantly bring up the age-old question: Do I belong? As myriad research studies affirm, students need to experience a sense of belonging to the learning community in order for meaningful, productive learning to take place. What are simple steps we can take as educators to ensure that when students are able to log on, they continue to feel connected to the learning community rather than experience alienation or isolation?
Contextualize your strategies
One of our core principles, contextualized practice, emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the culture and context of a school community when making decisions that impact students. As you read through this list of possible ways to support your students in staying connected to you and to each other, please take what resonates and leave the rest. This list is simply a jumping off point — please share your creativity with educators around the globe by adding to this list via a comment below!
Most importantly, please remember that you are not alone. Educators all over the world are doing the best we can to ensure that our students continue to grow as learners and as human beings during this time of uncertainty and challenge. If there are any ways in which CPET can support you within the culture and context of your own school and classroom community, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
TAGS: ALISON COHEN, CONNECTION, REMOTE LEARNING